Affiliate Interviews: Toni Halonen, Co-founder & CEO of Good Game
Good Game is an iGaming lead generation company based in Malta. Good Game differentiates itself from its competitors by concentrating only on a handful of sites, focusing on user intent and creating recognisable brands from these few sites. Long-term value for the user and partners has been the key to their success in the Finnish casino affiliate market.
Name: Toni Halonen
Hometown: Ilomantsi, Finland
Living in: Malta
Favourite Food: Traditional Finnish home cooking, Japanese, Indian, Thai
Must-Read Book: The Lord of The Rings, The War of Art
Job Title: Co-founder & CEO
Hi Toni, tell us and our readers a little bit about Good Game. How did your career start in the industry?
I’ve always been fascinated by all sorts of games, be it sports, computer games, board games or gambling. I opened my first online casino account when I turned 18 and started dabbling with online poker around 2004.
After finishing my studies in 2008, I started thinking what I should do for a living and it was then that I came across poker affiliation. The idea of having my own site came to me in 2008, but it took one year of the “real working life” before I jumped into playing poker professionally and chasing my affiliate dream. 🙂
Luckily I wasn’t alone in this, because my childhood friend, Ville Sissonen, also played online poker and showed an interest in affiliation. Our half-serious, half-joke motto in the beginning was: “maximising the passive income”. 🙂 Passwords to our affiliate accounts were always something like “BuyM3rc3d3s2010” back in the day, haha. I still don’t have a Mercedes, but Ville bought his first this year. (The passwords have since been changed, so no point trying to log in. 😉 )
Good Game was established in Malta in 2011 by me and Ville. We came to Malta to play online poker professionally and build affiliate sites on the side. The affiliate business only really started to pay off after our Head of SEO, Jussi Kauppinen, joined the company in 2013. During that time, we also began concentrating only on casino affiliation.
We sold our then main domain in 2015 and went all-in with the money from the first sale straight into building our next project – this time in an actual office 🙂 – and with a team of ten people. That project came to an end at the beginning of this year when our main casino site was bought. Now we’re concentrating solely on our UK project.
Explain your current UK project, Bojoko.com, in one sentence.
Airbnb for online casinos.
What makes it different from other casino affiliate sites based on player communities, casino reviews and social proof?
The biggest difference from our competitors is that Bojoko allows casinos and game suppliers to create their own reviews, and publish their own offers and game reviews. This way they can control their brand (tone of voice, design etc.) beyond their own website and ensure that affiliate marketing for their brand is done according to the UK Gambling Commission’s standards.
Casinos and game suppliers have understood this concept well. New casinos have been especially keen on listing themselves on Bojoko.
What’s the reason behind launching Bojoko? In other words, why does Bojoko exist?
There are a couple of reasons why we’ve built Bojoko. First of all, we wanted to minimise the role of an affiliate in everything the user sees and interacts with on the site. Secondly, we see a big gap in how iGaming is consumed compared to other industries operating online. Selecting, playing and transfering money to casinos could be a lot more fluid and safer than it is now.
Our purpose is to build tools for Bojoko users, which they can then use to create this more fluid, safer vision of iGaming. We want to positively transform the iGaming user experience. This way we can establish casino games as an acceptable mainstream pastime too.
How do you see the UK market?
It’s certainly more competitive than the Finnish casino affiliation market and there are many more established brands which are almost non-existent in Finland. It’s a good challenge to build a site for a large market.
Tell us one change that you want to see in the online gambling industry?
I’d like to see all forms of online gambling becoming as accepted in the mainstream as lotteries are. Offering more user-centric products and safer gambling will move the needle to the right direction. There are good initiatives underway in the UK in these two areas, although I’d like to see us, the gambling companies, driving this change and not relying or waiting for regulators to do it. There’s a much bigger pie waiting to be shared in the long run if iGaming becomes a widely accepted and respected industry.
Do you have any advice for newbies who are looking to venture into casino affiliation?
