Sports betting is big business in Australia and, to a somewhat lesser extent, New Zealand.

As two countries located in the same geographical neighborhood with similar roots, Australia and New Zealand have very similar cultures (but don’t tell them that!). And a hallmark of both cultures is an intense enthusiasm for sports — playing sports, watching sports, and, of course, betting on sports.

In both Australia and New Zealand, brick-and-mortar betting venues are prominent in towns and cities. But just how much of that betting enthusiasm translates to Internet betting?

Although these countries face the same legal uncertainties that can be found in many North American and European markets, the online betting industry is flourishing — particularly in Australia, where Internet gambling is a billion dollar industry.

So here are the three most important factors you need to know to get your online sports affiliate business up and running in Australia and New Zealand:

1. Tight regulations
In Australia, online betting is regulated by the government’s Interactive Gambling Act of 2001 (IGA). Designed to protect Australians from what’s perceived as the gambling’s dangerous results, the IGA is essentially a way to license and regulate certain companies and let them offer gambling on the Internet.

Within these regulations, Internet sports betting is completely legal in Australia. Many international online gambling companies are licensed as official Internet sportsbooks in Australia, including Sportingbet, Centrebet and Betfair.

And, because of the way the IGA is written, any possibly penalties arising from violating sports betting laws in Australia are aimed at the gambling operators, not the citizens who gamble online. That’s an important message to communicate to your site’s visitors.

In New Zealand, the situation is trickier. New Zealand resembles the U.S., where online gambling is basically illegal, but where many citizens gamble online anyway. Many companies serving the Australian market also serve the New Zealand market, but with just a fraction of the economic activity.

Both countries have one thing in common: Neither allows the advertising of online gambling services within its borders. New Zealand has actively pursued prosecutions against companies like PokerStars for such perceived violations.

2. Both countries are big on sports
Both Australia and New Zealand are fanatical about sporting events, and both feature marquee matchups all year round. Football, rugby, Aussie Rules Football, cricket and horse racing represent the biggest of these betting events. Basketball and baseball are also getting more popular in Australia; the country has its own leagues, and also follows the American matches fairly closely.

Here are the highlights of the two countries’ major sporting events — any of which generate tons of search engine activity in their respective countries:

Australia
The Australian Open (tennis, January)
The Cricket World Cup (not always held in Australia, but still a big event Down Under; February-April)
AFL Grand Final (Aussie Rules Football, October)
Melbourne Cup (Horse Racing, November)
Rugby Union championships
ASL Championships

New Zealand
This year, the World Cup of Rugby will be held in New Zealand, from September 9 to October 23, 2011. A big event internationally, its presence in New Zealand will likely see a surge of betting there and in neighboring Australia.

And remember, in both countries, the FIFA World Cup is a big event (though not as big as it is in Europe or Latin America).

3. Lots of affiliate marketing opportunity
So far, then, we’ve got a few good angles for effective content aimed at the Australian market: It’s legal, and if problems arise, individual bettors aren’t at risk. (This isn’t currently true of the New Zealand market, unfortunately.)

Even better, both countries are fanatical about sports with tons of big events throughout the year, as listed above. Affiliates aiming at these markets can hone in on one of these events — or a major team — to find themselves a potentially powerful SEO niche.

The bottom line: Australian sports betting is a thriving business, and presents some pretty tempting opportunities for gambling-related webmasters in Australia or New Zealand, as well as any internationally focused affiliates looking to enter new markets.

Check out the casino affiliate programs at the CAP Listed Programs page to find programs that  offer access to the Australian and/or New Zealand markets.


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