Impact of the UK Gambling Commission’s Directives on Affiliates Promoting Free Spins

The UK government recently had its Gambling Commission come down hard on online gambling advertising with the objective to protect UK players from “being manipulated” by iGaming operators. The gaming regulator believes that it’s in the best interests of the players to disambiguate the free spins promotions of online casinos.

Although the commission has no issues with free spins offers as such, they have expressed concerns regarding misleading terms and conditions that have so-called “hidden agendas” behind the fine print. The commission believes that not using the terminology should result in greater transparency. They also clarified that they have no intention of having casinos change their terms and conditions, just their use of the ‘free spins’ term.

The UKGC and even the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has highlighted the fact that these so called free spins are only free under certain conditions and up to certain limits. Both organizations believe that many players neglect reading these terms and are lured into believing that the free spins they are receiving come with no strings attached. The wording of these terms and conditions are often complicated with legal and technical jargon which makes it difficult for the average player to understand. The best way to overcome this hurdle and make it easy for players to understand what exactly they are receiving is by removing the term ‘free spins’.

Repercussions From ‘Free Spins’ Removal

By removing ‘free spins’ from advertising and promotional material, the UKGC believes that players will no longer feel cheated like before. In the past, players were eager to use their free spins and win real cash but suddenly found that they had to fulfill a number of conditions before they became eligible to withdraw their winnings obtained from free spins. Since ‘free spins’ will no longer be promoted, players will not feel cheated as they know they will not be getting anything for free.

Keywords such as ‘free spins no deposit’ generate more than 50,000 Google searches per month in the UK.  This is an important source of traffic for many affiliate sites like Similar long tail keywords are responsible for generating an even higher number of searches per month. Online casinos and their affiliates construct web pages, casino reviews and blog posts to promote ‘free spins’ with the aim of generating new business. Now, they have been forced to adopt a new strategy to comply with new regulations from the UKGC.

The work-around used by most to substitute “free spins” with terms like bonus spins, super spins, casino spins and extra spins. This essentially promotes the same thing. Online casino operators have to keep a careful eye on their affiliate partners to ensure that their promotional and marketing material fully comply with UKGC regulations so that they do not get pulled up and fined.


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