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Affiliate Marketing and the Online Gambling Marketplace, Part 1: The UK and Europe

In Europe, online gambling brands like PartyGaming and Paddy Power are not only big names for gamers and affiliates, they’re also closely watched by the financial sector. In fact, they’re so powerful it was recently rumored that bwin would be buying a stake in the Spanish lottery system (a rumor that later proved to be false).

So, what’s the connection between casino affiliate marketing and the larger online gambling financial world?

The big online gambling brands have real power in the United Kingdom, where companies like PartyGaming and William Hill are publicly traded and frequently the subject of stock market websites.

“One of the secrets we seem intent on keeping is that Ireland is now one of the biggest online gaming hubs in the world,” says Irish entrepreneur Dylan Collins. “Without any spin whatever we have some of the biggest guys in the world supporting their European activities, legitimising the location. In terms of the companies located here, volume of people and profile of those companies, there’s a bigger cluster here than in the UK.”

Speaking of the UK, companies like PartyGaming and bwin (though based in mainland Europe) are closely watched stocks, as this Bloomberg report illustrates.

But strict anti-online gambling laws in the U.S. do affect the UK, as well.

“The multibillion-pound global [Internet gambling] industry virtually collapsed after its biggest market – the US – was closed down overnight when Congress introduced a surprise clause to legislation in September 2006,” writes James Hipwell at the British Interactive Investor website. “British-based companies were among the biggest casualties.

“As soon as the London Stock Exchange opened the following Monday morning, shares in PartyGaming – then a FTSE 100 member – slumped by 58%, while rivals 888 Holdings (888) and Sportingbet saw their shares slide by 26% and 64% respectively, wiping an estimated £4 billion off the sector’s value.”

Affiliates can take advantage of this by promoting the talked-about brands and reaping the rewards of the publicity they attract in the media, knowing that players are more likely to play at sites that have the European financial sector’s vote of confidence.

Players know bwin and PartyGaming as reliable, fun sites to play at; investors see them as trustworthy places to grow their stock portfolios. This combines to give the entire online gambling world — including casino affiliate marketing — a stability not found in places like the U.S. (More on the U.S. situation tomorrow.)