With the potential for the US online sports betting market to dwarf that of any other, domestic and international gambling operators are continuing to flock to the newest regulated states with dollar signs for eyes. But talk to those within the industry and it’s, in fact, sports betting affiliates who stand to profit most.
This piece explains the reasons for this, how affiliates are helping to get the market off the ground and the likely challenges that lay ahead for affiliates seeking a piece of what is set to become a very lucrative pie.
A whole new era
No longer are US citizens subject to the murky waters of unregulated betting at offshore sites.
The decision of the US Supreme Court to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in May 2018 has paved the way for regulated sports betting to be introduced on a state-by-state basis.
What was once an obscure market of underground and unlicensed betting, is now home to online sports betting operators looking to get a footing in newly established online markets. In turn, offshore sites are becoming redundant and will slowly but surely be eliminated.
The role of affiliates in this process is not overlooked. Guiding US gamblers to safe and secure online gambling sites is paramount to US operators vying to secure new customers and that crucial first deposit.
The bedrock of US sports betting
While there has been great fanfare around legal sports betting in the US and relative success in certain states, speak to some sports fans and they’ll still be none the wiser regarding the sports betting opportunities now available. Or, owing to the length of time the activity was prohibited, there will be reservations, naturally.
Either way, this is a concept the US people are still getting to grips with. Despite the early success enjoyed by New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the industry is still getting off the ground and very much in its infancy. But whether online sports betting would have reached the heights it has already without the work of affiliates is a question well worth asking.
Among a brand new market in which gambling operators are having to make themselves heard above rigid laws and regulations, and consumers are not too sure which way to turn and, significantly, who to trust, affiliates are playing a vital role in raising awareness and educating consumers.
Crucially, it is online affiliates who are assisting in helping to pull players away from the offshore scene, which has effectively held a monopoly of the industry for a number of years and guide them toward the safety of legal gambling sites.
Affiliates are also acting as an intermediary between states erring on the side of caution before committing fully to online gaming, and budding bettors still unsure about the benefits of legal gambling and how the best online sportsbooks come to be.
With change comes a challenge
Evidently, there are issues affiliates are having to contend with along the way. Of which, the biggest comes in the shape of acquiring the necessary licenses needed to make money in each individual state.
Worth pointing out is the fact the licensing process in every state follows no clear pattern. Each has its own unique framework in place with varying operators, meaning no two states are the same. Essentially, the US market equates to working with 50 different countries which prevent affiliates from moving as quickly as they would like. Not to mention the compliance hurdles that need clearing.
In addition, the legalization of sports betting has opened the door for well-known media companies to enter the fray, raising the proverbial bar in terms of competition. Given the enormity of a market destined to stretch across the country, the potential for success is there for everybody, from the giants of the affiliate network to the one-man-band out there.
Land of opportunity
An aggressive market going forwards is without question, as is the likelihood of having to clear yet more obstacles.
But given the industry is only just getting started, and more states are still to legalize sports betting, all affiliates, no matter how big or small the operation, will believe they are in the race.
And why not? As yet, this is an industry with no established order where everything is up for grabs. Providing affiliates know their intended markets inside out and have a strategy in place to deliver the best content in the industry, the US market presents a golden opportunity for all.
Casino Hacks– the world’s first Casino Bonus & News TV!
New online casino affiliate combines the successes of MTV, Top Gear and Late-Night Talk Shows with casino games entertainment
Online casino fans now have the perfect platform for their interests in slot machines, blackjack, baccarat and roulette. Casino Hacks.comis launching the world’s first TV show for online casino players.
Targeting millions of online casino fans worldwide, and having already partnered with some of the major online casino operators and casino games suppliers, Swedish-owned Casino Hacks has been created by a tight team of former gaming operators, producers, marketing & SEO experts, including former executives at MTV, Mr Green, Bethard, Raketech, Pokerstars and Metal Casino who are also passionate online casino lovers.
