I made money through the gambling industry for several years.
Around 2008/2009 I made a concious effort to step away from it. I had become completely disillusioned with the industry. Poker and casino companies were closing down and not paying their affiliates. Many poker players lost money too.
To make matters worse, it came out that many poker pros who had invested in poker companies were part of the problem and had been found stealing money from the company.
The whole thing was disgusting.
To this day I get contacted by gambling companies to promote them. I won't lie, it has been tempting because the commissions are so high, but I still remember how dirty the whole industry is. That is why, thus far, I have not been tempted to return.
Another One Bites the Dust
A few days ago the British broadcaster Sky, who has a large gambling operation called Sky Betting, announced that it was closing down all of its affiliate operations.
They noted that:
“As you will be aware, the regulatory landscape in which the industry operates is developing and maturing and operators are experiencing increased obligations regarding their regulatory responsibilities and level of compliance. In order to continue to operate in a compliant manner, we feel that operating the Programme is no longer viable and that managing the output of affiliates presents a significant risk to our business from a regulatory perspective. It is for this reason that we have chosen to terminate the Programme.”
Saying that the programme is no longer viable is a common reason for closing down an affiliate program. A company will use affiliates to get going but when they reach a certain level, someone high up in the company will deem that the people who helped them succeed are no longer needed.
As you can imagine, many gambling affiliates are pissed off. Many website owners who have actively promoted them are already talking about taking them to court.
Call me cynical, but it is unlikely that Sky will care if anyone takes them to court. Their affiliate contracts probably have a clause somewhere that protects them in this scenario. Even if they do not, any compensation to an affiliate who successfully sues them, will pale in comparison to the others they now stop paying.
The Same Old Story
I don't have dog in this particular fight, but I have nothing but empathy for the gambling affiliates that are going to be affected by this.
It is important to remember that when a large affiliate programme like this closes down, everyone is affected. It does not matter if you are a small time affiliate making $50 a month or a large affiliate making tens of thousands of dollars per month.
All of a sudden, your monthly revenue stream is gone.
Say you were making $1,000 per month promoting Sky Bet. That will now cease. This means that you're losing $12,000 per year and $60,000 over the next five years.
There are other affiliate programmes that affiliates can start promoting instead, but the real problem here is that Sky are closing down their whole affiliate hub by 2 October 2017.
When you are paid on a revenue share basis, it can take a long time for the affiliate to make decent money. With CPA you can be paid $150 as soon as someone makes a deposit. Not so with revenue share. It can take months or even years for a particular user to make you money.
By closing down their affiliate programme so abruptly they are refusing to pay earnings for gamblers affiliates referred. Can you think of any other industry where actions like this would be permitted?
I have experienced this myself many times over the years. I am always aware of the risks, but it always feels like a slap in the face when a long term partner just turns around and screws you later.
The real disappointment is that even in 2017, affiliates have next to no rights.
Thanks for reading.