Long one of the online gaming industry’s biggest names, Sportingbet has made a string of brand-building business moves in recent months that’s seen its share price skyrocket. Now, rumors of a merger with Unibet (rumors which Sportingbet has confirmed) are raising that share price higher, giving the brand an even higher profile in the online gaming space. And that’s important news to affiliate marketers looking to partner with a strong brand that can drive conversions through recognition and reputation alone.

The brand made headlines in September when, after resolving its legal stance with the United States government by paying $33 million “in return for not being prosecuted over its internet gambling business … between 1998 and 2006”, its shares jumped by some 12 percent.

Sportingbet instantly became a “takeover” target — because the brand was strong, and now clean in terms of finances and reputation. And that meant it was ready to be marketed more heavily on an international basis. That’s a testament to a brand’s strength, something that smart affiliates take note of: If a brand, like Sportingbet, boasts this kind of numbers, and merger rumors, that means that brand is successful at pulling in traffic and dollars. This kind of news isn’t just for shareholders; it’s also an indication of a brand’s popularity in a larger sense. 

With more than 2.5 million registered customers in some 200 countries — and one million bets placed per day — Sportingbet fits that bill; it’s simply one of the world’s biggest online betting names. And that brand strength goes beyond betting; the company owns Paradise Poker, one of the world’s best-known online poker names. (When it acquired Paradise Poker in 2004, Sportingbet became, for a period, the world’s largest online gaming company. Paradise was the world’s third-largest online poker room at the time.)

And now Sportingbet is moving to expand that brand strength to even more new markets, with news that it’s seriously considering expansion into the Russian market.

According to StockMarketWire.com, Sportingbet has now formed a joint business venture with “First International Bookmakers Company” to create and launch an Internet sports betting site aimed at the Russian market. “Sportingbet will be the sole provider of online services,” the report specifies.

Sportingbet estimates that the Russian sports betting market has a turnover of $1.8 billion annually.

Much, much bigger is the news that Sportingbet is also reportedly contemplating a partnership with rival Unibet — and that the two leading European online gaming brands have already held talks on the topic. A combined Sportingbet and Unibet company would be worth some 600 million pounds, reports Reuters.  

Affiliates can market Sportingbet via the Sportingbet affiliate program. Details on the Unibet affiliate program can be found here.

Nathan Denny
November 15, 2010


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