As the iGaming market in the UK has grown exponentially since 2010, we’ve also seen associated money-making opportunities emerge in the sector.
For example, the most successful gambling affiliates can earn in excess of £20,000 per month when ranking well for competitive search volume keywords, simply by promoting a particular casino brand through their site.
However, given the recent proposals aimed at safeguarding players in the iGaming market and the wider impact of Brexit on the European gambling industry in the UK, the future for affiliates has become uncertain. But how will they be affected by any rule changes?
Exploring Current Affiliate Restrictions
During the House of Lords Select Committee meeting on the Social and Economic Impact of the Gambling Industry in February, delegates discussed a wide range of measures to help protect vulnerable and underage gamblers.
They also entertained the ambitious proposals by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Gambling Related Harm, which included measures such as a £2 online slots betting cap and a comprehensive review of the licensing criteria imposed on operators.
Another key topic for discussion was the role of affiliates, and more specifically how operators feel about regulating these entities and the way in which they advertise to their customers.
Currently, there is a clear rule which makes operators liable for the actions of their affiliate partners, with this having been in place since the last review of the market in 2018.
This rule created a sense of accountability amongst operators and made them directly responsible for the marketing activity (and breaches) of their affiliates, resulting in a slew of financial sanctions for brands across the board.
This was also part of a wider drive to curb the publication of misleading information on affiliate sites, which could occasionally be utilized to target vulnerable or underage players.
Aside from misleading advertising, this body of rules and wider regulatory framework also covers specific database practice requirements, including the requirement to demonstrate explicit consent for any person who happens to be on an affiliate’s email marketing list.
By attempting to control sponsored iGaming messaging in this way, both the UK regulator and the government caused a considerable splash in the affiliate market.
For example, Sky Bet closed their affiliate program completely after the new rules were imposed, while a host of other market-leading operators listed on mybettingsite.uk ceased to partner with their most inefficient and untrustworthy affiliates.
This also contributed to the significant spike in mergers and acquisitions in the iGaming market during 2018/19, so it should come as no surprise that stakeholders are watchful in the event that new affiliate laws are passed.
So, What Does the Future Hold for iGaming Affiliates?
The main worry here is that the previous measures clearly have not resulted in the level of control and conformity that regulators would like, which is why alternative (and potentially stricter) measures may be under consideration.
In fact, the most logical and likely move would be to see the government (in conjunction with the UK Gambling Commission) attempt to regulate affiliates and their activity directly.
In theory, this could broadly follow the US model, where sports betting affiliates are required to register or license their operations in full before deals can be struck to promote online sportsbooks and iGaming brands.
This would not only potentially result in the formation of a new and standalone regulatory body, but costs may also be introduced to create a barrier to entry for new affiliates and make the practice less profitable for rogue operators.
Just as in 2018/19, any new rule changes could also trigger another wave of mergers and acquisitions.
In this instance, such strategic moves could well help smaller operators to absorb increased operational costs, while enabling larger corporations to strengthen their market share.
On a fundamental level, however, any new rule changes would require operators (and, to a lesser extent, affiliates) to boost their legal representation, in order to help minimize regulatory costs and pay for any external legal support that may be required.
These challenges will be compounded by Brexit, particularly for UK operators who may also be struggling with the increased RGD levy and other regulatory restrictions.
So, all stakeholders will be waiting with bated breath in the coming months, to see which of the new iGaming rules and regulations are likely to impact on the lucrative practice of affiliate marketing.
Betsson Group Affiliates to sponsor AffPapa iGaming Awards
Betsson Group Affiliates has made it to the list of the AffPapa iGaming Awards as a Silver Sponsor.
The partnership continues a close collaboration between AffPapa and the iGaming operator, after they renewed their year-long contract at the beginning of this year. The operator has closed several deals through AffPapa, and the workflow has been really seamless.
