Biggest Surprises of 2014…So Far
Like the games that operators and affiliates present to their players, you never quite know what’s going to happen next or what’s waiting around the next corner. In that regard, 2014 has been a pretty typical year in the igaming world; full of surprises.
Here are a few of the biggest surprises 2014 has offered up to the gambling worlds…so far.
Mobile is Here
For the past few years it’s been tough to read any gaming industry news without bumping into breathless copy touting the rise mobile. As it turns out, those predictions were right on the money.
This year we’ve seen massive gains in the mobile all over the world.
According to a recent report on e-marketer.com, the number of global smartphone users will be up a whopping 25% over 2013. That means that by the end of this year there will be somewhere around 1.76 billion smartphone users on the planet.
The hidden good news for casino affiliates in these numbers is that a lot of these new mobile users come from parts of the world where PC ownership is relatively low. That means huge new markets are opening up for affiliates who are willing to market to them.
“I don’t know if the rise of mobile is that much of a surprise, but the rate at which it’s been growing this year has been very impressive,” Dan Strohl, Affiliate Director at Ace Revenue told us recently.
Strohl strongly recommends that affiliates make certain that the companies they’re doing business with offer full mobile marketing support in addition to their traditional advertising packages.
“The best way to reach mobile players is through mobile marketing,” he says, “And that’s just not possible without a real mobile marketing strategy.”
Slow Growth in America
One of the biggest surprises in igaming history came in December of 2011 when the US Government gave states the thumbs up on offering regulated internet gambling to their citizens.
Plenty of news outlets (including us!) thought that the American market was set to explode. Well, that just hasn’t happened yet.
It seems pretty clear at this point that Americans are not exactly embracing their newly found right to gamble online.
In June, New Jersey Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff said, “Clearly, the results so far have not met our expectations.”
Those results were originally estimated to be somewhere in the neighborhood of $180 million in tax revenue for 2014 alone. Last summer that number was downgraded to $160 million and we wouldn’t be surprised to see it go even lower.
The situation is a little better in Nevada, where healthy land-based casinos can drive customers to online sites, but its small population/player base limits its potential.
A recent interstate gaming compact with Delaware could help Nevada see additional growth, but it’s still got a long way to go.
“The American market has a lot of potential and it’s something we’re definitely gearing up for,” Cindy Greco of Gwages says. “At the same time, we’re realizing that US growth is not going to happen as quickly as many people had assumed.”
Greco, and everyone else in the business, are taking a wait-and-see approach towards the US market. It’s generally assumed that if one or two states find financial success with igaming, the rest will follow along.
Of course plenty of surprises aren’t all that surprising if you’ve been around the business long enough.
For example, you can pretty much count on Google to throw at least a couple massive curve balls at your SEO strategy every year. Whether it’s a major algorithm update or simply dropping programs like Google Authorship, the big brains at Google are definitely full of surprises.
The best way to keep ahead of igaming surprises is by staying flexible and diverse. Don’t get so locked on to promoting one operator or SEO strategy that you can’t step away. Be ready for the next unexpected turn, because it’s definitely coming your way.