If others shut down affiliate programme then main revenue streams could be hit
Affiliates are third-party companies who work on commission for gambling retailers by directing traffic (customers) to their sites. In the last few years the use of affiliate companies has vastly increased due to the tighter regulation and rising cost of traditional advertising. A 2015 study by the (Interactive Advertising Bureau) estimates that over £16.5bn worth of sales were the result of this performance based marketing.
In the online world the use of affiliate marketing is also fairly commonplace. The online casino/gambling market is highly competitive with many retailers to choose from. Affiliates are employed to increase exposure and to gain new customers. For example: if customer X wants to play online blackjack how will they choose where to play? Perhaps they might ask their Facebook friends, or click on the first link they find. Maybe just like with their holidays on they will read a review. offer customer all the information they need about popular casino games, bonuses offered and features of any given online casino on their site. Once they are happy with their chosen online casino they will go and play online blackjack. As the review site generated that sale, they will receive payment from the online casino. This is affiliate marketing in action.
Of course customer care could be cited as a cause of concern. Speaking on the service they provide top online casino review site Casinos.co say “We continually carry out extensive research with each of the online casinos we promote and are 100% and regularly update our casino reviews to ensure they are up to date in terms of bonuses, wagering amounts and terms & conditions. ”
So what caused Sky Bet to abandon their affiliates?
Late last year the UK’s (ICO) launched an investigation into affiliate practices. The investigation was prompted after the (ICO) received complaints about gambling related spam text messages. Following the investigation chief executive of the United Kingdom’s Gambling Commission stated that gambling retailers would be held wholly accountable for their affiliates actions. On abandoning their affiliate programme, a Sky Bet spokesperson has said “Sky Betting & Gaming has decided to close its UK affiliate programme. This difficult decision has been taken to give us more control of our marketing outputs and standards to ensure we can continue to meet the changing regulatory requirements in our sector.”
Sky Bet are hoping to cease all UK affiliate activities this month.
Post affiliate Sky Bet will be left in a market full of advertising restrictions. Many of these restrictions can be found in the (LLCP) laid out by the UKGC . While their affiliate activities have been halted some of the advertising avenues left are sponsorships, video advertisements and social media activities. All of which are heavily regulated and are mostly likely under the microscope. However not all of Sky Bet’s gaming brands will be affected by the decision most notably Oddschecker (Odds comparison site).
For the affiliate companies involved with Sky Bet it will also be an unsettling time. Not only will they be saying goodbye to a lucrative revenue stream but they will also be closely monitored. Following Sky Bet’s announcement many other UK bookmakers have outlined their intentions in regards to affiliates. While no other bookmaker has stopped affiliate marketing it is certainly a watch this space situation.