Shakyra Johnsson, Senior Affiliate Operations Manager at BGA, commented:
“Betsson Group Affiliates has been working closely with Affpapa since 2020 and we are very satisfied with the results of this partnership. As an operator and affiliate programme that is constantly striving for excellence, we are extremely proud to be sponsoring this year’s AffPapa iGaming Awards and wish all nominees the best of luck!”
The first-ever AffPapa iGaming Awards will soon mark its debut with the voting process starting on May 23rd. Numerous prominent brands have joined AffPapa in honoring the industry’s top performers and showcasing their brand to as many potential clients and partners as possible.
Yeva Avagyan, Head of Commercials at AffPapa, stated:
“We’re looking forward to continuing our close working relationship with the BGA team and building on what we’ve already established. Betsson Group Affiliates’ decision to work with us again reflects AffPapa’s continued efforts and the value it delivers to its partners. We’re pleased that our first Awards received such an excellent reaction, and that so many amazing brands, such as BGA, have joined us.”
The Awards will be followed by an exclusive event – iGaming Club – on July 5th in Amsterdam, with plenty of networking opportunities.
How important are partnerships in iGaming?
Many industries have been driven by rivalries as every company is striving for the best – but it’s not always the best long term solution. Partnerships are incredibly important and provide businesses with a way to evolve and expand their customer base.
It’s becoming increasingly common for companies within the iGaming industry to partner up for mutually beneficial agreements. Only recently, Push Gaming and Scientific Games signed a major deal to form a partnership. While on the one hand, these two companies are competitors fighting for the players’ attention but they saw the potential long-term success of the collaboration.
A good partnership can completely elevate a business to the next level which is why it’s so important within the iGaming industry. Despite being an industry that’s fiercely competitive, partnerships can be advantageous for all parties involved – if it’s done well.
Partnerships can improve the player’s experience
Within the past few years, there has been a multitude of partnerships among slot developers. Many independent game studios have gained much-needed exposure from partnerships with big names such as Yggdrasil, Relax Gaming and Microgaming due to their specialist platforms.
On the surface, these platforms seem to mainly boost the smaller studios, when in reality it’s a mutually beneficial relationship. Giving independent developers access to better tools and authoritative expertise improves the reputation of the bigger studio that is providing them with the support.
The established developers host smaller ones on their platforms often under the bigger name. Therefore, casinos that host the larger developers potentially get the smaller studio as well which vastly improves the player’s experience and overall opinion of the developer.
A key example would be Yggdrasil’s YGS Masters programme which is an invite-only platform that features studios such as Peter & Sons, Reflex Gaming and True Lab Games. The casinos that have previously partnered with Yggdrasil have the potential to host the games created through the YGS Masters programme, which improves the selection of games at the player’s disposal.
Ultimately, the most important factor is the player’s experience and enjoyment which is easily improved by partnerships like these.
Affiliates partnering with developers is mutually beneficial
Partnerships come in all shapes and sizes but they can be extremely valuable to all parties involved. It’s not just developers within the iGaming world collaborating together but also affiliates working alongside the developers as well.
One of the leading sources of independent online slot reviews, Slot Gods, have partnered with over ten different developers within the last six months. These partnerships have included the previously mentioned Push Gaming and Scientific Games along with other big names such as Relax Gaming and Playtech.
Fundamentally, partnerships like these allow developers to build excitement for upcoming slot releases or to give an insight into the ethos of their studio through interviews. Affiliate sites like Slot Gods are given exclusives through content, whilst the studios gain exposure for their products. It’s essentially a form of free marketing that is beneficial to everyone involved with no real cost.
Takeovers can be advantageous to the iGaming industry
Whilst good partnerships are useful and instrumental to success, takeovers can also be worthwhile within the iGaming industry. One of the biggest takeovers includes Evolution Gaming’s acquisition of NetEnt for 2 billion dollars in 2020.
