Free Play Casino Games a Thing of the Past?

By Simon Wright, Last updated Jan 26, 2021

Back on the 7th May the Gambling Commission brought in new age and identity checks which all iGaming companies licensed to operate in the UK have to adhere to. This was a revision to the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice  ( LCCP ) as set down by the UKGC.

As a result of this, the age of the free play casino games, appear to be on the demise, unless you are able to satisfy the Commission that you have a suitable age verification system in place.

For operators this is obviously not a problem and age verification forms part of  their Know Your Customer process. What it does mean is that no longer can anonymous visitors frequent online casino sites and spin the reels of a slot game, without signing up to the casino beforehand.

However, over the past few years the popularity of free play games is such that they have been utilised by iGaming affiliates to attract traffic to their affiliate sites. Whereby they host a plethora of free games, in the main being free slot machines, for their visitors to try out at their leisure.

But it seems the end is nigh for this form of affiliate marketing. As the Gambling Commission have informed their licensed operators, that they will hold license holders responsible for the actions of their marketing partners.

As a result of this being communicated by the Gambling Commission, affiliate programs of casinos have been busy this week sending out communications to their affiliates, stressing the fact that a suitable age verification method needs to be employed. Should affiliates wish to still feature free play games having  sites that are readily accessible from within the UK.

One such communication sent out by a programme this week states: “We would just like to take this opportunity to remind you that since the recent LCCP changes came into play for the UK market, you are no longer permitted to offer play for fun games on your websites to any players from the UK, who have not been age verified.”

With another programme even going so far as to state the following: “The Gambling Commission is clear that it can and will hold operators responsible for actions of affiliates. You must have due regard for, and act at all times, in a manner consistent with Licensing Objectives as though you were a licensee of the Gambling Commission.”

“You must also demonstrate consideration of and adherence to the Licensing Objectives in all of your activities. Both the affiliate and operator will be named if any marketing communication is ruled to be in breach of this code.”

So if you are an affiliate webmaster working in the iGaming industry it looks like you may well have some long nights in front of you working on your sites. As one would assume a simple check box with date of birth entry form will not cut it with the Gambling Commission, when it comes to verifying the age of your visitors.

Simon Wright

Simon Wright has been both a player and an observer of the online casino industry for over 15 years. His knowledge of the online casino industry – to include sports is massive. Not many folks have the experience or his knowledge about online gambling. His adoration of football is also noted. He has painted his house blue (Chelsea) and annoys his neighbors with local football songs on game days.

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