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Affiliate Success

Boots on the ground: What it’s like being an affiliate in the US sports betting market

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Boots on the ground: What it’s like being an affiliate in the US sports betting market
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Mike Murphy, founder of BettingUSA.com, talks about the challenges and opportunities that await those getting in on the action in the US sports betting affiliate sector

The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in May 2018 has unleashed a sea change in the regulated US sports betting market.

What was once illegal and the realm of shadowy offshore sportsbooks has now come into the mainstream with legal in-person and online sportsbooks slowly but surely funneling gamblers back onto regulated platforms headquartered in the United States.

Change can be uncomfortable, but it also provides opportunity. Many affiliates made a lot of money and got comfortable during the unregulated offshore days, but those days are dwindling and a new order is rising.

The question for sports betting affiliates is whether or not they will adapt to the changing environment and capitalize on the new opportunities before them. We suggest taking full advantage while the getting is good but acknowledge we will all face challenges moving forwards.

Let’s consider what we face and what we stand to gain.

Challenges Facing Affiliates in the Legal US Sports Betting Market

The greatest opportunities in life always come with challenges, and the newly-regulated sports betting market in the United States is no exception.

The good news is these challenges will sharpen and diversify your skills. Overcoming these challenges will make you a better, smarter and more well-rounded affiliate.

You will also find these challenges act as a sort of filter such that when you emerge on the other side, your competition will be reduced in number. The competitors who remain will be skilled affiliates like yourself, but there will be fewer of you competing for a piece of the action.

Higher Quality Competition

The regulated online gambling and sports betting market in the US has already attracted the attention of big players with deep pockets. The quality of websites that appear in search results is a night-and-day difference compared to just a few years ago when the only real opportunities to make money as a US-focused gambling affiliate were either questionably legal or outright illegal.

Legalization and regulation have resulted in major media companies finally entering the US market now that they can do so in a fully legal and transparent manner. These companies have big budgets, hire the best writers and churn out high quality websites in bulk.

Competing against these types of affiliates is challenging, and there are no indications things are going to get any easier. If you’re an independent affiliate with a website, you have your work cut out for you. The bigger companies can outspend you and likely have better connections.

That doesn’t mean there is no room left for independent affiliates like some of the doomsayers have taken to claiming of late. It just means you’ll need to be agile, pick your target markets carefully and cultivate a real relationship with your viewers.

New Licensing and Compliance Hurdles

One of the most challenging and frustrating hurdles we see in the US market today is the introduction of regulations that impact affiliates. States such as New Jersey and Pennsylvania require all affiliates to acquire a license in order to make money promoting licensed sites to players in those states.

The magnitude of this challenge remains to be seen as additional states pass legalization laws. New Jersey’s affiliate licensing process really isn’t all that difficult. Getting licensed in Pennsylvania has proven to be fairly complicated. Meanwhile, we have seen no indications affiliates need to be licensed in West Virginia.

The types of laws passed in the future will determine the true startup costs associated with licensing. Our best advice to smaller affiliates here is to target states in which the licensing hurdles are minimal or nonexistent and build out from there.

Additional compliance hurdles are likely to materialize at some point as well. We can look to recent developments in the UK online sports betting industry for a preview of what may come in the future.

Advertisers in the UK are subject to an increasingly complicated set of rules regarding how to promote gambling responsibly, for example. The US has not gotten to this point yet, but it is worth keeping in mind additional regulatory hurdles remain a distinct possibility.

A Fractured Market

Online sports betting and gambling are regulated at the state level, which means the rules vary from state to state. You may need an affiliate license in one state but not another. A particular betting site may be available in one state, but not in the next one over.

This means you’ll need to take a state-by-state approach to your affiliate business by promoting particular sites to visitors from particular states. Some operators have opened shop in multiple states, but you’ll need to stay on top of which sportsbooks are available where so you can direct your visitors to the proper websites.

The upside to this challenge is it too provides opportunity. As legal sports betting spreads across the US, people are going to have many questions regarding the law, where they can bet online legally, where to find licensed mobile betting apps and much more. Affiliates are well-suited to educate consumers and earn some money at the same time.

Opportunities

Now that we have the biggest challenges out of the way, we can move on to the fun stuff: the opportunities that await affiliates who are able to deal with the aforementioned obstacles. The United States presents some very big opportunities for those intrepid affiliates who dare tackle this market.

There is A Lot of Money to be Made

The US online sports betting market has enormous potential for simple reasons. The US has a large population, it has a pro-sports culture and the people have high levels of disposable income.

We also have a strong pro-gambling culture with hundreds of casinos spread across the US and widespread familiarity with sports betting even if it was limited (officially anyways) to Nevada for several decades.

