Golden Arch Partners: Worst Affiliate Program
Last month CAP published a list of the 10 Worst Gambling Affiliate Programs to help our readers avoid some of the less-reliable partners. As a follow-up to that piece we’re taking a closer look at some of those programs, like Grand Prive, Jackpots Heaven and Best Casino Partners, and why they were such a bad deal for affiliates in the hopes that our readers can avoid similar bad players in the future.
There’s a rule of dating some women use that says, “Watch how he treats the waitress at a restaurant because that’s how he’ll treat you once you get married.” That same rule could also be applied to online casinos and affiliate programs, watch how they treat their players and you can get a pretty good idea of how they’ll treat their affiliate partners.
Golden Arch Partners became notorious a few back by creatively fleecing online gamblers. And, as we’ll see, when it came to fleecing affiliate partners, they just stuck to the old fashion methods.
Slippery Player Credits
Most casinos don’t rip off their customers because they’re honest operations. And because, “the house always wins,” there’s usually no need to pull funny business. That’s what made GA Partners’ unique business practices so head scratching.
All players at GA Partner casinos were given a $300 line of credit whether they asked for it or not. This amount was added to the player’s balance because, according the site terms and conditions, because there wasn’t room to display both numbers on the page. But the practical application of this practice meant big problems for gamers.
If GA Partners said a player had a $400 balance that wasn’t all the player’s own money. Anything above $300 belonged to the player and anything below $300 was credit. Gamers who thought they were in the black were actually playing on borrowed money. To say that this created some confusing is something of an understatement. Surprisingly, GA Partners got away with this scam for a very long time.
Old Fashioned Affiliate Fleecing
When it came to picking their affiliate partners’ pocket, GA Partners stuck to tried and true methods like simply not paying them. Affiliate forums are full of posts from web masters who are waiting, fruitlessly, for payments from GA Partners.
Over the course of the years, the Cyrpus-based company packed up and disappeared off the web on more than once occasion. But they bet, successfully, on the fact that high affiliate turnover would insulate them from their bad reputation. So they regularly pulled their tricks over and over again. It wasn’t until Black Friday that these hucksters met their match.
GA Partners Face the Feds
As we all know, the real story behind Black Friday wasn’t about gambling, it was about processing gambling money. Like a number of other online gaming operations, GA Partners utilized QuickTender to handle their transactions, and that’s what finally brought them down.
Last spring, the Department of Homeland Security, along with a Baltimore area police department, set up a phony credit card processor to work with companies like GA Partners and Quicktender. Once the Feds were in on the case, the Golden Arch fell like a house of cards. Their domain name was seized and they were gone for good.
As a side note, the police department responsible for setting up the sting in Baltimore got a rake of their own this summer. The Anne Arundel Police Department took home $470,000 from the seized assets of Golden Arch and other sites caught up in the sting. (That mean they’ve got $470,300 in their GA account!) Anne Arundel authorities will be using that money to fight crime and buy new equipment.
Golden Arch Partners treated their players horribly, so it’s no surprise that they treated affiliate partners badly, too. But the fact that they were able to stay in business for so many years says a lot about how many players and web masters simply don’t take the time to research companies on sites like CAP and Casinomeister. When the iGaming business works closely with the iGaming community, scam artists like Golden Arch will be taken down by market forces, not the Federal Government.
Did you or any of your players get burned by Golden Arch Partners? Let us know in our Casino Affiliate Scams & Warnings Forum.