While the sports betting world is one of the fastest moving gambling sectors out there, all the indications point to the market for sports betting affiliates retaining its strength in 2017, as an increasing number of betting providers switch on to the benefits.
The principle of reward for a minimal investment continues to ring true – by devoting a small amount of space on a sports betting site to partners, providers are able to build partnerships by referring their customers to a platform from which they take some of the cuts. But what can we expect in the sports betting affiliates landscape moving into 2017, and what are some of the key events that promise to shape the developments and trends as we progress?
From what we have seen in 2016, it looks as though licensing and the individual legal characteristics of countries around Europe will continue to have a massive bearing on the moves that the major players in the market make. Take the Czech Republic, for example. The new Gambling Act which is scheduled to come in on January 1 means that online sports betting companies and their affiliates that do not hold a specific Czech licence will not be permitted to do business online within the Eastern European country. This has already had the consequences of an official withdrawal from the market by one of the leading betting companies, and its affiliates, in anticipation of the Act coming into play.
What do scenarios like this mean in real terms to the sports betting affiliates? Any site which holds an advert for the said betting provider displayed on the net in the Czech Republic is now required to take it down. Meanwhile, from a punter’s perspective, members with accounts for the unlicensed provider in the country will be required to withdraw the funds from their balances.
So how will it all play out? It seems that native sports betting affiliates could come up trumps over the global powers in some cases. That’s because in many countries the new licensing laws are designed to give an opportunity to more locally based betting providers and their affiliates, with licences more likely to be handed to betting providers with a strong presence in the country, rather than those with a more multinational profile.
Looking at the Czech model, it is also possible that sports betting itself as a gambling type could be required to have its own ‘product licence’ – issued by the government to the licensed betting provider – in order for it to be approved as an option for customers.
Some view these developments as a blatant affront to a basic free market, and we have already seen groups such as ‘Anonymous’ fight back against this perceived censorship by hacking government websites. Let’s hope that in 2017 all sides can come to an agreement which benefits countries’ native industries, while also giving a fair opportunity to the wider sports betting affiliates market.
Looking at the events calendar, there are plenty of dates for the diary in 2017 on which the industry and affiliates will gather to discuss and debate issues such as the one detailed above. SiGMA – the Summit of iGaming Malta – will take place again in Malta. While 2017’s dates are yet to be confirmed, the event promises to be a ‘must attend’ for affiliates, as well as racing and sports betting representatives. Those present can expect an unrivalled speaker programme which seeks to pin down the key issues the sector is facing, producing some valuable take-aways and insights.
Betting on Football 2017 lands at the home ground of Chelsea Football Club, Stamford Bridge, from May 3 – 4. Taking up the Drake and Harris Suites, as well as the Great Hall at the ground, the event will give a platform to no less than 90 speakers drawn from a wide cross section of the industry, as well as displays from 30 exhibitors, which will be seen by delegate numbers anticipated to exceed 600. A doubling of the seminar sessions into two venues will give sports betting affiliates in attendance the chance to see more of the topics that matter to them discussed. There are also dedicated meeting rooms and roundtable discussions that are being lined up, while affiliates can check out the latest products on the industry’s conveyor belt in ‘Pitch Invasion’; a new stage exclusively for product pitching.
Judging by the affiliates that have performed the best in 2016, 2017 will be a year in which social media driven campaigns, innovative promotions and punter friendly resources such as tips continue to characterise marketing activities. Affiliate brands which are able to build a strong social media community are best placed to take advantage of their online exposure.
It really all comes down to providing value to punters – a principle that we see is effective in many customer facing industries. Our own Betting Gods affiliate system – which is a membership based operator site with both a rev share and CPL model – provides sports betting content, previews and tips. It is one of the best ways to actually engage a potential customer base, rather than simply ply them with betting information, and can lead to greater brand loyalty and participation. It is something we work a lot on at Betting Gods, and we strongly believe that sports betting affiliates which can provide punters with that ‘something extra’, will lead the way in 2017.
Streaming links is another area which sports betting affiliates dipped their toe into in 2016, and we could see more of the same in 2017. Providing customers with the means to watch the sports event they might like to wager on offers a different dimension when it comes to the overall betting experience. It is also a way to grow brand recognition through the provision of something the majority of sports fans are after – live action!
As another scintillating sporting calendar awaits us in 2017, including the athletics world championships and cricket’s Ashes series, sports betting affiliates will have ample opportunities to grow their share of the market, providing they can overcome emerging legal hurdles and utilise the many marketing avenues which are now available to them. So here’s to a prosperous 12 months for the sport betting affiliate market!