The global impacts of the current health crisis has had far reaching consequences across a multitude of global industries, with betting and gaming embracing working from home as well as the uptake of digital conferences.
One such virtual entity gets underway this month as CasinoBeats Malta Digital gets set to host 120 high-level speakers on the new event dates of June 30 to July 2.
Participating as part of the transformed event is Ian Sims, founder of Rightlander.com, whose place on the conference’s final day as part of ‘Affiliates – Compliance Minefield’ is to look at the continually changing challenges faced by modern igaming affiliates.
“Everyone knows that regulation and M&A have shaken up the space and I see the two real challenges being born out of those,” Sims says of the aforementioned quandary.
“If I was still an affiliate, I’d be most bothered about finding ways to innovate and produce something original but I’d also be worried about how other affiliate’s ignorance of compliant marketing might result in me losing revenue when an affiliate program is shut down, they cull affiliates, the operator leaves the UK market or closes the brand. Or worse, they lose their licence.
“There’s little you can do to stop the latter except hope that the operators find the bad content before the regulators but you can mitigate the harm by spreading the risk. It’s always been important to spread your players around or else there will come a time when you wake up to some bad news but it is more important than ever right now.
“Data is one core asset but there are other ways to be innovative”
“As far as innovation goes, that’s where the long term prosperity is. The days of boiler plate content, promoting bonuses and giving wonderful reviews about wonderful casinos with wonderful games and and a wonderful customer service are fading fast.
“Looking around, I’ve seen some great examples of new ideas: Slots Catalog was one I loved, the clever tote-inspired esports platform Puntt is another and sites like Blexr’s Slots Comparer offer originality for players. Data is one core asset but there are other ways to be innovative if an affiliate is actually prepared to sit down and think about it. Being a gambler should help here: think like a player.”
Before moving to to offer insight into what affiliates can do to ensure compliance and prosperity: “Innovation I have covered above but compliance is a whole different ball game. In fact, you can combine the two quite nicely with a ‘Trip Advisor’ approach to marketing. Everyone wants honest, balanced opinions but historically they have rarely got that from marketing folk.
“One of the biggest issues is that many affiliates employ content writers to deliver content and while you’d hope those writers would be gamblers but even if they are, that doesn’t mean they understand vulnerable gamblers nor does it mean they are authoritative.
“At Rightlander, we have regular approaches from affiliates looking for help with compliance and we are experimenting with a review service and providing education for teams of content writers. It’s essential they know what they can and can’t do and ultimately, you have to learn to survive before you can start thinking about prosperity.”
“…the common-sense approach is to think about what you want to see or hear as a player”
Recent moves undertaken by the affiliate compliance specialists has seen Rightlander launch a ‘Social Responsibility Report’ for UK and Sweden facing operators as well as unveiling its support for Spanish igaming operators, in the shape of a new compliance tool.
As strategies begin to be implemented and executed for a post COVID era, Sims comments on how he foresees the landscape changing: “Any affiliate that sells bonuses as a “plus point” to players needs to start thinking about the future. I don’t think COVID-19 will change much when it comes to affiliate marketing itself but I think a few affiliates will have realised that they need to diversify.
“That’s good though: diversity is needed and that breeds innovation as most areas of gambling are competitive already so it’s not just simply a question of launching a reviews site in a new vertical any-more. You need an angle. If it were me, I’d be looking at ‘authority’ as the angle but the common-sense approach is to think about what you want to see or hear as a player. And that isn’t about how good a bonus is!”
CasinoBeats Malta Digital will see 3,000 industry delegates, including more than 1,200 representatives of major casino, slots and poker operators, gather for a five-track conference, interactive exhibition featuring 40 leading suppliers, and selection of virtual networking events.
With traditional conferences not possible at the moment, Sims addresses how important online offerings are in the current climate: “When you’re stuck at home, you tend to communicate more with those around you or with whom you work which means that you are perhaps missing a totally different approach to life which you might get from a conversation with someone new or who you see infrequently.
“I’d be most bothered about finding ways to innovate and produce something original”
“The thing I love most about the conferences is the inspiration that comes from networking and chatting face-to-face. A lot of things will be said that wouldn’t necessarily be communicated in an email (for various reasons!) and when people are put on the spot, they can say things that provoke in both good and bad ways.
“While online conferences might struggle to reproduce the social networking ambience of a restaurant or bar, they are able to bring fresh voices and ideas to the table. It’s harder to make time when you have all the distractions of home and work still going on around you but a good panel line-up, webinar topic or interview is situation-irrelevant.”
Concluding with key expectations from the event: “I always enjoy sitting on panels and listening to my fellow panellists although the problem for me is that I tend to have something to say on everything and its not always something I should say so I always end up biting my lip! That’s more because I was a big player for a long time and I have a strong opinion on how operators treat players and how regulator guidelines should be.
“It wasn’t so much of a problem when I was an affiliate but now as a compliance service provider, I sometimes find myself caught between trying to help clients manage a new guideline while the player in me is thinking what a poorly thought out guideline it is.”
Sims is to participate on ‘Affiliate – Complex Minefield’ on Thursday 2 July at 11:20-12:00.
Find full details of CasinoBeats Malta Digital, including including information about how to register and discounts available on company group passes, at the event’s official website: https://sbcevents.com/casinobeats-malta-digital/.
To find out more about exhibiting or to discuss sponsorship opportunities, please contact: [email protected].