Consider this: The American Gaming Association (AGA) has estimated that one quarter of the US population participated in a sports pool in 2017. The AGA has also estimated Americans already wager upwards of $150 billion per year on sports through illegal channels. That is a lot of pent up demand.

This isn’t just us talking up the industry – major industry players have been staking their claims in anticipation of widespread legalization. Caesars Entertainment, FOX Sports and even Buffalo Wild Wings have all made moves to position themselves for a piece of the pie.

Some affiliates have already made a fortune even though the industry is just now gearing up. We have seen multiple eight-figure sales of sports-oriented affiliate websites in recent times for monthly multiples that would have been unthinkable during the turbulent, uncertain offshore sports betting days.

Case in point: The Better Collective Group recently purchased 60% of the RotoGrinders network for $21 million up front, plus a plan to purchase the remaining 40% “at a valuation based upon an EBITDA multiple between 5x and 10x.”

We also saw Catena Media purchase BonusSeeker last March for $6.5 million with a potential additional payout of $9.5 million based on performance after two years. Mind you, this was before the Supreme Court decision. BonusSeeker was restricted to legal online casinos in New Jersey at the time, and still it sold for that much.

The financial potential for affiliates is almost overwhelming to consider, and yet the industry is still just getting started. Many more states have yet to pass legislation to legalize online sports betting and gambling.

Industry is Ripe for Innovation and New Ideas

This is an exciting time to be an affiliate with operators and traditional media companies alike exploring the possibilities of legal sports betting. We’ve seen the likes of PointsBet hit the market with innovative new ways to bet on games while other operators have greatly expanded their in-play wagering capabilities.

The United States, home to Silicon Valley, has a strong culture of innovation. Even though the European markets have had a lengthy head start when it comes to legal sports betting, nobody can innovate like motivated US companies.

Not only does this make it more exciting and interesting to be an affiliate, but it gives affiliates even more opportunities to show value by answering questions and sharing interesting updates with viewers.

It is Still Early in the Game

The US online gambling industry is still in its infancy. Yes, some of the bigger affiliate networks have already paid millions for well-established websites, but we haven’t even come close to reaching peak saturation.

Consider the acquisitions discussed above: BonusSeeker being purchased for $6.5 million up front with a final sale price of up to $9.5 million after two years; 60% of the RotoGrinders network being purchased for $21 million up front with a very real chance of the final deal being realized for $50 million or more a few years from now.

Consider that these purchases happened when the majority of states still haven’t legalized online sports betting or gambling. Major affiliate companies are not paying that much money for digital assets just for fun. They see the market potential. They know the US market is just barely getting started.

Now, imagine the types of buyouts that will be possible after 20, 30 or 40 states have legalized online sports betting – or if Congress steps in and passes nationwide legislation.
We see the occasional discussion among smaller affiliates bemoaning the “corporatization” of the affiliate business.

Some will tell you it’s too late to get in the game now with the likes of Catena Media and Better Collective out there spending millions on marketing, acquisitions and staff.

It’s true the level of competition has increased and affiliates do have to jump through new hoops with licensing requirements in some states, but the market is still just barely getting started. Those challenges can be overcome, and the rewards will be very much worth the trouble.

There are plenty of opportunities even for the lonely one-man operation. Those who work hard and provide informative or entertaining content have a world of opportunity open to them with the US market just now getting off the ground.

Affiliate Success

MyAffiliates is officially the most used affiliate marketing software by the iGaming industry.

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MyAffiliates is officially the most used affiliate marketing software by the iGaming industry

 

MyAffiliates is officially the most used affiliate marketing software used in the gaming industry.

The exercise was conducted on a sample of 1,100 affiliate programs with data provided by Statsdrone revealing that MyAffiliates is used by almost 16% of gaming operators, followed by Affilka (11.8%), Income Access (10.5%) and NetRefer (7.8%).

The findings of the recent exercise, based on a sample of 1,100 affiliate programs, affirm MyAffiliates’ position as the preferred choice among gaming operators. With nearly 16% of operators utilizing our software, we are honoured to be entrusted with facilitating their affiliate marketing efforts.

While we celebrate this achievement, we also recognize the evolving landscape of the industry. The fact that 17% of gaming operators still rely on proprietary software presents significant opportunities for ready-built solutions like MyAffiliates to further expand our market share and empower more operators to optimize their affiliate marketing strategies.

Considering this significant milestone, we at MyAffiliates extend our heartfelt gratitude to our clients and partners for their unwavering trust and support. This achievement underscores not only the effectiveness of the MyAffiliates platform but also the dedication of our team to continually innovate and provide unparalleled service to our users.

