If you’re a passionate gambler, the majority of your attention in terms of cashing in online is doubtless focused on your online casino game or games of choice. There is, however, another way of making money online through a love of casino games – becoming a casino affiliate.
The good news is that this is an option open to virtually all. To get up and running as a casino affiliate, though, you’ll need to do a little research before you dive into a particular affiliate program. There are thousands of such offers online and picking the right affiliate solution for your needs can be tricky. In this article, we’ll give you all the information you need to make a profitable choice and enjoy income from it for many years to come.
Let’s start with some general background.
The job of a casino affiliate is to drive traffic to a particular site where the casino owner will then hope to convert that interest into paying customers. The online casino market is incredibly competitive and, in addition to competing in terms of games provided from major software manufacturers and the range of payment options available, online casinos are happy to use affiliates to drive traffic to their promotions. You’ll be rewarded in a variety of ways depending on both how many people you can send to a particular casino and how many specific actions they take.
In order to really profit from this, you’ll naturally need some sort of existing audience of your own but it by no means has to be a huge one. The amounts on offer for sending traffic that converts mean that even small amounts of traffic can be successfully monetised.
In order to help you entice users to visit the particular sites you’re promoting, you’ll be given a range of attractively put together affiliate material such as banners, videos, live games offers and special bonus text links that you can place on your site.
Obviously, casinos need a way of tracking what’s happening once users take an action on your site that leads to a potential action on theirs. Each affiliate program will use some sort of tracking to ensure they have a clear picture of exactly what’s happening at all stages of the conversion funnel – generally via a combination of cookies and tracking scripts.
For each player you refer, you’ll earn a percentage of their net game play over the course of their account lifetime. The amounts on offer vary but you can expect to earn between 20% and 50% of the profits the casino makes from the referred player. When you think about the amount of money being wagered every day on sites across the world, there’s a considerable amount of money on offer here, and much of it could be going into your pockets in the form of recurring revenue – it’s a truly attractive proposition.
Let’s move on to looking at different types of affiliate programs on offer.
The amount of earnings you can generate as an online casino affiliate varies from casino to casino and promotion to promotion. It will depend upon a variety of factors including the casino games on offer, the amount of players referred and how many actually convert. Typical earnings per affiliate can range from a few hundred dollars a month up into genuinely large amounts totalling tens of thousands of dollars per month. Here’s a quick list of the main types of programs you’ll come across:
- Revenue share: The revenue share model is an ongoing partnership in which the affiliate gets a percentage of all the revenue that the casino makes, and the revenue is for the lifetime of the player’s account. You can expect to earn 20% to 60% of the overall profit the casino makes using this model.
- Cost per action: Cost per action (or CPA as you’ll see it referred to) is a more limited and targeted option where the affiliate receives a flat fee for each real money player that they refer. To take a standard scenario, if a player visits your site, clicks through your affiliate link to visit a casino, then signs up and makes a deposit, you’ll receive a flat fee regardless of what that player goes on to win or lose. The plus side is you’re getting a known, fixed fee up front. The down side is you lose out on the possibility of further profits from that referred player.
- Hybrid model: The hybrid model is simply a combination of the two above where you get an instant payment upon account sign-up and then a cut of ongoing profits over time.
Whether you’ve got an existing site or you’re starting from scratch, there are a number of key factors you need to pay attention to in order to profit as an affiliate. Here are some of the most important ones:
- Make it responsive: The majority of online traffic these days is actually going over mobile rather than desktop so your site simply has to be responsive to make money. To attract the widest possible audience it needs to display perfectly on devices of all sizes and be free of any irritating bugs or glitches.
- Pay close attention to design: Appealing graphic design isn’t just a question of providing snazzy visuals, it’s also a courtesy to the user and helps build a loyal audience over time. Your site should use crisp, clear typography, a sensible layout and easy to navigate hierarchy.
- Invest in content: Content is very much king these days. While a nicely implemented responsive design will stop people instantly clicking away from your site, killer content will keep them there and eager to come back for more. You should be looking to provide a mix of breaking and current news along with evergreen content that will hold value for users over the long term.
- Make it SEO friendly: Having the best site in the world is no use unless people can actually find it easily online. You’ll need to pay close attention to both on-page SEO factors and off-page SEO factors to make sure you have the best possible chance of search engines ranking your content highly. Link building, keyword research, and ongoing content creation will also be critically important here. Whether you intend performing SEO optimization yourself or not, it’s crucial that you understand the basics in order to be able assess the work of others.
To really profit from being an online casino affiliate, you will inevitably have to make some investments to get the ball rolling. Here’s a quick breakdown of the main areas you’ll need to spend money:
- Site building: Cost will vary considerably here depending on how much custom work you need done. At a minimum, you’ll need a domain for your website and then need to look at picking a content management system. Prices can range from under $20 per month for pre-made WordPress or Squarespace themes all the way up to many thousands for totally custom design and development.
- SEO work: Again, you’ll have both fixed and variable costs to consider here. First of all you’ll need to make sure your site is sound on a technical SEO level. You’ll then need to invest in ongoing content creation, keyword research and link building to promote. You can use sites such as Moz to point you in the right direction on SEO basics.
- Advertising: There’s a huge range of advertising options to choose from when it comes to promoting your site. Options such as Facebook Ads, Adwords and others give you an easy way of addressing incredibly specifically targeted groups of people. You’ll need to pay close attention to conversion rates in order to make sure you’re actually getting a measurable return on your investment before really pulling the trigger in terms of larger budgets.
Becoming an online affiliate is a potentially lucrative string to add to your bow but there are risk factors involved that you should be aware of. Here are some of the more obvious ones:
- SEO penalties: Be careful that you’re pursuing SEO tactics that won’t lead to the risk of a Google penalty. You might profit short-term from shady tactics but the long-term effects can be disastrous.
- Legal: The legal situation regarding online gambling varies wildly from country to country and even within states in certain countries. It’s your obligation as a responsible site owner to be sure you’re operating within the constraints of relevant laws in your locale.
- Operator fraud: The vast majority of online casinos will be working with reputable affiliate agencies and will pay out on time, every time. There are, however, still rogue operators out there who are happy to take your traffic and fail to pay up on the other side. Be certain you do your due diligence and check for warning signs of payment trouble before you sign up to a particular affiliate offer.
Done correctly, becoming an online casino affiliate is an incredibly effective way of turning your existing passion into profit. We’ll finish up with three of the main benefits of being an online casino affiliate.
- It’s relatively easy: Becoming an affiliate will certainly take some hard work along the way but, compared to providing a full-blown service or product offering of your own, it’s a substantially easier way of unlocking value and putting money in your own pocket.
- Small upfront investment required: While you could certainly spend thousands on getting up and running with an affiliate website, the reality is that you could put together an initial version of your site for well under $200 if you’re prepared to invest some sweat equity yourself. You can be earning from within the first two months and then look at reinvesting those profits back into the business.
- Low overall risk: Though we outlined some of the risk factors above, the reality is that they are substantially smaller than actually operating your own casino, running a white-label casino, or running many other businesses. As an online casino affiliate, you’re essentially acting as outsourced marketing for an established business which is a relatively low-risk proposition.
If you’ve got the ability to attract and engage your own audience, becoming an online casino affiliate is an excellent way of monetising your site and putting some extra dollars in your pocket. If you decide to commit to the affiliate path whole-heartedly, it can even become a lucrative and low-stress form of full-time income.
Dip a toe in the affiliate waters today and start experimenting yourself to get a feel for the scale of opportunity that’s on offer!
Check out our selection of online casino affiliate programs