Reshaping the iGaming Industry: GDPR & Affiliate Marketing (Part 1)

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The online gaming industry is in a constant state of evolution, driven by multiple factors, such as regulation, technology and marketing practices. To better illustrate the changes that have arisen since the introduction of stricter compliance and data protection policies, we compiled feedback from two of the industry’s most insightful stakeholders - Better Collective and Rightlander.

The commentary we received informed our contribution to the 2019 EGR Affiliate Report. The full article can be found on pages 15-17 in the report’s online edition. We’re also presenting the article here in two parts, with the first part available below. The second and final part can be viewed here.

This past year saw notable developments in the implementation of quality tools and processes for protecting consumer data. Spurred on by Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which took effect last May, iGaming stakeholders have been charged with adapting their privacy frameworks in response to an evolving regulatory landscape. Central to this challenge, is confronting heightened levels of scrutiny and the constant vigilance required to ensure their affiliate businesses remains compliant.

Compounding the challenge has been a growing need for brands to invest in marketing compliance tools, such as Ian Sims’ Rightlander, and incorporate into their offering educational programmes and digital marketing services from affiliates like Better Collective. Given the weight of these factors, we were encouraged to explore how the GDPR, along with stricter standards for affiliate marketing practitioners, are guiding prominent stakeholders to leverage strategy and technology, as well as closely evaluate future projections.

GDPR & Affiliate Marketing Compliance

One important aim of both regulation and marketing compliance, distinct in their application but similarly motivated by user protection, is to promote accountability across business practices in ever-evolving markets, including that of the iGaming industry. Ian Sims, Founder at Rightlander, evaluates the current industry pulse as it pertains to affiliate compliance and marketing standards.

“From an affiliate compliance perspective, there is still an element of confusion in some territories caused by the room for interpretation on regulatory guidelines. That said, the landscape is clearer than it was a year ago. Affiliates have tuned into their overall responsibilities.”

Linda Mullan, Head of Group Legal at Better Collective, adds, “While the buzz around the GDPR has somewhat subsided since the May 2018 effective date, it remains a vital topic for affiliates as the focus on user engagement grows.”

Proactive brands and affiliates inarguably hold a frontrunner position by ensuring consumers are marketed to responsibly and receive support pertaining to their privacy rights. Whether through standards and procedures to improve user experience or by implementing enhanced security solutions, both play a meaningful role in engagement.

According to Mullan, a relationship worth monitoring is that between consumer protection and brand interaction. “Businesses have a lot to lose if they don't get regulatory compliance right. It will be interesting to see how consumer privacy rights will balance with the trend towards a more personalised and customisable user experience, particularly with the EU’s upcoming ePrivacy Regulation,” she says.

Both the new ePrivacy Regulation and GDPR are part of a larger global movement, with countries around the world adopting their own privacy regulations modelled after the EU’s. This includes Thailand’s Personal Data Protection Act, California’s Consumer Privacy Act and India’s Personal Data Protection Bill.

The shift towards a more privacy-centric digital culture also paves new opportunities for solution-oriented start-ups like Ethyca, a New York-based data privacy software company, which has raised $4.2 million in seed funding towards an automated data protection solution. Similarly, London-based Privitar rose $40 million to help companies safeguard sensitive data.

In this case, creating a personalised experience and adopting latest technologies is the key in boosting engagement.

Once you’ve read the second and final part of our contribution to the 2019 EGR Affiliate Report, in which we look at digital marketing, customer trust and consumer data protection, please share your thoughts in the comments section.