This collaboration led to the creation of the popular Gonzo’s Treasure Hunt. Essentially, this combined the fan-favourite Gonzo’s Quest with the popular live casino game format from Evolution to make a product that’s unique and fresh for players.
Acquisitions like this have the potential to improve the general industry with innovations like Gonzo’s Treasure Hunt that combine online slots with the interactive live casino experience. Future innovations like this lead to positive repercussions for the rest of the iGaming industry.
Networking is always key
Both partnerships and takeovers can boost the industry but exchanging information through networking is important as well. At its core, networking is the process of sharing knowledge with people or organisations that are in the same field.
Of course, exclusive secrets or non-disclosure agreements (NDA) should not be shared but insights into important changes (such as laws) or software are worthwhile in improving the general industry. For example, distributing private information under an NDA is disrespectful and potentially damaging to all involved, but enlightening another affiliate with an upcoming law change is helpful for all in the long run.
Networking events like IGB Affiliate can even lead to partnerships or at least guide people within the iGaming industry in the right direction. Naturally, some may want to keep all the information to themselves, but it works out better in the industry long-term if people network to constantly share and improve upon ideas.
It’s clear to see that partnerships are a valuable asset in iGaming that should not be taken lightly. They are incredibly important in promoting products, exchanging knowledge and improving the player’s overall experience.
Even traditional media sites such as The Telegraph see the value in partnering within the iGaming world as they gain all their in-depth reviews, guides and tips about iGaming from affiliate BettingExpert.
The biggest question that remains is this: Will affiliates within iGaming ever work together to see the merit in partnerships? Experts within bingo could work with specialists in the live casino game sector to exchange valuable knowledge. No single person can become an expert on everything, so it’s helpful to get an adept person within this field to fill in the gaps.
Whether affiliates will work together in the future remains to be seen, but it could revolutionise the entirety of the iGaming industry.
Current Situation on US Gambling Law
According to the American Gaming Association, the United States gambling industry is worth some $240 billion. That’s more than double the value of the entire US film industry.
However, despite its size and popularity, it’s still illegal to bet on sports in almost all 50 states. Only three states — Nevada, Delaware, and Montana — are legalizing sports betting. New Jersey is allowing bets on single games through a court ruling.
In this article, we will look at what you can expect if you want to wager on your favorite sport in different states.
In terms of legal gambling in Ohio, the state has an extensive history with horse racing and casinos. There are currently five racetracks in the state which offer various betting options. The most popular form of wager is pari-mutuel betting, where you can bet on certain horses or the race. You can also place wagers on greyhound races at one of the tracks in Ohio.
The most popular form of casino gambling in Ohio is slot machines available at riverboat casinos across the state and at three racetracks that offer slot machines. Several Native American casinos operate within the state’s borders.
The state of Maryland is one of the most regulated states in the U.S. Therefore, it is no surprise that there are stringent laws regarding gambling. Maryland has some of the most restrictive laws regarding gambling in the country.
The state has a long history of gambling, and it is still considered one of the top gambling destinations in the entire country. Moreover, the state continues working hard to develop its casino industry. This is by creating new legislation on how casinos can operate and what types of games they can offer their customers.
Maryland has many types of laws that deal with all aspects of gambling. This includes licensing requirements, taxation rules, and other regulations. These affect every aspect of online gambling.
The state of Arizona is one of the few states that does not have any laws against gambling. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. The state does have laws against certain types of games, including bingo and raffles. Bingo is like any game in which cards are sold by chance. This is at a price greater than the cost of the card.
In other words, if you buy a $1 card and win $50, you can be arrested for running an illegal bingo game. Raffles are also illegal in Arizona if they are conducted by someone not registered with the state to do so.
The exception to this law is that if you are running a non-profit organization like a church or community group, you can conduct raffles without being registered with the state first.
The state of online gambling in the US continues to ramble on. However, different states are making significant strides to legalize it for US gambling sites. The current situation is that the gambling laws vary from state to state.
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