Affiliate marketing is an important part of the online gambling industry and gaming operators offer big incentives to attract and retain successful affiliates. By directing players to casino games and sports betting websites, affiliates are an important source of income for gaming operators.
An affiliate is considered to be an important contributor to the iGaming operators’ success, but the recent years have brought up additional obstacles, like heavy regulation and a fragmented online gambling sector for both affiliates, operators and suppliers.
Affiliates in online gambling industry have the role to promote the operators’ websites and in return for their services, they receive a percentage or commission. Therefore, iGaming operators make the best to attract and keep affiliates by offering substantial revenues.
The close relationship between operators and affiliates stands as one of the industry’s essential pillars and its inner dynamics tackle and preserve the sensitive equilibrium between failure and success.
The current state of gambling market
There’s no other way to say it: Gambling is profitable and it is at this moment a 400 billion dollar industry.
What exactly does this mean for an iGaming affiliate and how much do they earn for their efforts? It is not easy to answer this question, but since they are vital for the industry, we have to mention that most operators offer percentages that range between 10% and 50% of the profit.
Nevertheless, though affiliates earn good money in this business, the largest share of the profit goes to gambling websites – casinos, sports books – and of course, to software suppliers that deliver the gaming platforms that keep the game going.
The main challenges that affect the industry are connected to the regulatory changes that occurred and fragmented the iGaming world – especially the European space – and to which all stakeholders need to respond by complying with the existing multiple licensing regimes and the local series of requirements adopted in the targeted jurisdiction.
The positive side for affiliates is that by understanding a regulated market and the local demands imposed by a national gambling licence, they can better choose an operator to partner with and are able to develop further on their own gaming website.
Who are the main players in the industry?
The iGaming industry is called an “Industry” for a reason. To keep it simple, we need to mention the high number of stakeholders involved, from C-level executives, software suppliers and major providers, casino and sportsbook operators, payment solutions companies and national regulators that impose taxes and collect money.
Presenting every party involved would take too much space, and since we need to understand the affiliates’ immediate interests, let us expose the main players they have to deal with in this evolving industry.
1. Software suppliers and operators
We will mention both of them here, since their connection is so strong. The relationship they establish and the way they collaborate is vital for the success of the gambling website.
Software suppliers are specialized providers for the industry. They deliver the necessary software that runs behind gambling websites, no matter we talk about casino games, sportsbooks, payment solutions, site administration or licensing. They can even build the front-end for their clients. As every operator knows, making the right choice and selecting the best provider is of paramount significance for their future development.
Operators, on the other hand, are the ones that create rules and decide the way their gaming website looks like, whom should they target and what content to deliver.
Though a large software provider may be able to build gaming websites that offer casino games and sports betting events on the same platform, most operators choose a single area to develop. To keep it simple, we may say that operators have the final word in the way their gaming website looks like and take the difficult marketing decisions that transform the site into a success story or a common gaming website.
2. State authorities
The iGaming industry wasn’t clearly regulated until now, except for the last years when most states have decided to impose national regulations and collect taxes for the newly regulated gaming activities.
For instance, if we analyze the European space, we discover that most countries have adopted and imposed their own rules and regulations. In order for a gaming provider or operator to access a country and develop a business, a licence needs to be obtained.
This is the short story. Of course, the European space is quite fragmented and each country has its own way. From the Danish gambling laws that are easy to understand and comply with to France and Italy, where high taxes, excessive regulation and restrictive laws made life difficult for gaming sites and players along the years.
From affiliate to operator
As we mentioned, affiliates promote operators’ gambling websites in return for a revenue share. But why should anyone follow their recommendations?
Usually, this happens because most of them are not affiliates from the start. They go online as gaming blogs that in time gain trust and a large audience by providing reliable information, such as useful tips and tricks, to players.
At the same time, they make extensive use of SEO-wise content marketing and engage players through online forums in order to keep their high position in the search engines’ results pages.
The experience they gain in iGaming industry and in online environment makes them perfect candidates for taking the next step to become gaming operators ready to reach success in the gambling world.
6 challenges affiliates need to overcome to become gambling operators
An affiliate may have been reassured that joining the online gambling industry as operator would bring high winnings in the long run. But is it that simple? Are there additional risks and challenges we didn’t notice?
Though there are many types of online gambling websites and it is difficult to give a “one size fits all” formula, there are some major questions every new operator needs to answer in order to become a successful gaming player on the market:
1. What do I want to offer on my gambling website?
It’s wonderful that as an affiliate you decided to take the leap and jump in the operators’ boat. But have you decided on the gaming content you want to offer your clients?
Building a classic casino gaming website supposes providing some popular casino games, such as slots, roulette, baccarat, bingo and poker. What about adding live casino rooms to deliver the ultimate “real-life” gaming experience? In case you decide to add live casino rooms to your website, don’t forget there may be multiple software providers that you need to contact.
At the same time, you may want to focus solely on sports betting, but will you leave aside the incredible thrills delivered by the last minute betting in live events?
