Are you playing the UK casino affiliate game?
The UK is one of the online gambling world’s most important business hubs — a more expensive headquarters than Gibraltar or Malta, maybe, but that’s offset by the prestige, connectivity, and economic advantage of conducting business in Europe’s financial capital, London.
On top of that, the UK began regulating online gambling before pretty much every one else. The country is far more evolved than nations such as the United States, which still struggle with the issue of online gambling regulations.
As a result, the UK is the source of a huge variety of online gambling brands and, consequently, more casino affiliate programs than any other market. Most of the industry’s biggest names — 888, Sportingbet, William Hill, Ladbrokes, PartyGaming (now part of bwin.party, of course) among them — are listed on the London Stock Exchange.
Of course, many others are based in Malta, Gibraltar, and Costa Rica, and there has been a recent movement away from London and to these other, less taxed jurisdictions. But for now, London and the UK remain the premier igamng business locale, and that provides an advantage to UK casino affiliates who can focus, and win, in their home market.
Regulations give affiliates an advantage
In the United Kingdom, online gambling is regulated by the Gambling Commission, a government organization that was set up under the Gambling Act of 2005 and which came into force on September 1, 2007.
Though it’s a government entity, the Gambling Commission is an “independent non-departmental public body”. It and its 200 employees are funded through the fees paid by operators licensed by the UK.
The Gambling Commission regulates all betting (except spread betting), bingo, casinos, and gambling machines in the UK — as well as “British-based remote gambling operators,” or online gambling companies.
Though there’s been talk in recent months of tightening those regulations and changing the tax structure, the general rules for online gambling in the UK remain as they were in 2007.
The long and the short of it is that online gambling is legal in the UK, and regulated in a way that strives to protect players. So thorough are the UK Internet gambling regulations that they include stipulations regarding advertising, technology, and language.
That all adds up to give UK casino affiliates a clear advantage over many other markets, where regulations don’t exist, or exist so vaguely that they offer little protection to players.
UK casino affiliates can confidently tell players that their activities are legal, licensed, and sanctioned by the government. (Though when it comes time to pay taxes on winnings, players may not be so grateful of those regulations.)
In the near future, this could change, and probably will: For financial reasons, some UK online gambling companies are switching their licensed operations to less taxed areas, as Betfair recently has done. It’s hard to fault these companies for doing so; more and more, this move is being made simply to stay alive in a highly competitive market.
But for now, UK casino affiliates can check out the full rundown of UK Gambling Commission regulations for Internet casinos here.
Some great affiliate programs to check out
With all the above information in mind, then, here’s a rundown of what CAP Listed Programs best serve the UK casino affiliate market.
32Red: Listed on the London Stock Exchange, 32Red is known for its high-class design and interface and strong customer retention.
888: A leading UK betting site that offers comprehensive services for casino, poker, bingo, scratchcard gaming, and pretty much every point in between.
Betfair: One of the UK’s biggest names in betting, Betfair may have recently switched its licensed operations to Gibraltar, but it’s still very much a UK company, and commands strong market presence.
Boylesports: Ireland’s biggest independent bookmaker is also licensed to do business in the UK, and has a very strong presence there. The brand has high visibility in UK football betting, as well.
Euro Affiliates: One of the most highly rated affiliate programs in the CAP Listed Programs roster.
Euro Partners: This network of European-centered online gaming programs is also licensed to do business in the UK, and has a strong presence there.
Totesport: The UK’s official, government- subsidized betting and gambling company is also one of the biggest online betting brands, sponsoring special races all year round and driving tons of betting traffic.
There’s also Everest Affiliates, Fortune Affiliates, Intertops, Mansion Affiliates, PKR Poker, and many others. Remember, the UK is the world’s online gambling pioneer, so almost every CAP Listed program — really, almost every casino affiliate program in the world — is available in that market.
That makes for a competitive marketplace for affiliates, but it also presents some pretty enticing opportunities. UK casino affiliates certainly enjoy a greater variety of marketing options than affiliates in other countries.
Full disclosure: Many other prestigious online gambling companies serve the UK market, which aren’t CAP Listed Programs. Those programs include Ladbrokes, William Hill, bwin.party, and many more.
Check out the Casino Affiliate Programs Blog for the latest updates of regulations in the UK casino affiliate sector, and news on what these companies are up to. For those interested in the online gambling industry for other reasons — investing, or marketing, for example — the UK casino affiliate market is the one to watch for an indication of what might be coming down the pipes at the global level.
UK casino affiliates, we’d love to hear your take on the UK gambling market. Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments and let us know what you think.