End Contacting Gambling Affiliates “Junkets”

Posted by admin | Poker Affiliates | Thursday 7 November 2013 1:09 pm

Despite some uncertainty, there is no doubt we are on the cusp of a new frontier for online gambling in the United States. Yes, after years of skepticism, assumptions, and predictions, the U.S. regulated gaming markets are finally coming to fruition.

With this new frontier however is going to come new challenges for operators. Gone are the days of being able to launch marketing campaigns that blanket an entire country, or even multiple countries. Operators will need to make strategic marketing partnerships that ensure they are only targeting specific geographic areas.

As these new U.S. regulated markets continue to emerge, so will the competition amongst operators. Expect to see millions of dollars being initially spent on media buys and traditional marketing efforts. Let’s hit a rewind button back to 2003-2005……. Once again, there will be a lot of “dumb money” spent on marketing by operators trying to outdo each other. The day will arrive however when operators realize the importance and overall efficiency of incorporating affiliate marketing into their efforts.

And to the defense of the existing online operators in the various land based / online operator relationships, most of these guys get it. The problem is, regulators don’t.

What Is a Gambling Affiliate Versus a Gambling Junket Operator?

It concerns me that regulators are for lack of a better term, clueless, when it comes to affiliate marketing. It reminds me of being at a family gathering and having my 60 year old aunt who can barely figure out how to use email ask me, “So what exactly do you do for a living”?

For those not familiar with affiliate marketing, it can be a bit confusing, however it’s not rocket science. Being a gambling affiliate for over ten years, I speak for many in the industry when I say; we would like to STOP being referred to by regulators as “gambling junkets”. The comparison of a gaming affiliate to a gambling junket clearly expresses the need for regulators to be better educated on affiliate marketing.

What Is a Gambling Junket?

Historically gambling junkets have always been a way to bring land based casino players through the door. A junket operator has a list of casino players, and typically very close relationships with these players. A junket operator or “Independent Agent” will charter airlines and book accommodations for multiple customers. A casino junket operator is virtually an independent and remote casino VIP host.

The junket operator and casino typically have a very close relationship. Likewise, the junket operator is privy to each player’s gambling activities. The need for a junket operator to be licensed in these land based U.S. markets makes all the sense in the world. After all, they are chartering buses, planes, and visiting properties with their gambling clients.

What Is a Gambling Affiliate?

We are search engine optimizers, content writers, and web designers. But most importantly, we are Internet marketers who specialize in attracting visitors to our websites.

Through our skill sets we are able to effectively drive targeted traffic to our websites. We then present readers with useful content and information. The way we monetize our websites is through advertising. Whether it be putting up banner ads or perhaps writing online reviews, our goal is to get our traffic to click on our links, visit a gambling site, and become a customer. In return we will receive a CPA (Cost Per Acquisition) commission in the regulated U.S. market.

We have no relationships with our traffic or visitors, nor do we have any idea who these people even are. As affiliates, we promote online gambling destinations the same as we would if we were affiliates at Hotels.com promoting the Marriot in New Jersey. Given that analogy, should Hotels.com affiliates be required to get Hospitality licenses? Should affiliates who promote anything edible have to get licensure through the FDA?

Gaming affiliates simply just want to send new customers and earn commissions for our efforts. We have no personal relationships or knowledge of our referrals; the same as a highway billboard owner has no idea what traffic actually visits whom they are advertising.

So to any of the regulators reading this, does the definition of a gaming affiliate sound like a “gambling junket”?

For years, online gaming operators from around the globe have consistently relied on affiliate marketers to deliver traffic to their websites. In fact, many of the largest operators (some entering the New Jersey market) boast that upwards of 30% of their traffic is delivered via affiliate marketers.

Regulators must understand that marketing in the world of online gaming is far different than that of a land based operation. Requiring individual affiliate marketers to apply for and receive some sort of permit, license, or ancillary service provider certificate is going to fail miserably and result in fewer players, and thus less tax revenue to their state.

Bottom line, most gambling affiliates could care less about “gambling”, we simply are Internet marketers with virtual billboards on our websites, or content that directs unknown traffic to other websites.

Jeremy Enke is an industry veteran most well known for his publications as well as his industry accomplishments. Jeremy also leads the community at Poker Affiliate Listings. Jeremy is a contributing author at the PokerAffiliateSolutions.com blog and writes about news and commentary affecting both poker affiliates and gambling operators.

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