You should constantly ask yourself questions which reveal what kind of person you are. This helps you find the values and ideals you want to push forward in the industry you’re working in. It will also boost your motivation immensely and endow you with a more holistic approach to building your business.
What do you think will be the biggest trends in iGaming in 2018?
Regulation is one, for sure. It will bring new rules to online gambling once again, but it also brings predictability (such as in Sweden) and new markets (US sports betting) to the table. Predictability and new markets are great things for the entire online gambling industry.
What other new things can we expect from Good Game and Bojoko in the second half of 2018?
Bojoko has just rolled out a new tool which helps users tremendously in their casino selection. The tool is attached to our casino lists and lets users filter and sort online casinos easily with over 30 different data points so you can really get to the one casino that satisfies all your requirements. Just like hunting for the perfect vacation home on Airbnb.
In the coming months, we’ll be focusing on bringing more user features like this to Bojoko. They will help users mainly in two ways:
- Selecting online casinos more quickly and easily
- Interacting with other Bojoko users in our community
If you find this interesting, the best way to stay tuned to Bojoko and join in the fun is to sign up on the site.
Fiat & Crypto: King Billy players get the best of both worlds
See how the casino players can deposit in crypto and play in fiat.
Since the dawn of e-gaming robust payment systems have been crucial for the success of any online casino, as they are a key factor in creating a positive and satisfying gaming experience. Moreover, the availability of different payment options allows players to choose the method that works best for them, whether it be classical fiat money or cryptocurrency.
But is it possible for an operator to give its players the best of both worlds, fiat and crypto at once? Yes, it is, with the King Billy feature “deposit in crypto, play in fiat”. The concept is simple. A casino player deposits in crypto (choosing among 4 cryptocurrencies King Billy supports). Then, the system automatically shows them their balance in the currency of their choice (among the 14 currencies King Billy supports, used by more than 3 billion people worldwide). When the players withdraw, their transaction takes place back in crypto.
What are the advantages of this system? Ruslan Legenzov, King Billy Casino Head of Affiliates (or “Lord of Affiliates” as the internal etiquette demands) has the answers: “Good things come in threes, and there are certainly 3 very good things about our “deposit in crypto, play in fiat” feature.
First of all, depositing in crypto means less hassle and paperwork for the player and elimination of the dreaded “transaction not coming through” issue. This has been a problem and actually a torment for many of our players in remote areas of the world. As a global casino, we are happy to act in ways that give peace of mind to our players.
Secondly, this system offers a greater player experience to the King Billy Citizens and Nobles, as they can now take advantage of our numerous promotions and offers in fiat. For example, players who deposit in crypto can now participate in our extremely popular fiat-only “Slot of the Month” offer, that’s been a staple of our casino since our launch.
Finally, with “deposit in crypto, play in fiat” our players, especially the not so cryptocurrency-savvy have a much clearer understanding of their wins or losses. I am sure that a player, let’s say from Vietnam, prefers to see, in real time, how much his slot win is worth in the Vietnamese Dong than running in parallel a crypto converter tool to do the math!”
Well said and well done your Majesty.
For those interested in the “deposit in crypto, play in fiat” feature, King Billy Casino accepts the following currencies: Euro (€), US Dollar ($), Canadian Dollar (C$), Australian Dollar (A$), New Zealand Dollar (NZ$), Norwegian Krone (kr), Indian Rupee (₹), South African Rand (R), Vietnamese dong (₫), Indonesian rupiah (Rp), Malaysian ringgit (RM), Thai baht (฿) and the Philippine peso (₱). King Billy also accepts the following cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC) and Tether (USDT).
King Billy Casino is a new-generation online casino, launched on St. Patrick’s Day in 2017. It is available in 4 languages (English, German, French and Finnish) and it has an impressive record in awards with 25 wins, shortlists and other distinctions, and an amazing variety of features and games. King Billy has prioritized the creation of a superb user experience, focusing on the myth of King Billy and his Kingdom and treats all players with the specialness they deserve.
