Joonas Karhu, Chief Business Officer at Bojoko.com, argues that the North American iGaming market has just as much potential as sports betting, and affiliates should look to leverage it
Legal online and mobile sports betting has dominated the headlines ever since PASPA was repealed back in May 2018. Since then, operators, suppliers, affiliates and other stakeholders have been laser focussed on the opportunity that legal sports betting presents.
And what an opportunity it is; market size estimates are as high as $95bn by 2025 and most industry insiders, quite rightly, believe North America will be the largest legal retail, online and mobile betting market in the world over the next five to ten years.
But focussing attention and diverting all resources towards sports betting means that operators, suppliers and affiliates are missing a trick. In most regulated states that have legalised both sports and casino, it is the latter driving revenues and not the former.
For example, in Michigan in February, the state’s 11 online casinos tallied gross receipts of $75.2m while mobile sports betting tallied gross receipts of $9.5m leading to a loss of $10.8m.
Consumer interest in – and demand for – online casino is just as great as online sports betting and affiliates should be looking to leverage the nascent nature of the market to establish themselves stateside and build trust among casino players.
The US market presents some interesting challenges in that regard. That online gambling was illegal in most states from many years means consumers need educating that online casino is legal in their state; they also need assistance in finding legal online casinos in their state.
Of course, this is easier said than done. Below, I discuss the role affiliates can play when it comes to educating players and share some of the steps Bojoko has taken to ensure that we position ourselves as being honest, trustworthy and transparent.
Content written by experts:
Affiliates must create informational content written by online gambling experts. While it is important to create content around different types of casino, payment options and bonuses, educational content is also a must.
This needs to cover topics such as the rules and regulations in place in each state, as well as guides to how to sign up to an online casino, the various banking options available as well as bonus offers and things like terms and conditions and wagering requirements.
By having experts write this content, players can be certain the information they are reading is accurate and that it has been written by people that have a comprehensive understanding of the industry. This in turn will foster incredible trust between
Push responsible gambling and safe gaming:
Bojoko has prioritised responsible gambling and safe gaming from its inception and we believe it is important to take the exact same approach in the USA, even though the rules affiliates are required to play by are not as stringent as those in markets such as the UK.
This means showing the terms and conditions attached to bonus offers, ensuring an ad disclosure is placed on each page, working with gambling addiction charities and making players aware of the various tools available to help them stay in control of their play. You can see US examples on Bojoko’s site here.
Operators, suppliers and affiliates must realise that they are in a strong position to ensure they get responsible gambling right from the start and avoid situations like we are seeing in the UK where there are on-going regulatory changes and clampdowns.
Work with recognised and reputable brands:
One of the biggest challenges operators face in the regulated US market is drawing players away from unlicensed sites, many of which have been accepting players for years. Regulators are taking steps to shut these sites down, but this will take time.
Affiliates can help the situation by only working with brands that are licensed in each state – this is actually a licence requirement for the affiliate. They should also look to work with a range of brands, both land-based and online only.
This will help build trust with players as they will see retail brands they are familiar with and also new brands they haven’t tried before.
Community generated ratings and reviews:
In established markets, players are savvy and know that affiliates often “review” online casinos only to give those offering the best commercials that highest scores and placements across their sites. US players might not be aware of this, but that doesn’t mean affiliates should use this model.
At Bojoko, we allow online casinos to create a dedicated listing page which our 30,000+ members that rate and review based on the experience they receive. In addition, we have a team of independent online casino experts that test and review each casino.
This double layer means that players can get an accurate, true idea of what experience they can expect to receive at each brand before they sign up, deposit and play. It also means that we do not influence their decision in any way and remain impartial.
We believe our model will prove to be hugely popular in the US market – as it has in the UK – and will allow us to quickly build trust and loyalty among players in New Jersey and the other states we will launch into over the coming months and years.
Online casino is set to be huge in America and affiliates can play a significant role in helping to unlock the true value of the market. Educating players and building trust will be key, but by taking the steps discussed above this can be achieved.
And while all eyes are on sports betting, smart affiliates will make their play in the online casino market and maximise the first mover advantage.
SiGMA Roadshow – Next stop Las Vegas:
After our successful roadshow in Ukraine -The SiGMA Roadshow’s next stop is Las Vegas
Our Virtual Roadshow reflects SiGMA’s global events opening in 5 major regions over the next few years, specifically Europe, the CIS region, Asia, the Americas and Africa. Our previous virtual event, held in Ukraine, welcomed over 2,500 delegate registrations and over 1,500 conference views. There were also over 75 exhibitors and the number of total booth entries hit close to a 6k mark. Join us for our next Virtual Roadshow to learn more about the US gaming market!