John Wright, CEO of Statsdrone, expressed his insights regarding MyAffiliates’ dominance in the iGaming industry, stating, “We know that MyAffiliates has an advanced platform for operators and is one of the reasons we know that MyAffiliates has become the most popular affiliate platform in iGaming. We hear from affiliates it is one of their preferred platforms to work with so for us it isn’t much of a surprise to see why operators choose MyAffiliates. In the last 6 months, we’ve noticed more MyAffiliates brands being requested on our platform, and I can’t see why that trend won’t continue.”

Clemence Dujardin, MyAffiliates Group CEO added: “As the leading affiliate marketing software in the iGaming industry, MyAffiliates remains committed to delivering cutting-edge solutions that empower gaming operators to maximize their affiliate programs’ performance and ROI.”

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Affiliate Success

ReferOn is shortlisted for two significant nominations in the AffPapa iGaming Awards 2024

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ReferOn is shortlisted for two significant nominations in the AffPapa iGaming Awards 2024

 

ReferOn, a state-of-the-art affiliate program management system, recently celebrated one year of the project since its launch in February 2023 and has been shortlisted in 2 significant categories of the AffPapa iGaming Awards 2024.

The ReferOn team is confirmed as the leader in the Affiliate System of the Year and Rising Star Provider of the Year categories – mention in these categories simultaneously proves the rapid growth of the platform, including the achievement of outstanding affiliate performance thanks to its flexible, clear, and transparent functionality.

ReferOn has quickly taken the lead in the affiliate gaming industry by offering a full suite of tools and services designed to simplify and empower affiliate marketing. Among its features are transparent data reporting and a range of management and reporting functions.

David Harris, B2B Affiliate Team Manager of ReferOn, noted the importance of the platform being mentioned in the nominations, “ReferOn’s inclusion on the shortlist for the AffPapa awards proves the result of hard teamwork and a commitment to innovation. We are committed to delivering the services our partners demand, and these nominations confirm that we are on the right track.”

The AffPapa iGaming Awards 2024 is the authoritative event from the leading iGaming directory AffPapa and is attended by operators, affiliates, and b2b providers. This year’s event will take place in Malaga, Spain during iGaming Club’s flagship event.

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Affiliate Success

Slotsjudge Awarded Best Affiliate in CEE at Prague Gaming & Tech Summit 2024

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It has been announced that iGaming entertainment and comparison site Slotsjudge has been awarded Best Affiliate in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) at the Prague Gaming & Tech Summit. This prestigious accolade marks a significant milestone in the Slotsjudge roadmap and is a recognition of the company’s services to the iGaming industry.

The Prague Gaming & Tech Summit brings together organisations and projects from a multitude of sectors including iGaming, eSports, Blockchain, AI, Fintech and VR. It is a highly regarded event that recognises and celebrates the works that make up and shape, the future of gaming and technology.

The Achievement and Its Significance

Winning the award for Best Affiliate in CEE is a huge achievement for Slotsjudge as it recognises the services and experiences created by the company within the iGaming industry. It is a reflection of the growth of the brand, innovation, relationships and adaptation in the wider market.

By winning the category for Best Affiliate in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), Slotsjudge had to rise above some tough competition. The highly competitive shortlist featured big players in the industry, including AskGamblers, Casino Guru, and Gamblers Connect among others.

Slotsjudge is a project that stands out from others on the market due to its player-centric ethos, trustworthy guidance and unique, community-led SJ Shop. It is a specialist adviser and comparison guide in the region that aims to connect experts with operators and consumers in the industry.

Importance of the Award

The award for Best Affiliate is a testament to Slotsjudge excellence and credibility in the industry. It elevates their status and positions them as a leading player in Central and Eastern Europe and beyond.

The GamingTECH Awards is a remarkable celebration that honours industry excellence, embracing the latest advancements and trends. Not only do they recognise outstanding accomplishments in the CEE region, but also celebrate exceptional achievements across a wide range of sectors, showcasing the diverse talent and innovation within the industry.

Future Outlook

The award demonstrates Slotsjudge’s exceptional framework for performance and credibility to continue on its path to success, centred around core pillars, including gamification, community engagement and consumer personalisation. It holds immense significance as it not only boosts confidence but also opens doors for further future growth. As well as providing increased opportunities and industry-wide recognition within the iGaming affiliate market.

Editor in Chief of Slotsjudge and Product Owner of parent company SEOBROTHERS Aleksandra Andrishaka commented on the award:

“I am incredibly grateful to accept the award for Best Affiliate in CEE at the Prague Gaming & Tech Summit. It is a true honour and a validation of our hard work, dedication, and commitment to excellence in this competitive market. Thank you to everyone who voted for us, and thank you to our wonderful Slotsjudge team.”

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