Sky Betting and Gaming to halt UK affiliate programme

4 September 2017

Sky Betting and Gaming announced today it will terminate its UK affiliate programme by the beginning of October, amid mounting regulatory pressure from the UK's Gambling Commission.

A spokesperson for Sky Betting and Gaming told iGaming Business: “This difficult decision has been taken to give us more control of our marketing outputs and standards to ensure that we can continue to meet the changing regulatory requirements in our sector.”

The Gambling Commission has recently signalled it is taking a tougher stance on operators’ liability for the advertising of their affiliates.

In June Lottoland agreed a settlement with the Commission to pay £150,000 to good causes, in part due to an advert run by one of its affiliates, MyVoucherCodes. In May, the Commission fined  BGO £300,000, again partly due to three of its affiliates.

Under the terms of its contracts, Sky is required to give affiliates notice of its decision and it said it has now done so. “We have notified all the companies that will be affected by this decision and would like to sincerely thank them for all their support and hard work in helping to grow and promote Sky Betting and Gaming’s brands since we launched in 2000.  We will continue to work with our affiliates for the next 30 days and a dedicated team is in place to respond to all enquiries.”

After the 30-day notice period, affiliates that are part of the network must cease promoting Sky Betting and Gaming websites to their customers and also remove all links to the platforms and other intellectual property by the named date.

In addition, Sky Betting and Gaming’s ‘Affiliate Hub’ portal will stop operating on October 2, with the final payment cycle for affiliates to commence at the end of September.

All outstanding balances will be paid into accounts on or around October 20.

Sky Bet is unlikely to stop working with all affiliates following the closure of the programme however, with 20% stakeholder Sky also owning leading odds comparison portal Oddschecker.

When contacted for comment by iGaming Business, Guy Harding, head of commercial, said: “We’ve not been a ‘traditional’ affiliate for many years. The Oddschecker product, along with the high level of collaborative partnerships we offer our partners means we are very much unaffected by today’s announcement. We welcome Sky Bet’s actions today and believe it to be a positive step forward for the industry.”

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