Posted on: March 14, 2022, 08:16h.
Last updated on: March 14, 2022, 01:07h.
Several websites that offer cashback services in the UK are receiving heat for their ties to the gambling industry. At least three face scrutiny for being too loose with their offerings.
Cashback sites offer a way, typically just a small one, for consumers to save money when making purchases online. They have deals with retailers and companies to offer rewards to the consumers who use their platforms.
While that sounds like a good deal, some platforms reportedly give too much attention to the gambling industry. The actions of Ohmydosh, Quidco, and Topcashback are likely to cause a crackdown on the practice.
Cashback programs fall into the affiliate category. The websites work as an intermediary, saving consumers from having to go directly to an online retailer. Instead, they can use a link from a website that offers cashback.
Consumers can still buy their goods or services from the retailer, but the latter will send a portion of the earnings back to the cashback website. The cashback site then forwards a percentage to the consumer.
Cashback Programs Under Fire
Ohmydosh, Quidco, and Topcashback apparently were too fast and loose with their programs, according to the Daily Mail. The trio of platforms has promoted over 60 sites related to gambling, bingo, and sports betting.
The promotion, by itself, isn’t the problem. However, Topcashback reportedly paid out at least £30,000 (US$39,162) in one particular month to consumers who signed up for gambling sites. Daily Mail asserts that it gives new users £55 (US$71.80) after they wager at least £10 (US$13.05) on Bonus Kings.
Quidco, which is an acquisition target of Moneysupermarket.com Group, runs a similar promotion. It pays £40 (US$52.22) to new users after they wager a minimum of £10 on Coral Casino.
Ohmydosh has found significant success catering to the gambling community. The media outlet asserts that eight of its 23 most lucrative deals come from the gambling or bingo spaces.
Increased Scrutiny Coming
The timing of the report couldn’t be worse. The UK is currently updating its gambling regulations, and changes will arrive in the following months. With cashback companies now in the spotlight for their ties to the gambling industry, they can expect to be brought into the reform.
Politicians are already taking notice. Member of Parliament Alex Davies-Jones responded to the news, stating that sites that lure consumers to gambling sites are part of an “increasingly worrying trend.”
Davies-Jones is in a definite position to influence how cashback sites act in the future. She is the Shadow Minister for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and works directly with the UK Gambling Commission and officials in shaping regulations.
Supporters of responsible gambling initiatives have noticed, as well. Given their alignment with gaming regulators, they have a strong chance at influencing the decision-making process when it comes time to implement new rules.
Gambling firms shouldn’t exploit people’s vulnerabilities, such as compulsion or addiction, yet there are still many mechanisms through which people can be ‘hooked,’ including incentives offered via cashback sites,” said Sue Anderson of debt charity StepChange.
Topcashback will reportedly be proactive and alter how it interacts with the gambling industry. A spokesperson told Daily Mail that it will review its strategies concerning its partnerships with gaming operators.
Quidco offered a response as well, but it wasn’t as diplomatic. It only said that the company “expects consumers to gamble responsibly.” Daily Mail didn’t specify if Ohmydosh responded.