From 17 January 2025, remote casino, bingo, and betting licensees in Great Britain will need to comply with new direct marketing regulations. These changes, however, do not apply to lotteries or land-based operators.

In this article, our gambling lawyer Richard Williams explains what the changes are for remote gambling operators.

In the April 2023 White Paper titled “High Stakes: Gambling Reform for the Digital Age”, the Government stated: “the Commission will also take forward work to strengthen consent for direct marketing for online gambling, with both new and existing customers given more choice on what offers they want (including requiring consent to ‘cross-selling’ new products) and how marketing is sent to them.”

This initiative addresses concerns from responses to the Government’s call for evidence, particularly about gambling customers being encouraged to try out new forms of gambling through operator marketing materials (e.g. offering free slot spins to sports bettors).

The White Paper proposed several changes, including a distinct and clear opt-in for marketing, the ability to opt in to different forms of marketing communication, and a separate opt-in for bonuses.

The Commission’s consultation response on direct marketing, issued on 1 May 2024, confirmed that the new SR Code 5.1.12 (Direct Marketing Preferences) will apply to all remote casino, bingo, and betting licences from 17 January 2025. Notably, the new rules do not require a separate opt-in for bonuses and do not apply to push notifications.

What are the key provisions?

Key changes for remote gambling operators include:

  • Pre-ticked opt-in boxes or opt-out mechanisms for marketing are prohibited.
  • All new and existing customers must explicitly opt in to direct marketing on a per-product and per-channel basis:
    – Channel options: phone call, email, SMS (text) (opt-in is not required for push notifications)
    – Product options: betting, casino, or bingo.
    – These opt-in options must be integrated into the customer registration process.
  • Licensees must not encourage customers to alter their marketing selections (customers should only be given the option to accept or decline direct marketing).
  • Customers must not receive direct marketing for products or via channels they have not specifically opted into.
  • Customers logging in for the first time after the implementation of SR Code 5.1.12 must confirm their marketing preferences before being allowed to gamble.

Operators should review their sign-up procedures to ensure compliance with these requirements. From 17 January 2025, marketing to all existing and new customers must cease if specific consent has not been obtained. The inability to cross-sell gambling products without a customer’s explicit consent will have a significant commercial impact on some gambling operators. Therefore, operators should assess the commercial implications of these changes on their business operations.

If you are a remote gambling operator and have questions or concerns about the direct marketing changes, please contact Richard Williams.

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This article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. It should not be used as a substitute for legal advice relating to your particular circumstances. Please note that the law may have changed since the date of this article.