Casino Hacks Founder Clas Dahlén was named ‘Sweden’s Best Marketer’ in 2014 when heading up Mr Green in Sweden, and is also the former Founder and Brand Strategist behind Metal Casino. The host of the show, Jonas Lutteman, who worked in the editing rooms of MTV in London will lead the entertainment and competitions in the CASINO HACKS show as well as manage Casino Hacks’ Twitch Program.
Even before the launch, Casino Hacks has already contracted major online casino operators and casino games suppliers to partner up on the affiliate platform and sponsor the TV show. It is a perfect platform to reach casino players and high rollers in a confined online casino games channel. Only a selection of online casinos will be partnered initially, as Casino Hacks only will work with the best online casinos offering the best casino bonuses as a trade off to a new, more beneficial, business model for the partnered online casino.
Clas Dahlén, the CEO, or ‘The Sales Guy’, as he would rather be referred to, says:
“Casino Hacks is here because we believe that online casino players, across the world deserve a higher standard of live entertainment. Looking for tips, hacks and great casinos and the best bonuses should not be like going through the Yellow Pages! We believe this part of the casino experience should reflect all the fun and action one can expect from an online casino today.
“It’s now my mission to market and sell this amazing website. I’ll be a sales-focused CEO who will introduce our outstanding service to casino players and make sure the content is entertaining. That is my full-time job for now!
“Coming from the operator side we felt it was time to do something new in the affiliate sector, creating new energy and with great design, broadcasting and all the fun entertainment that the online casino experience truly is about.
“The Show will reveal the latest online casino news, broadcasting casino reviews, new slots and interviews with interesting industry people such as the best Twitchers. The daily show will naturally run fun and rewarding competitions continuously.”
Casino Hacks is set for an international launch this week in Canada and New Zealand, followed by Australia, Iceland and six other territories in 2020.
Clas Dahlén describes their pioneering approach:
“Casino Hacks speaks out loud. We are the new kid on the block, and we don’t give a damn about our competitors’ conventional marketing or offers. Keeping our language real, trustworthy and staying true to our beliefs is something most people strive for. Few live up to it. Our members can count on us. As our brand platform describes, we are creative, honest and passionate in our communication with our members.
“We are Casino Hacks and we deliver winning Entertainment!”
Do the right thing
James Ashton from Find My UK Casino says that affiliates and operators must be responsible in their approach to engaging players over the coming months
As an online casino affiliate that prioritises responsibility and compliance above all else, I was saddened to receive emails from several of our operator partners regarding a small number of publishers that have looked to leverage the on-going global crisis to their advantage.
These emails are reminding affiliates of the terms and conditions which they agreed to when partnering with the operator, most notably that all marketing activity undertaken must be responsible and compliant at all times.
For those that are not, they risk having their accounts terminated with immediate effect. And rightly so. Professional online casino affiliates do not need to rely on a global crisis to drive traffic to their sites – if anything, they should be taking additional steps to protect their players.
Since the UK lockdown came into force last week, we have seen traffic numbers increase. This, of course, is to be expected as more people are now working from home or not working but being required to stay at home.
This is good for us and other affiliates, and equally positive for our operator partners. But we all have to take a responsible approach and ensure that we go above and beyond to provide players with the information they need to make an informed decision about if and where to play.
This includes ensuring bonus terms and conditions – significant and full – are correctly displayed while also creating explainers about wagering requirements, the tools available to help keep in control of their play and how to ensure they play at licensed and reputable brands.
We are prioritising pages such as these over high-volume ranking pages that are proven to drive players from the SERPs to our pages and ultimately to the online casino brands we recommended. As a result, we have seen retuning site visitors increase over the past two weeks.
One of the most effective ways online casino affiliates can protect players at a time when site traffic and demand is likely to increase – at least over the coming weeks and months – is to only work with the best online casino brands out there.
These are not necessarily the most established brands or those that hold multiple licences, but those that go the extra mile to educate players about responsible gambling and provide them with additional features to manage their play.
As an affiliate focussed on the UK market, we only work with those that hold a UK Gambling Commission licence. Others don’t do this and some even actively promote brands that are not UK licensed to UK players on pages about Online Casinos Not On GamStop.
This is irresponsible on many levels, but amid the current climate is putting the most vulnerable at greater risk than ever before.
