Gambling affiliate programs enable webmasters to monetize their traffic, by providing leads and customers to iGaming companies.
What is a casino or gambling affiliate program?
Affiliate programs, (or associate programs) are arrangements in which an online merchant (for example an online sportsbook, casino, poker site, or bingo-room) pays an affiliate a commission, based on the value of the traffic and customers they send.
There are at least three parties involved in an affiliate program transaction:
- The customer
- The affiliate (website owner)
- The merchant / service provider
in iGaming, there are various types of affiliate programs available, including casino affiliate programs, bingo affiliate programs, sport-betting/sportsbook affiliate programs, programs for poker rooms, and even esports affiliate programs.
How does a gambling affiliate program work?
The affiliate refers potential customers to the merchant, whose job it is to convert the lead into a paying customer. The merchant will then pay the affiliate according to the terms of the affiliate agreement, based on the (revenue-related) behavior of the referred customers.
How do I get paid from an affiliate program?
Gambling affiliate programs terms and conditions vary widely, however commissions and remunerations generally come in the following forms:
- CPA – “Cost per acquisition” – The affiliate gets paid a specific pre-arranged flat fee when their referred traffic converts to a depositing customer who performs a specific minimum action (e.g. they may have to wager $50 in the span of three months at the sportsbook to count as “acquired”, or perhaps they will be required to deposit and play at least $50 on slots to count as a “conversion”)
- CPL – Cost per lead – a payment when a referred customer registers and verifies a new player account
- Revenue Share – Affiliates receive a fixed percentage of the net revenue gained by the merchant from each referred customer during a specific time-frame (usually one calendar month). For example, if the customer you referred to an operator yields a net profit of $10,000, you will get $2,500 as commission. Some operators claim to offer “lifetime rev-share”, only to subsequently retroactively change their terms. Due diligence on the part of affiliates is important, in order to avoid costly encounters with what can only be described as “predatory affiliate programs”, based on this behavior.
- Hybrid affiliate deal – A combination of a CPA and revenue-share. This set up can be useful for smaller, cash-strapped affiliates.
Do I need to have a license to be a gambling affiliate ?
In most of the world, affiliates don’t need to receive a license, however in U.S states such as Indiana, Pennsylvania, Washington DC, New Jersey and Illinois there is a specific licensing regime for media affiliates.
As to the licensing requirements and procedures, these vary widely between states. Indiana for example has a simple and fast track licensing regime, as you can earn your license within 30 days from application. Pennsylvania on the other hand, can be seen as having an intermediate licensing regime in place, while the licensing regime of Washington DC, New Jersey and Illinois are quite complex.
The core requirements in most U.S jurisdictions includes setting up a company in the United States, providing declarations (signed in front of a US consular officer), set of and fingerprints of each shareholder and officer of the company applying for a license.
Some states will require the affiliate media applicant to provide a letter of intent from a local operator. Others, require applicants to obtain a local business registration license as an eligibility condition even apply with the local gaming / betting / sports betting regulatory agency.
Application fees for an affiliate license in the U.S vary widely with Indiana’s application costing at $500, while fees of $2,000-2,500 are required in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The highest affiliate application fees are ~ $10,000 in Washington DC and Illinois.
Are there cryptocurrency gambling affiliate programs?
Yes – in fact some online casinos are crypto-currency only for deposits and withdrawals. In regulated markets, crypto-gambling is generally not available to consumers unless they gamble with offshore providers which are not subject to financial restrictions which stop gambling operators accepting crypto payments.
Some affiliate programs pay out in Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and other popular cryptocurrencies.
How do I choose a reputable gambling affiliate program?
A reputable gambling company affiliate program has the following attributes (at bare minimum):
- Timely Payments
- Data Transparency
- No retroactive terms & conditions changes
- Good Communications
- Real-time Reporting Tools
- Postback Tracking
- An API
- Easily contactable affiliate representatives
Diligent affiliates can check programs are not listed on casino affiliate program blacklists, and can also find out from other affiliates if operators are truly trustworthy.
Which are the gambling and casino affiliate programs to avoid?
We don’t recommend working with any of the following companies and brand affiliate programs for a number of reasons – starting with one-sided, meaningless contracts, and in some cases having a history of retroactive T&C changes.
- Entain (PartyCasino, Gala Bingo, Gala Casino, Gala Spins, Foxy Games, Foxy Bingo, bwin, Coral, Crystalbet, Eurobet, Ladbrokes, Neds International, Laimz, Ninja Casino, Optibet, Casino King, Gioco Digitale, CasinoClub, Party Poker)
- Flutter (PokerStars, PokerStars Sports, PokerStars Casino, Full Tilt, Skybet)
- Kindred Group (32Red, Bingo.com, Bohemia Casino, Huone, iGame, Kolikkopelit, Maria Casino, Maria Bingo, Roxy Palace, Unibet, VladCazino)
- Betfair / Paddy Power
- Leo Vegas Group (LeoVegas)
- Caesars Entertainment (William Hill)
How do predatory affiliate programs scam their customers?
Rogue affiliate programs have numerous ways to make your revenues, or even your account disappear!
- Retroactive term & conditions changes to “contracts” which a merchant can update to suit themselves at any time – and which affiliates must accept [no matter how ridiculous] or lose all of their income from the supposed partnership
- New player quotas
- Arbitrary or nebulous terms – e.g. affiliate partner must be working “hard enough” (define:nebulous?) according to the partner otherwise – account can be terminated
- Cookie duration changes – reduction => less conversions tracked to the affiliate, more $ for the operator
- Brand cross-selling – where casino X mails your referred players and gets them to play on their casino Y – without tagging them to you – the referring affiliate
- Skimming – where the brand doesn’t attribute your referred players to you.
- Re-tagging – where the brand de-tags or re-tags your referred players – removing them from your affiliate account