Continually opening new markets is an essential ingredient for growth in any industry and igaming business is no exception.

The problem with newly developed igaming markets is that despite their early promises of vast new revenue streams, they frequently fall flat on their faces. Whether it’s bureaucratic red tape or a lack of enthusiasm amongst players, some markets just never seem to live up to their potential.

For operators and affiliates this revolving door is both frustrating and expensive. Besides losing all the cash they’ve put into marketing and SEO, igaming businesses lose huge chunks of revenue when operators exit a market that’s just not working out. (This was the case when PokerStars and Full Tilt recently exited a number markets including Iran, Turkey and Nigeria.)

Staying ahead of the igaming market’s revolving door is challenging, but not impossible, especially if you understand why these markets fail to deliver on their potential.

Don’t Expect Answers

iGaming operators aren’t always forthcoming when it comes to markets that just aren’t working out. If you’re expecting a detailed explanation, you’re likely to be very disappointed.

When PokerStar/Full Tilt exited Iran and Nigeria recently the only explanation they offered was:

Our management team and advisors regularly review our operations market-by-market to assess commercial opportunities and business risks for our brands,” the statement said. “Following a recent review we have decided to stop offering real money games to players who are physically located in, or have a registered address in, a limited number of countries.

That’s not exactly helpful for casino affiliates who’d managed to make inroads in that, “limited number of countries.”

Government Foot Dragging

Affiliates who want to avoid spending time and money chasing markets that won’t pan out should keep an eye on local politics.

In the recent cases of Spain and Germany, government regulators talked a good game about market liberalization but, when it came time for action, they threw as much red tape at operators as they could possibly get away with. That bureaucratic foot-dragging sent many operators heading for the door, even though many had already been issued licenses.

If you’re getting hints that local governments aren’t all that into igaming, you might be looking at a market without promise.

The Long Arm of the (American) Law
Though the United States could definitely qualify as a market without promise all on its own, it’s still the big prize that most operators covet.

That lust for the red, white and blue means these folks (Rational Group we’re looking at you) will do anything to limit their dealings with countries that aren’t in good with the US. For that reason, we don’t think it’s any coincidence that Rational would limit its dealings with Iran.

Operators aren’t interested in carrying any extra baggage when they stand before American gaming regulators and that’s something affiliates should consider when evaluating new markets.

Staying Ahead of the Curve
So how can casino affiliates stay ahead of igaming markets that fail to deliver on their potential? For starters, you’ll want to develop close ties with other affiliates and affiliate managers. With a large network of industry contacts, you’ll be much better prepared to sort fact from fiction when it comes to new, and not-so-new markets.

Casino affiliates also need to take a page out of their players’ books and spread their risk. For example, while a market like Spain looks great on paper, attacking the larger Spanish language market might be a better way of avoiding the hassles of igaming markets without promise.


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