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Seven Tips for Choosing an Online Gaming Affiliate Program : Updated May 2016
Players are flocking in record numbers to online bingo halls, casinos, poker rooms, and sports books - although the growth is slower than expected. Morgan Stanley predicts that online gaming revenue in the United States alone will reach $2.7 billion by 2020, down from a $5 billion initial estimate a few years ago.. Online gaming affiliate programs (OGAPs) allow you to earn income for bringing players to the affiliate program's gaming sites. As the owner and builder of the Online Casino Gambling Directory, I am currently a member of dozens of such programs, and this article reflects the lessons that I have learned.

Here are my tips to follow when selecting an online gaming affiliate program. At the end of this article, you'll find the best affiliate programs where I think you should begin your OGAP membership.

1. Select a trustworthy program

Make sure that the program that you select rewards you for the hard work that you are going to do to promote their gaming sites! Focus on two areas: making sure that clicks are tracked from your site to the gaming site, and making sure that you get paid on time. Some programs are known to have, or to have had, problems with one or both of these areas. Be sure to do your research by reading up on the affiliate program forums before you sign up.

2. Select a program that promotes a quality gaming platform

There are over a dozen gaming platforms that provide online gaming sites with their bingo, casino, and poker games. Add to this the sports book platforms, and there are even more platforms to choose from. However, not all gaming platforms are created equally. The top platforms, based on game popularity, history in the industry, and recognition from trustworthy sources are Microgaming, Realtime Gaming, Playtech, Rival Gaming, and BetOnSoft.

Start your venture into the OGAP space with programs that promote these gaming platforms.

3. Select a program that promotes more than one gaming property

It takes a fair amount of time to research, apply to, and be accepted by an OGAP. To maximize your return on your time investment, select an OGAP that promotes at least three (if not more) online gaming sites; and if you are just starting out, avoid OGAPs that promote a single property. This way, you can sign up once, and then be able to promote many sites.

4. Select a program that promotes more than one type of game

To achieve some measure of breadth in the types of sites that you promote, select an OGAP that promotes both casinos and poker rooms, or poker rooms and sports books, or bingo halls and casinos. (Some OGAPs promote all four types of games -- bingo halls, casinos, poker rooms, and sports books -- but these are rare!). Just like in selecting a stock portfolio, look to diversify the portfolio of gaming sites that you promote to be sure that you'll have something that appeals to each visitor that comes to your site.

5. Select a program that provides fresh, quality marketing materials

Any decent OGAP provides a variety of banners for you to use. But the best OGAPs also provide short and long descriptions of the sites that they promote, banners in all kinds of sizes, text and HTML versions of ready-to-mail mailers, and site reviews -- all of which are updated on a regular basis. Before you select an OGAP, review its marketing materials to ensure that it provides regularly-refreshed, quality materials across these categories.

6. Select a program that provides a flexible revenue model

In general, there are three revenue models:

  • Cost-per-acquisition model - Also called a cost-per-player model, you earn a fixed amount when a player that you refer makes a minimum deposit. Depending on the program and the type of site, the amount that you earn can be anywhere from $5 to $50 (or more) per depositing player. This is the safest model since you earn money just for bringing players to the site, and have no vesting interest in the outcome of their wagering.
  • Revenue-share model - In this model, you earn income when a player makes a deposit, wagers, and loses. Losses are generally aggregated across all of your players in a single OGAP, with players' wins offset by other players' losses. Depending on the program and the type of site, the percent of your players' net losses that you earn can be anywhere from 10% to 50%, with 25% being about average. This is the riskiest model since a single large win by one of your players can wipe out all of your other players' losses.
  • Hybrid model - With hybrid models, you earn a fixed amount when a player makes a minimum deposit, and a percent of your players' net losses. The fixed amount and the percentage that you earn is lower than you would earn in either the cost-per-acquisition model or the revenue-share model, but this model ensures that you will at least earn some income for each new depositing player that you bring to a site.

Choose an OGAP that enables you to choose your revenue model to best suit your needs and your tolerance for risk.

7. If you select a revenue-sharing model, select a program with no negative carry-over from month to month

OGAPs generally work on a month-to-month schedule. At the end of the month, your players' net loss/win is calculated. If it is a net loss, then you will earn a percentage of that loss. If it is a net win, then you earn nothing -- but make sure that this amount is NOT carried over to next month so you can start fresh! (Recent update: This tip applies to wagers placed at casinos and does not apply to wagers placed at sports books; it is typical that sports books wagers are carried over from month-to-month.).


Here are my OGAP recommendations -- these are my "Best Bets". These programs fit most, if not all, of the criteria that I've outlined in this article. Sign up at just these few programs -- and you'll be able to promote bingo halls, online casinos, poker rooms, and sports books!

Best of luck!

I welcome your feedback on this article. Let me know what you think!

Some recent feedback I've received:

"Awesome stuff. Great advice. I'm making money already based on your recommendations in this article." -- Shannon F.

"Great article, Robert. Thanks for the tips! I've already generated some new players (and income) through these affiliate programs." -- Tom S.

"Wow. What a simple, straightforward article with good advice." -- Sherri A.

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