Get exclusive CAP network offers from top brands

View CAP Offers

Sports Betting Whales: Friend or Foe?

Whale hunting can be dangerous.

Whether you’re Captain Ahab and the crew of the Pequod, or the proprietor of, whale hunting has always been a dangerous game. Whales can bring in big rewards, or they can just as easily pull your whole operation underwater.

The challenge of dealing, or not dealing, with whales is one that every sports betting affiliate will face at one time or another. We recently sat down with CAP Affiliate Manager, Sarah Sheade to find out more about whales and how affiliate partners can deal with them.

What is a Whale?
Your own personal definition of what constitutes a whale will vary depending on where you’re at in terms of revenues.  A whale at one site could be a guppy at another but, generally speaking a whale is, in Sheade’s words:

A high-roller player interested in a particular program who will deposit a large amount of money at once, many times reaching into the tens of thousands of dollars in one transaction.

It’s worth noting that whales are very different from sports betting syndicates. Syndicates are, usually, groups of bettors who spread out their wagers over a number of different sites and are bankrolled by investors.

Whales tend to work alone.

Whale Watching
Some sites like,, actively court the whale audience through dedicated VIP programs and big time bonuses. VIP treatment has been used as whale bait for a long time and it’s standard operating procedure at land-based casinos.

For smaller operations luring in whales can be as simple as tweaking your landing pages, according to Sheade:

Whatever your site or landing page displays is the type of traffic that you are going to attract. If you make your site whale-friendly by including valuable content instead of a quick $20 deposit you will be more likely attract them.

While attracting whales is always possible, it’s not always a good idea, especially if you’re operating under a negative carryover clause.

The Trouble with Whales
Whale hunting has never been for the faint of heart because the potential for huge losses is high. Sheade points out that affiliates in affiliates in negative carryover programs can their earnings wiped out forever from just one successful whale.

If this is truly a market you want to pursue, Sheade suggests checking with your affiliate operators first. She also says that many operators aren’t too crazy about working with whales and have adjusted their maximum deposits to help minimize their exposure these high rolling players.

At the end of the day, Sheade suggests a long-tail approach to business that’s a more balanced and less reliant on a few big players.

I wouldn’t count on whales to build your business unless you focus strictly in this area and are willing to take the high-risk of this type of player.

Have you had dealings with whales? Share your experiences in the comments section below.