Founders: An Interview with John Wright, Co-founder StatsDrone

by Gambling Industry News - Wednesday, December 15th, 2021 9:40

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How did you stumble into online gambling?

I had a high-school friend that got into professional gambling and every once in a while he tried to recruit me for his card counting team. He knew I was good at math and figured I’d do well in it. I didn’t believe him that you could make money gambling and he took it to a whole new level when he started gambling online. After 2 years of him showing me cheques in the mail and starting to buy nice cars, I figured there might be some truth in it. I started off doing pro gambling playing table games and doing some poker and sports betting. I had a first hand look at the growth of online gambling back in the early days and knew it would only get bigger.

I’ve done some affiliate manager jobs before starting some casino affiliate sites. With the experience I have I’m now focused on software development in the affiliate marketing industry.

What kept you in the industry for so long?

I call the online gambling industry as being golden handcuffs, it isn’t easy leaving. I know I could do almost anything I want to but I felt I had too much experience in gambling to leave so soon. I’ve parlayed that experience into software development. See what I did there? 😉

Right now I’m focused on the StatsDrone app which is an affiliate stats aggregator for affiliates.

What are your thoughts on the online gambling industry today, the good, bad and ugly?

Great question and where do I start?!

Let me start with the ugly and work backwards. We all know online gambling is a lucrative industry but that comes with some stigma as people can and do become addicted to gambling. I mean we’ve all read stories about celebs gambling hardcore like Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley and John Daly. I’m a hockey fan so the latest gossip there is very hardcore. NHL hockey player Evander Kane went bankrupt recently with rumours he lost it all to casinos. His soon to be ex wife shared on Instagram allegations he bet on his own hockey games. He is not even halfway done his 7 year $49 million USD contract and despite having already earned over $55 million according to capfriendly, he owes over $25 million in debt which is believed due to his gambling.

In the world of gambling whether land based or online, there doesn’t seem to be as much support to address the dark side of the industry. It seems that any pressure that will come for supporting problem gambling will come in the form of excessive regulation to make online gambling more difficult and it will be pressure from the media on why gambling should be banned.

We know that banning gambling probably won’t work so I don’t know if and when we’ll find a happy medium. If we restrict people too much, some will complain their rights are being violated and it will drive more business to unregulated sites. And if we don’t do enough to protect problem gamblers, it will also be the government’s fault for not protecting people and that is what we see when it comes to these insane online gambling industry fines.

When people ask me about my morals in working in the industry I have my standard answer which is if I don’t do this work someone else will. That is this industry is going to do it’s own thing regardless. That said I have lent some help to where I’ve designed the website and parts of the app so that means I won’t be going to hell officially. I’d like to see more companies and people be proactive on this side of the business in addressing problem gambling for the right and wrong reasons. We know what the right reasons are, the wrong reason for doing this will be because if we don’t do this, laws and regulations are going to force this upon us.

So is there anything good about the global iGaming industry?

Well you could say some gambling sites contribute to charity but really as an industry point of view, online gambling is not your typical career choice but a good one financially.

I still don’t think we’ve come close to hitting the peak of how big the industry can get. Online gambling is way more normal for 20 year olds than it was 20 years ago so as time goes on, the demographics will change. Also I think many land based casinos will have their online version to play at to try to recapture some of the perceived market they lost.

Where did the idea of StatsDrone come from?

I’ve managed for a long time and when it came to programs changing links in a shady manner or discreetly closing affiliate programs while remaining open, well I could try to tell as many affiliates about it as possible but it would be impossible to reach everyone. At the time I used an app called Stats Remote which did track your affiliate stats and I felt this would be the perfect opportunity to help educate affiliates where, when and how they were leaking money.

I felt we could do a better job and add more cool features to our app so that is our intention. We start off with an affiliate stats then we aim to build more tools for affiliates to try to make our stuff an essential service.

We are not there yet but we are definitely working towards it.

How will StatsDrone be different from your competitors?

We know we can make a competing app that will make money as there is enough room in the market for a few competitors. We just want to take it to another level. I know what affiliates have to go through when it comes to leaking money, compliance BS and spending too much time on affiliate management and tracking links when some of this stuff can be and should be automated.

I’d like to keep building more tools that will help affiliates save time, save money and earn more money. Don’t we all want that?

So no more affiliate sites?

I’m 100% all in on the b2b space for affiliate marketing and happy to move forward. I felt in working on affiliate sites there wasn’t much for me to learn and I like building and creating things. I don’t see a lot of innovation when it comes to affiliate sites in igaming and we are all doing the same thing day in and day out. For me I found that a bit boring, repetitive and also predictable. I get more of a buzz in building tools and trying anything that is a bit disruptive.

What do you see the future of affiliate marketing as whether in online gambling or other industries?

I personally think we are all using dated technology for both affiliates and affiliate programs and I’d like to change this. I already see a change in new affiliates entering the market and we are probably experiencing another wave of dinosaur affiliates that will get pushed out of the market if they can’t adapt. I kinda want to see some of the tools I am working on help mess things up a bit. That is make it even easier for new affiliates to get into the market whether running a single site or hundreds or thousands.

Connect with me on LinkedIn if you want to see what I’m working on and for future StatsDrone announcements.

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