The above questions take us further to one of the most important points every new operator needs to tackle.
2. Whom should I select to build my gaming website?
This is probably the single most important decision you’ll need to make in your hopefully long career as gambling operator. To reach the best possible conclusion, you need to really understand the main players out there, their services and of course, their prices.
Did you decide to launch an online casino? Or maybe you feel better in the sports betting arena? In this case, focus your search on software providers that are experienced in launching these types of gaming websites.
Are you not fully decided and feel like changing direction in the future? Then, you should settle your search campaign by finding companies that delivered both platforms in the market along the years and did it in a successful manner.
At the same time, every operator needs to find a fully customizable solution and a flexible mindset that gives a certain freedom in controlling the platform implementation, from day one to the final launch.
Though each gaming business brings its own requirements, from a wide perspective it is a wise decision to enter into a partnership with a software provider that is able to deliver a flexible software platform for both sportsbooks and casino games, a large array of payment options and multiple licences for various jurisdictions to access the targeted regions.
3. How do I obtain the necessary gambling licences to access the desired market(s)?
The regulatory landscape in today’s iGaming industry is more fragmented than ever. Especially when an operator wants to offer betting services in regulated countries and territories, like the ones in the European Union.
Creating an online gaming website and respect the requirements imposed across a jurisdiction is not an easy task to accomplish, not by yourself.
There are a number of elements to question before you gain access to a particular jurisdiction, for example you need to know what licence requirements are to be respected, what are the costs involved and how much time it takes to obtain a licence.
As the above questions imply, it’s not easy to secure a gambling licence by yourself without some regulatory and legal teams behind.
The easiest way to access a jurisdiction is to simply become a licensee of the iGaming software provider we mentioned at step 2. This is another reason why selecting a reliable and experienced software provider is a vital decision.
4. Do I need a payment system provider?
To enable players create deposits and offer easy steps to collect their winnings is another element that needs to be tackled. To be considered as a serious player in the industry, you have to sign an agreement with a payment system provider that is capable to assure multiple payment options, for a number of countries.
It is important, of course, to choose a payment provider that is more experienced in the market you want to access, than in other jurisdictions where you have little interest.
As in the gambling licensing process aforementioned, to simplify things, it is recommended to find a software provider that integrated a large number of payment methods into its gaming platform. Finding a provider that is capable to deliver not only gaming software, but a licensing system and a number of payment options is of paramount importance.
5. How should my website look like?
For every operator, the way a gaming website looks like is important, no question about it. It matters to welcome players by offering a friendly interface and control the final gaming experience.
As a new operator entering the market, a normal question may rise, such as: Should I control my website’s image or let the software provider take the best shoot?
There is no denial that an experienced provider can give you a good template for your website, but in the end, isn’t this the reason you want to become an iGaming operator: to offer the ultimate gaming experience and an original front end, totally different from other websites already out there?
6. How do I promote my gaming website?
Some of the main tools used by affiliates in promoting their content is to combine social media with content marketing and search engine optimization techniques. The same methods can be employed further on as gaming operators.
But, delivering targeted content and specific information to increase a website’s traffic audience – especially when some social media platforms and search engines are against gambling advertising – is not easy to do.
Before you find your voice through a solid marketing strategy, there are a number of elements to be considered and reinforced online and offline, such as keeping your gaming website as a provider of quality games and fair betting options. In addition to this, your business has to be seen as transparent and trustworthy.
As soon as you have secured the elements above, a number of marketing campaigns need to be launched and maintained over a long period of time in order to make your website’s name known in the targeted market.
To keep players interested, you can set up a number of marketing strategies, from retention campaigns to bonus and loyalty systems.
To become an iGaming operator
To be successful in iGaming as operator, you need to prepare a long term strategy. As any online gaming business that targets a high number of customers, the financial aspects involved should not be treated lightly and the additional challenges, like regulatory demands and legal requests, from a jurisdiction need to be fully understood.
Setting up your business in a country recognized for its contribution to the iGaming industry’s evolution is an important decision that could affect in a positive way your business operation.
If we look at Malta, for instance, it is easy to notice the obvious advantages offered by this country, from its proximity to the European space to the quality provided by the online gambling legislation and the general regulatory framework that allows planning a gambling business.
In addition to this, it is vital to understand that behind every major success there are people. Hiring the right individuals with experience in the field, able to contribute with their marketing skills and understanding the iGaming industry is another major part of the business that should not go overlooked.
Dealing with a number of affiliates in the industry allowed us to witness a number of successes along the years among our clients. For example, Wayne Casino, a former gaming affiliate created by a team of gaming professionals with over 10 years’ experience in the industry, decided to take the step and become a gaming operator. Wayne Casino is now a popular online gambling website providing over 100 jackpot, casino and live casino games with a Wild West theme.
At the end of the day, the gaming operator is the one responsible for the players’ satisfaction and delivering the ultimate gaming experience is the final purpose for every gambling website that wants to keep customers coming back for more.
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