Online Gambling Affiliates F***ed

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In light of the United Kingdom Advertising Standards Authority coming down on a handful of Web gambling firms, one of those targeted has announced it will be ending its affiliate program and others may soon follow.

Skybet announced earlier in the month it will eliminate its affiliate program after the ASA claimed the firm was “targeting vulnerable people” by Featuring advertisements suggesting gambling “could provide an escape from personal problems such as depression and that it could be a solution to financial concerns”. 

Affiliates have also been accused of providing losing plays to customers in an attempt to capitalize off their losses.  Ad partners typically receive up to 35 percent of a gambling company’s profits (i.e. the player losses).

Graham Carrick of CalvinAyre.com says dumping affiliates could prove harmful to gambling operators cited by the ASA like Skybet, Ladbrokes, Casumu and 888.

The truth is betting companies need affiliates badly. Generally every year an operator will have to replenish 30-40% of their player database, never mind growing it as their players go dormant, cancel their accounts or are kicked off by the operator for winning too much. Affiliate deals (even shady ones that pop up on porn sites) have been seen as an easy option to replenish stocks of juicy losing players. With PPC costs going through the rough and Facebook ads only really working around major sporting events usage of affiliates (in the UK) has significantly increased in the last few years.

Affiliates diverting thousands of players to operators are worth a fortune and are big business as you’ll see from Catena and GIG’s crazy spending splurge on European affiliates. These two affiliate giants have dished out over £100m between them in 2017 acquiring a range of affiliates mostly dealing with casino based customers.

Carrick speculates that, while the industry affiliate program is not likely to go the way of the dodo bird any time soon, other companies could potentially follow Skybet’s lead should the ASA and other governing agencies begin imposing stiff fines on the betting firms. 

- Gilbert Horowitz, Gambling911.com

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