Rightlander wins “Best Tech for Affiliate Programmes” at IGB Affiliate Awards 2023
Following the launch of their innovative Smart Workbench, Rightlander, the advertising and affiliate compliance monitoring specialist, have won the award for ‘Best Technology for Affiliate Programmes’ at this year’s IGB awards ceremony in London. The annual award, dubbed the Oscars of the iGaming affiliate market, recognises the most successful businesses in the gambling industry.
Rightlander is a state-of-the-art advertising and affiliate compliance platform that allows advertisers and networks to identify potentially non-compliant content across different territories. It does this by scanning affiliate content from within the target market, looking for events or conditions defined by clients and regulators, and sending alerts when it finds content that meets those conditions.
According to the judges, who praised the submission’s clear evidence and figures showing customer adoption and cost savings, Rightlander’s offering is “a very strong piece of technology which leads the industry in protecting affiliates, operators and ultimately players and ultimately makes the industry better for being in it.”
Ian Sims, Founder of Rightlander said “We are extremely happy to have won the Best Tech for Affiliate Programmes and this is a milestone moment for Rightlander. We developer/marketing folks love to throw around words like “game changing” and “AI-driven” but when you win an award for “Best Tech for Affiliate Programmes” and it’s one of the judges calling it a “game changer”, that is quite an endorsement.”
Over the past 5 years, Rightlander has scanned tens of millions of webpages to help advertisers identify non-compliant advertising by their marketing partners to protect their brand and regulatory licenses.
Casino Guru wins IGB Affiliates Safer Gambling Initiative of the Year
Casino Guru has won the IGB Affiliates recognition in the Safer Gambling Initiative of the Year category.
Casino Guru has won the IGB Affiliates Awards distinction in the Safer Gambling Initiative of the Year category, an award granted to affiliate services with an unfaltering track record in their commitment to raising player protection standards and contributing to the industry’s ability to better understand gambling-related harm.
Casino Guru underwent a thorough review, which included a look into how the company sought to educate and protect players beyond statutory requirements and the active steps taken to introduce players to a safer gambling journey in every market they engage with.
The assessment distinguished Casino Guru for its comprehensive efforts in responsible gambling and gambling harm prevention as captured by the Gamtegrity, the unifying home of all responsible gambling and consumer protection projects and initiatives launched under the Casino Guru banner and name.
Spearheaded by Šimon Vincze, Casino Guru’s Sustainable & Safer Gambling Lead, Gamtegrity reunites some of the company’s most impactful projects and initiatives geared towards raising standards for the entire industry insofar as problem gambling, player behavior, and harm protection are concerned.
Vincze hailed the IGB Affiliates distinction as a deserved and important milestone in the company’s ongoing efforts to provide the industry with guidance on how to better protect consumers and provide players with assistance on their journey to picking the best and most responsible industry operators.
“QUOTE by Šimon”
I am thrilled from this recognition as it includes most of the projects that I work on. However, this achievement is a reflection of work throughout the departments of Casino Guru and I feel honored to translate it to the rest of the industry. Safer Gambling is undersized in affiliate space, and it is great that iGB motivates companies to compete in it.
Casino Guru’s Gamtegrity project reunites the company’s Global Self-Exclusion System (GSES), an ambitious cross-border initiative designed to create a comprehensive global mechanism that enables players to exclude themselves from regulated gambling markets and focus on recovery.
Casino Guru has similarly focused on creating tools that assist and help vulnerable players to address their problem as well as find help, extensive global information and easy access to treatment options.
The company has also leveraged its industry expertise to create the Casino Guru Academy, an ambitious undertaking which understands how important it is to educate industry professionals about best practices in customer support, casino bonuses, safer gambling, and other important areas.
Not least, Casino Guru’s ample effort and experience in maintaining responsible gambling standards that go beyond national legislation have led the company to set up the Casino Guru Awards which seeks to distinguish prominent operators that share the company’s core values in providing consumers with the safest gambling possible.
The Safer Gambling Initiative of the Year distinction is evidence of the strong and meaningful impact Casino Guru has had in bettering responsible gambling standards and seeking to actively assist players who may struggle with gambling-related problems or suffer gambling-related harm.
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