Gambling spam messaging in watchdog’s sights

Gambling spam messaging in watchdog’s sights

Friday, November 11, 2016 Posted by Andy McCarron
Information Commission cracks down on affiliate marketing

The UK’s information commissioner has launched a crackdown on online-gambling related spam messages and is targeting over 400 affiliate sites that it says are abusing people’s personal details in order the spam message them.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is writing to companies demanding they set out how they use people’s personal details and send marketing texts. This includes where they got people’s personal information from and how many texts they sent.

The campaign is part of an investigation by the ICO into large numbers of spam texts linked to the gambling sector.

David Clancy, the anti-spam investigations manager at the ICO, said: “Companies must comply with the law when using people’s personal information. Not knowing the law or trying to pass the buck to another company in the chain is no excuse.”

He added: “The public expect firms to be accountable for how they obtain and use personal data when marketing by phone, email or text. Fail to be accountable and you could be breaking the law, risking ICO enforcement action and the future of your business.”                                

Companies and individuals that fail to comply with the regulations could face fines of up to £500,00 if found guilty.

The ICO said the companies it is targeting work in the affiliate marketing space. It added that the gambling area is one where the ICO has become particularly concerned. Failure to comply with the law can result in enforcement action from the ICO, including fines of up to £500,000.

Clancy added: “It’s thanks to consumers who’ve reported spam texts to us, as well as intelligence from other sources, that we’ve been able to progress our investigations to this stage.”

The ICO launched a new code of practice this month which sets out how organisations should explain to people how they are using their personal information.

Totally Gaming says: Following the announcement of the review on the part of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) into the terms and conditions of bonus and promotional offers – and with a potential daytime TV gambling ads ban being considered as part of the Triennial Review – it is fair to say the marketing of online gambling in the UK is now in the spotlight. The various regulators and watchdogs are looking for the industry to respond.


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