Affiliate Interviews: Tom Lasten, Editor-in-Chief at CasinoBonusesIndex.com
We have browsed around and have found a casino bonus comparison site that indexes the best bonuses from the most reputable online casino operators all over Europe and the Rest of the World. It seems that this website has been around for quite a while and it’s run by a great team which has a front man who has been writing about gambling professionally over 10 years. So, without any delays, here is our interview with Tom Lasten, Editor-in-Chief at CasinoBonusesIndex.com
GAV: First, we would like to thank you for the opportunity to interview such a highly appreciated professional of the industry. Could you fill out the short form below so our readers can imagine your profile?
- Name: Tom Lasten
- Age: 35
- Hometown: London, United Kingdom
- Living in: London
- Favorite Food: Japanese
- Must Read Book: Beat the Dealer by Edward O Thorpe
GAV: Tell us a bit about yourself, we want to know who Tom Lasten really is, Editor-in-Chief at CasinoBonusesIndex.com. Where were you born? What was the key idea of developing this great website?
Tom: I was born in London but have travelled most of Europe, Asia and America and I’ve lived in Las Vegas and Malta for what I would call an influential period of time. The idea behind the website came from a mix of my days of playing blackjack and my degree in Journalism. I played at a pretty decent level and casinos are what I know, I’ve written about gambling professionally now for well over 10 years. I wanted to give players a great resource with which to learn the games, but from someone who actually plays them, not simply a nameless face spinning an article. So I’m the Editor-in-Chief at www.casinobonusesindex.com but the face behind all of our brands is Blue Window Ltd, we’re an agency of around 15 people based in Malta and we operate our sites in many different languages, across 20+ countries such as France, Sweden, Germany, Finland etc.
GAV: Since there are thousands of casino review websites out there, where do you think CasinoBonusesIndex.com stands now?
Tom: I think the beauty of this website is that it has a younger, more relevant take on online casinos. Gambling is seen as such an old mans game, but in reality its the younger generations who spend 24/7 online, they’re on their smartphones constantly and are always looking for the next big thing. We have the exact same hunger for the newest tech and the latest games, exactly like our players.
GAV: What are the strong points of the website and what makes it stand out from the niche websites?
Tom: It’s easy to navigate and there are a lot of exclusive bonuses on there, this is thanks to the great partnerships we’ve built over the years with all the different online casinos. We’re fiercely honest with all our reviews as well, I think it’s still nice to have a bit of integrity in this business, if something doesn’t fit with a game or casino we’ll let our players know about it straight. It’s the same concept in play across all of the language versions of this particular brand.
GAV: What were the bumps on your road when you got started and how did you overcome them?
Tom: Not very many to be honest, I guess like most you have little experience of the actual money side of the business when you first start out, so negotiating can be tricky not knowing how much everything is potentially worth, other than that we took a very measured approach to the business and building the website so as such it built up over time, anything that required extra attention or any problems we just made sure was resolved so we felt no negative impact.
GAV: We have browsed your website and found some high quality content. Are you writing it by yourself or you have a team of people writing the reviews?
Tom: A lot of the content such as the news, casino reviews and casino game guides on the site were written by me, mainly because I have a lot of actual gambling and online casino experience, especially blackjack. I also have a great writer who specializes in online slots. She actually writes great slot reviews because she plays the games so much herself. For the other languages there are separate teams all within Blue Window Ltd working on each of the websites and they all have a similar setup with multiple writers and main editors. It’s a truly international agency in that sense.
How do you keep the content fresh and devoid of clutter when a lot of fluff and nonsense appear on the Internet on a daily basis?
Tom: As an editor, it’s a question of choosing content that you think your audience will love and also content that you can write with authority about. I’m very honest when I write, I see a lot of articles written for the sake of traffic and it’s obvious the person writing the article doesn’t know the subject at all. Our content is good for both attracting new traffic and satisfying our existing audience plus we’re complete geeks when it comes to the subjects we cover! so we write with passion as well as relevance and authority.
