If there’s a single lesson that casino affiliates can take away from the last year’s worth of gambling and affiliate marketing headlines it’s this: change is a constant.

Between the rise of mobile gaming, social casinos and new regulated markets; as well as new SEO standards from Google, casino affiliates found themselves in a rapidly changing marketplace that offered plenty of new challenges.

Here are a few of the takeaway lessons for casino affiliates from the year that’s winding down.

European Poker Offers No Guarantees

At this time last year, the European igaming community had big hopes for the soon-to-be liberalized Spanish online poker market, despite a series of licensing delays and dramas.

When the anticipated revenue failed to materialize, and licensing red tape continued, operators and affiliates headed for the door.

The takeaway for affiliates here is that the austerity-shocked European market offers no guarantees, no matter how promising an individual country looks on paper.

Regulated US iGaming is Still a Mystery

On the other side of the Atlantic, US-facing affiliates are still trying to figure out what role they’ll play in the newly opened regulated American market.

Glass half-empty affiliates are assuming that the predominance of big casinos that already run big marketing operations will squeeze small affiliates out of the picture entirely. The more optimistic affiliates see 888 Holdings’ aggressive American campaign as a sign that the traditional affiliate marketing model will be part of the US market.

Whether they’re feeling optimistic or pessimistic, casino affiliates have learned that the American market is still, very much, a work in progress.

Social Casinos are for Real
Even if they haven’t fully integrated into their long range plans yet, 2013 taught casino affiliates that social gaming and casinos are a force to be reckoned with.

Any affiliate who did have doubts definitely put them aside after DoubleDown social casino released its revenue figures for the first half of the year. The rapidly growing social site boosted Playtech’s social earnings by more than $30 million.

That success, along with a growing number of UK-based real-money Facebook gambling apps showed affiliates that social casinos are the real deal, and can even generate a bit of revenue.

SEO isn’t Easy

Whether they’re super affiliates or just mom and pops, all casino affiliates worry about SEO and 2013 delivered plenty to worry about as traditional SEO techniques became less and less effective.

Those who want to stay ahead of the latest Google updates learned that quality content and a commitment to white hat SEO are the new path to Page Rank domination.

What’s on the Horizon?

While established affiliates scratched their heads over regulated markets, some seriously forward-thinking affiliates are looking to Bitcoin gambling for new revenue streams.

Newly minted Bitcoin sportsbooks and casinos like Bitbook.biz offer instant payments for players and the affiliates who refer them. (Of course the payments are done in Bitcoin, but with BTC trading at $266 as of this writing, that’s not such a bad deal.)

Affiliates who want to be part of the next big thing will definitely be watching the Bitcoin scene in 2014.

Finally

Through the maelstrom of change and uncertainty, 2013 taught igaming affiliates that there are no guarantees in online gambling.


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