How an Affiliate Can Become a Successful Operator

How an Affiliate Can Become a Successful Operator

Can affiliates 'pivot' into operating? They have the traffic and the marketing expertise? But what more do they need? SoftSwiss' Ivan Montik explores the potential.

IGaming is a huge industry which connects many shareholders, from players and operators to jurisdictional authorities and financial institutions. As lucrative as it may seem (it is ca.50 bln dollar market after all), iGaming does not promise successful operation and high profits to every start up. It is highly competitive (several giants and a lot of smaller companies are in a strong position), heavily dependent on external factors such as governmental regulation (changes in legislation can boost your business or ruin all efforts), and requires a lot of strategic planning and marketing investments (quite a number of gaming start ups fail because of no proper marketing strategy). The desire to succeed is always good but not enough. Experience and profound knowledge of the industry with all its obstacles and bottlenecks are more important in building a strong new business. 

If there are people besides experienced operators who know iGaming really well, they are the affiliates. Affiliate marketing is part and parcel of the whole internet business today, but it is particularly well-developed in the online casino branch. Since many traditional means of promotion are unavailable to online casinos due to rigid regulation, affiliates are playing a great role in a casino promotion strategy and the really good ones make good profits. For bringing direct traffic to a casino, they either get a fixed payment for every player or a certain percentage from the casino revenue, which may go up to 50%. Many successful affiliates who have reached a certain level of profit and established a good reputation in the iGaming world realize that it’s time to try fortune and start their own casino business.  
It is hardly possible to find better candidates because affiliates know almost everything about iGaming, and most importantly, they know how to market it. These are the reasons why affiliates become great operators: 

1. Profound knowledge of the industry. Affiliates always have up-to-date information on all aspects of iGaming. Most of the affiliate websites are devoted to gambling. By supplying potential players with useful information, they learn all ins and outs of the business and get a perfect understanding of the industry which they can use for starting their own business.

2. Knowing player preferences. Affiliate sites often provide various rankings and see which casinos and casino games are more popular among users. With this information at hand, they can design their own casino in the most appropriate way, offer adequate bonuses, provide the best selection of games and make sure that all facets of the website will fully meet expectations of the potential players.

3. Good reputation on the market. Quality affiliate websites are very popular among players. Owners of such sites are also known to users thanks to live streaming or blogs they are doing. If players trust the affiliates, they will most probably join the casino the affiliate will start.

4. Established relationship with operators and other market shareholders. Casino operators and affiliates are usually best friends as they both strive to build a mutually beneficial partnership. An affiliate can profit from the operator’s experience and knowledge and even while creating competition, hope for certain support. Through the operator, an affiliate can get in contact with an online casino software provider, payment system providers, jurisdictional authorities,etc.

5. Perfect knowledge of marketing, SEO and promotion techniques. The last but not the least, affiliates know everything about online casino marketing. They are top-class professionals in search engine optimisation and know how to reach top positions in Google by providing fresh and relevant content, link building, paid advertisements, etc. If they make their living by promoting other operators’ websites, they’ll definitely succeed in promoting their own casino.

With all of the above success factors in place, an affiliate can start his way as an operator in the iGaming business. The marketing strategy is probably ready and that’s not a small part, but before it comes to promotion, there are several important steps to make.  

1. Choose software provider. Having the right software platform on which your online casino will be based is vital. Besides such key things as security, stable performance, advanced user management, simple and convenient administration, the affiliate who becomes an operator would probably pay special attention to the affiliate module of the platform and whether it meets their own preferences. Make sure the software also has an advanced bonus system and all necessary tools to enable an effective player retention strategy. All in all, it is advisable to partner with an established software provider with track record in the industry and a number of successful casino brands in the market. 

2. Provide game content. Due to the advanced knowledge of player preferences, affiliates usually have a good understanding of what games are played most and should be present in the casino. While it is possible to contact each game provider personally and make separate contacts with each (the whole process may take up to 6 months), it is wiser to get the whole package from one single game aggregator. There are software providers who offer such solutions to provide casino operators with one step access to a large number of games from numerous game developers.

3. Think about legal issues. Online casino business is subject to licensing. There are different jurisdictions that issue online gaming licenses, most popular of which are UK, Malta, Curacao and Isle of Man. License application process is lengthy and might be tricky for those who do it for the first time, so many operators give preference to White Label solutions. With White Label Solution, a casino officially operates under the software provider’s license and avoids the legal hassle of obtaining their own one.  

4. Decide upon the financial scheme. Just as with the license, you may consider creating your own independent financial infrastructure. This implies opening merchant accounts with payment system providers to process deposits and withdrawals. The process is again quite time-consuming and the solution which helps shorten the time to market of an online casino is White Label. Besides taking care of the legal aspects, it also provides a ready-to-use financial infrastructure for quick and smooth payment handling.

When the affiliate goes through the whole process of launching the website and all legal and financial matters are taken care of by professionals, he can officially call himself a casino operator. It is the right time to show the best of what you can - marketing.  

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