In 2011, CAP published a list of the 10 Worst Gambling Affiliate Programs to help our readers avoid some of the less-reliable partners. As a follow-up to that piece we’re taking a closer look at some of those programs, like Bwin, Money Plays, Grand Prive, Red Hot Revenue and Best Casino Partners, and why they were such a bad deal for affiliates in the hopes that our readers can avoid similar bad players in the future.
Ladbrokes is an old-fashioned kind of gaming company that’s well drilled in Internet basics. So it’s surprising that Ladbrokes’ affiliate program has launched such a debate in a singularly classic fashion by retroactively changing the terms of their affiliate contracts.
Not surprisingly, the move that occurred in January has triggered a firestorm of complaints to industry advocacy groups like CAP and Affiliate Watch Dog.
Meet the New Deal
Ladbrokes’ new commission structure (which went into effect this month) is a big change from the terms many affiliates had operated under for years. Besides applying the changes retroactively, the company also introduced some new player minimums that left affiliates crying foul.
Under the new terms, affiliates could not qualify for the 25% revenue share (the minimum under the old plan) unless they had 31 or more players. This means an affiliate who brought in five whales last year would be penalized with a lower revenue share, even if those players were spending big bucks. But wait, there’s more.
To rub a little more salt in the wound, Ladbrokes is requiring affiliates to change over all their player accounts and banner ads to the new system. This could be a lot of work for a webmaster to do for the privilege of earning less money.
A Real Head Scratcher
It’s hard to understand what companies like Ladbrokes hope to achieve when applying retroactive changes to T & C’s. Players wouldn’t be allowed to change the rules of Texas Hold ‘Em in the middle of a game and apply those changes retroactively, so why should giant gaming corporations do the same?
There’s also the question as to whether a move like this is actually legal or not. Some affiliates have suggested that Ladbrokes is pulling a fast one and betting that far flung webmasters are to busy with their jobs to pursue legal action.
We’re not going to pretend to be legal experts here, that’s not our job. Affiliates and their attorneys can figure out whether or not this move is legal or not. Still, in a business built on trust, the legal thing to do is not always the right thing to do.
Businesses have a right to introduce new practices whenever they want, that’s their prerogative. If Ladbrokes wants to introduce new payment structures they’re free to do so and let the free market work its magic. But what are they hoping to accomplish by alienating the people who are bringing them new business on a daily basis is anyone’s guess.
Gaming companies might see better long term revenues if they did away with retroactive changes to existing contracts all together and applied new policies to new players only. It’s the right thing to do for the partners who help keep the computers on at online gaming shops.
What do you think of the new Ladbrokes policy? Let us know in our Casino Affiliate Scams & Warnings Forum.