GAV: We are sure that you receive daily messages from Affiliate Managers showcasing their products. You of course select them by the brands they work with; but what are your thoughts on how Affiliate Manager-Affiliate relationships should be built?
Tom: There needs to be a bit of give and take of course, but I’ve met both sides of the coin. I work with some great affiliate managers who are very down to earth and we do business easily because there’s no bullshit. On the reverse I’ve worked with many in the past that come across all ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ and I’m just not interested. My advice is just be a normal human being with your clients, business doesn’t need to be painful for either parties, it should ideally be mutually beneficial and a good working relationship leads to a better and healthier business for both in the long term.
GAV: How do you see the future of the gambling industry? For instance, will it become a truly global phenomenon in the near future?
Tom: I think it’s always been a global thing on the whole but now you will definitely see a second explosion in online gambling, there are so many markets opening up around the world, in countries where everything is very new so there’s lots of potential for fast growth and a chance for more product diversity in those newer markets.
GAV: Can you name one change that you want to see in the casino affiliate ecosystem?
Tom: More parties? Haha, I think this is a tough one to answer because it constantly evolves but I was thinking the other day how cool it would be to see more direct interaction with the software developers than just at trade shows. It’s always fun to try new tech or new games before they’re released and get some proper advanced previews out for the players, at the moment it’s a side of the industry that has great crossover potential but developers tend to be a shy and secretive bunch.
GAV: What advise you would like to offer to the new affiliates who are looking to venture into this great industry?
Tom: For your sites you need to find your own voice and be true to it, sounds simple but it’s hard sometimes not to just rubber stamp everything that comes through. For the business side if it’s something you’ve never done before then there are plenty of very good resources and on the whole the affiliate community is quite approachable for general advice, just don’t ask about any trade secrets and you’ll be fine!
GAV: Who is your favorite celebrity?
Tom: (Chelsea Footballer) John Terry
GAV: If you would just open your YouTube search bar, what would you search for?
Tom: Usually some really good jazz funk or house music for while I’m working, for actual videos I tend to watch a lot of old football matches from the 80’s on YouTube and older WSOP tournaments are also a personal favorite at the moment.
GAV: Back to work. Do you attend any iGaming conferences? If so, which one is your favorite and what is your most fun experience?
Tom: We do go to a few of them, I really enjoy ICE for all the cool new games and tech previews, the London Affiliate Convention is always fun to catchup with old acquaintances and the newer SiGMA summit of igaming in Malta was a really good event last year.
GAV: How do you rate the chances of Eastern Europe becoming potential gaming hotspot of the future? Where do you think the region must improve upon?
Tom: I think there’s a lot of great potential in these markets, but care must be taken by the relevant authorities to ensure the players are looked after before the casinos, not the other way around. I think improvements like this go a long way to building trust in new brands and especially trust in new markets which is very important. Good reputation is everything after all.
GAV: Alright, here comes the fun part…., where would you like to travel in Eastern Europe, some part of the region maybe that you haven’t visited yet and favorite destination around the world.
Tom: One of the places I would love to go to still is Poland, but I’d love to take a few weeks to really explore the country a bit and get to know the history from the people’s perspective. My favorite destination? At the moment I love Mexico and it may sound cheesy but also Las Vegas, there’s just something special about Vegas.
GAV: Where you wouldn’t want to travel in Eastern Europe?
Tom: I don’t know if there’s anywhere I wouldn’t go, I’m always up for adventure and experiencing new cultures and places.
GAV: What is your opinion about EEG/GAV (Eastern European Gaming – eegaming.org)/Gambling Affiliate Voice – gamblingaffiliatevoice.com?
Tom: I have followed you guys for a while, I read your website regularly for insights into the Eastern European markets to get a better idea of what’s going on currently in that sector so I really like what EEgaming.org does for the industry, you really bring something relevant to the niche. Gambling affiliate voice in particular is a great resource, especially for newer affiliates. There are many pitfalls out there if you’re not careful and this site can go a long way to helping them get started, talking to reputable affiliate managers and other key people in the industry can help to answer many important questions newer affiliates may have.