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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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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

3 Things To Consider Before Starting A New Casino Affiliate Business

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3 Things To Consider Before Starting A New Casino Affiliate Business

 

There can be no question that the online casino business is flying right now. It seems that nothing can stop the rapid rise of this exciting industry!

Individuals across the globe are looking to get in on the action, creating gambling affiliate websites to tap into the lucrative wealth that the industry can provide.

Although seriously competitive and ever-changing, the affiliate biz is an exciting one that brings endless possibilities. Whether you are looking to strike out as a review and information portal such as newcasinosites.me.uk, or prefer something slightly different, the affiliate industry can be truly exciting.

In this article, we will take a look at 3 things to consider before starting a new casino affiliate business. From research to the importance of tech, we will cover it all.

Let’s get going with the foundation of any career in the affiliate industry.

Know your stuff: The importance of research

If you are serious about launching a new casino affiliate business, you’re really going to have to know your stuff.

Online gambling is a lucrative yet complex world, packed with variables and jargon and more that can leave newcomers bewildered. If you are looking to launch a new casino affiliate business, you will need to research the industry heavily. Of course, the best way to do this is to play some casino games yourself! Sign up to a few different sites and get playing, practice makes perfect after all!

You will need a strong grasp of modern technology

If you are serious about starting a new casino affiliate business, understanding the tech behind the industry is also key. You will save plenty of money when building your website if you can learn basic HTML, not to mention you will gain total creative control of your project. After all, this is your project!

When you know HTML, you can constantly revamp and polish your site to keep things fresh for new players. Image is extremely popular in the new casino affiliate business and so you should not underestimate this aspect.

Another key tech to understand is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). In fact, this is more a type of marketing than anything else, which functions by using keywords, interlinking and meta titles to ensure that a given site finishes as high up as can be in search engine results. If it sounds simple, then that’s because it is, at least on the surface. There is no end to the ways you can manipulate SEO to ensure that your new casino affiliate business gets plenty of airtime.

Consider using gambling affiliate programs

If you are still interested in starting a new casino affiliate business, well done! One of the best ways to do so is to join a program, which removes plenty of the burden on you at first.

Basically, these programs show new casino affiliate businesses how to drive traffic to their site, thereby getting your foot in the door of what can be a seriously tough industry to break into. You should really consider joining a program if you feel that your site is not getting the coverage you desire.

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Affiliate Success

The Digital Marketing Mixer delights with SEO MasterClass and a Mad Hatter Themed Summer Networking Party

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The Digital Marketing Mixer delights with SEO MasterClass and a Mad Hatter Themed Summer Networking Party

 

The 3rd iteration of the Digital Marketing Mixer  a FREE business networking event will kick off the British Summer Bank Holiday weekend in style. Guests will enjoy a Mad Hatter Summer Themed, virtual Tea Party on Friday the 28th August between 4-6pm (GMT) via live Zoom.

The virtual networking event, hosted by AffiliateINSIDER CEO and affiliate industry veteran, Lee-Ann Johnstone – is designed to help connect suppliers , brands, agencies and affiliates together virtually to kick start new commercial conversations whilst physical conferences are delayed.

Join the party – Learn the latest SEO Insight and enjoy the show!

“The Digital Marketing Mixer is about making new personal connections virtually in a structured setting. This month we are privileged to also have visiting lecturer Matthew Hughes from the Arts University of Bournemouth (AUB) in the United Kingdom, which offers leading digital media courses. Matthew will be giving an exclusive SEO Masterclass – which shouldn’t be missed!”  mentions Johnstone.

The event offers hosted speed networking sessions where a variety of industry topics are discussed in groups along with fun ice breaker games (with great prizes to be won) and themed entertainment. The Mad Hatter Tea Party will also offer guests a mind boggling display of “Alice in Wonderland” style visual trickery delivered live by Canadian entertainer and magician, Ray Anderson.

The focus of this event will bring digital and affiliate marketing businesses together to start new commercial discussions.

Sarafina Wolde Gabrielle, VP of strategy at Income Access, a Paysafe Company, said The Digital Marketing Mixer offers affiliates, suppliers and operators  a chance to connect in-person and enjoy a fun, short and structured virtual networking session” , whilst Lloyd Richman, the founder of iBet Directory said:  “The Digital Marketing Mixer offers guests a great opportunity to make new contacts and gain an inside view on current changes taking place in our industry. This is a fantastic opportunity for small businesses, publishers, agencies and operator brands to come together and get new business done!” 

 

RSVP FOR FREE and enjoy the next Digital Marketing Mixer HERE

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Digital Marketing Mixer to be hosted for second iteration of FREE business networking on 30th June

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Digital Marketing Mixer to be hosted for second iteration of FREE business networking on 30th June

 

 

Last month saw the launch of the first Digital Marketing Mixer, a FREE business networking event created by Lee-Ann Johnstone which hosted over 150+ iGaming and Affiliate Marketing professionals in attendance.

The event which received outstanding delegate reviews, will be hosted again on Monday 30th June between 4-6pm (BST) via Zoom. The aim of the speed networking event is to bring together affiliates and digital marketers, technology providers , agencies, experts and marketing service providers together to promote their services virtually.

With limits on travel and attendance at physical events still in play opportunities to network for new business have been limited. That combined with increased remote working has had a natural impact on business development slowing in the short term.

The Digital Marketing Mixer has been created as an open platform for professional social networking to take place in a structured but relaxed virtual atmosphere. The event has been created to support new business and continued lead generation for all businesses operating in the Affiliate industry.

Lee-Ann Johnstone, the event host commented: “The Digital Marketing Mixer is a key event for digital and affiliate marketing businesses to get better connected during this uncertain time. The objective is simple, bring people together to talk, to collaborate and ensure new business and service opportunities continue to thrive. I’ve created this FREE networking event for EVERYONE to benefit from in the affiliate industry to help get new business deals done.”

The mixer remains 100% FREE for delegates to attend and is open to any vertical. Once again the event is held in collaboration with founding collaborators GPWA.org, iBet Directory, and AffiliateINSIDER collaborating to deliver this event.

“The toughest part of the conference experience to replicate online was always going to be those oh-so-important conversations in the bar. I was delighted to find myself in just such conversations at the Digital Marketing Mixer – top marks! “  said Sue Dawson from bestnewbingosites.co.uk who attended last month’s inaugural event. 

The Digital Marketing Mixer will offer a host of  fun networking games, speed selling challenges and enable delegates to enjoy discussing the latest industry trends whilst providing a platform to market their goods and services. The focus of this event remains on getting digital and affiliate marketing professionals quickly connected, getting new deals – done!

Lloyd Richman, founder of iBet Directory commented: The Digital Marketing Mixer Party is a great concept and offers all delegates the option to contribute unlike other webinars and conferences. It had a good mixture of natural event speakers, experienced iGaming professionals and new people to the industry. A great event which was highly successful.

If you are an agency, affiliate, consultant, operator, digital marketer, payment provider or saas product owner, everyone working with or in the affiliate industry is welcome to attend.

RSVP FOR FREE and join the Digital Marketing MixerHERE

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