We also work very closely with our operator partners to ensure that all the content we create around their brand(s) is 100% compliant, and also seek feedback on other aspects of our site to ensure we are doing everything we can to meet the highest possible standards.
This is always important but particularly right now as people find themselves with more time on their hands but perhaps with less disposable income to spend. That’s not to say they shouldn’t play online casino, but affiliates and operators must do all they can to ensure they play responsibly.
There is clearly an opportunity to target the growing number of people being confined to their homes, but affiliates and operators must do the right thing and ensure they do not take advantage of the situation and use is to their advantage.
Affiliates and operators should be investing time and resources into helping players enjoy online casino play if that is how they want to spend their time and money, but in a way that is healthy and within their means both personally and financially.
So although I was sadden to receive emails from operators stating that affiliates should not be leveraging the current global crisis and using it to their advantage, I was encourage to see that they had taken serious steps to identify, prevent and punish those that are.
That being said, it is really down to affiliates to do the right thing in the first place and it seems that despite the tremendous efforts being made by regulators, watchdogs, operators and publishers, a small minority continue to act irresponsibly, doing untold damage to the rest of the sector.
Leading betting affiliate sets sights on Virtual Sports market
In a historic shake up of the sporting calendar not seen since the Second World War, all major sporting events have been put on hold indefinitely.
With markets in turmoil, and traffic to online bookmakers and affiliate sites alike taking a significant hit, there is a lot at stake. Sporting events will eventually return, although it’s unclear exactly as to when.
It means that the iGaming community as whole needs to look to viable alternatives, although some feel that the present predicament actually provides opportunity.
“We’re aiming to turn this unique situation into one where we can adapt, learn, and hopefully come out of the other side in a much stronger position”, says Eskil Kvarnström, CEO of Leadstar Media.
Viable alternatives to sports betting
“We’re quite lucky in the fact that we’ve always set out to hold a varied portfolio of products that set their focus across sports betting, online casino and a number of international markets,” says Kvarnström.
Indeed that is the challenge for many betting affiliates and online bookmakers alike. How they act and react now could leave a pivotal mark in the immediate and distant future alike.
“One of the areas where we’re already seeing a significant upturn is in the realm of virtual sports, and that’s exactly where we’re setting part of our focus for the time being. It’s providing us with a great opportunity to improve in fields that might before have gone overlooked.”
A flagship product of Leadstar Media, BookiesBonuses.com, aims to provide the best overview of UK bookmakers for its users based in the British Isles, but also further afield.
“While Bookies Bonuses is primarily geared towards providing a great deal of information on online bookmakers, it is one of our sites where sports betting takes centre stage, although online casino does play an ancillary role in what it has to offer.”
It’s important to be reactive
Many sports betting sites are already seeking to develop their virtual sports betting products. The likes of Bet365, Betway and Coral have arguably the most advanced virtual sports packages on the market at present, while the BetVictor sign up offer has recently been updated to highlight its availability to players interested in virtual sports.
“We’re actually surprised that more online bookmakers aren’t yet seeking to promote their virtual sports packages given that we already know many of the major football leagues in Europe in particular are going to be out of action for at least another month or so. But that’s where we come in”, states Kvarnström.
The role of the affiliate
“In many respects the virtual sports market goes overlooked by many players who are interested in sports betting, simply because there is a constant availability of real-life events taking place all over the world at any given time.”
“We see our role at Leadstar Media not only to provide the best products for the consumer, but in being a key conduit of disseminating valuable information on distinctive areas of the sports betting and online gambling sector. It’s not just about what is on offer, but also how particular aspects of the market like bonuses and deposits methods fundamentally work in practice, and providing that information accordingly,” says Kvarnström.
“In many respects the virtual sports market is an untapped resource ready for development, especially in such unique times. Our company has a lot of experience in nascent markets across the world, such as Africa and India, so we feel confident we can inform and advertise to our users everything that virtual sports have to offer”.
In such unique and uncertain times, it certainly provides food for thought in how the iGaming sector as a whole will look to react, adapt and develop, and more importantly, what the landscape will look like when we come out of this period on the other side.
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