Joonas Karhu, Chief Business Officer at Bojoko, talks about some of the lessons the award-winning affiliate has learned from the European market and how they can help companies targeting the US.
There is no doubt about it; the US will become the largest, legal online gambling market in the world as states continue to embrace regulation and licensing and open their doors to sportsbook and casino operators for the very first time.
In the three years since the Professional and Amateur Sport Protection Act repeal the rate of progress has been rapid to say the least, and operators, suppliers and affiliates are locked in a fierce race to be among the first to enter states as and when they open. The first-mover advantage is real.
But brands (whether operator, supplier or affiliate) must enter each state with the right proposition if they are to gain traction and build the foundation for a successful and sustainable future. This is absolutely the case for affiliates as the rewards for getting it right are big.
Bojoko is one of the largest online gambling affiliates in Europe and we are using this experience, and the lessons learned from markets such as the UK and Finland, to ensure we hit the ground running in the Garden State and others as we continue to roll-out across the US.
So, what are these lessons and how can they be used drive success stateside?
Lesson 1 – Prioritise Responsible Gambling
Responsible gambling is a key consideration for affiliates targeting the US market. Because states require publishers to obtain a licence, certain responsible gambling requirements must be met but I believe more can be done to ensure players are fully protected.
This includes creating content around safe gaming and the tools available to players to help them stay in control of their play. Affiliates should also include responsible gambling messaging on all key pages and ensure they have an “ad disclosure” that is clear and easy to see.
We have taken this a step further by partnering with gambling block software provider, gamban, giving our members a free trial to the service and then a reduced subscription fee should they wish to keep using it after the trial comes to an end.
This approach ensures that players are happy and healthy and, ultimately, continue to return to your affiliate brand to find online casinos and sportsbooks.
Lesson 2 – Provide Players with Search Tools
We have more than 300 online gambling brands listed on Bojoko which can make it hard for visitors and members to find the sites that best match their preferences. To help with this, we have developed a series of powerful filtering tools.
This allows players to enter their likes and dislikes and then browse the list of brands that meet their requirements. While there are a limited number of brands in the US market right now, that number is only set to rise and that is when filtering tools will come into their own.
When it comes to it, affiliates should help players find brands as quickly and seamlessly as possible and developing filtering tools certainly helps in this regard. It means they can spend less time searching and more time playing.
Lesson 3 – Transparency is Absolutely Key
In European markets, players are smart and savvy and many have been playing online casino and betting on sports for a number of years. This means they are wise to affiliates that write positive reviews about brands simply because they offer the best commercial agreement.
For this reason, Bojoko does not review the brands listed on our site. Instead, we allow our members to rate and review based on the experience they receive. We also have a team of independent casino testers that put brands through their paces and provide feedback.
This creates a “double layer” of authentication for each casino. Players can read reviews from other members and also from our testers to get a clear and accurate picture of what to expect at each brand before deciding whether to sign up and play.
We want players to play at the casino that offers the experience they are seeking and not because we have told them to play there. Ultimately, if they have a bad experience, they will not return to that casino and they are also unlikely to return to Bojoko.
Lesson 4 – Players want to be Entertained
It is important to remember that online sports betting and casino is an entertainment activity for millions of people around the world and that operators, suppliers and affiliates are providers of fun. Of course, this must be done responsibly.
Specifically for an affiliate, it is important to make clear to players that you can facilitate the fun experience they are seeking by matching them with gambling brands. At Bojoko, we have taken this further by launching two in-house developed training apps for blackjack and roulette.
While these are to help build brand awareness and educate players, they are also about having fun while still being connected to Bojoko.
Sometimes the aspect of fun and entertainment can be forgotten, so affiliates must remember this and ensure visitors and site members feel like they are engaged with a brand that provides excitement while they search for a new place to play.
These are just some of the lessons we have learned from operating Bojoko in core European markets over the past four years; lessons that we have taken across the pond and are using to already engage players in New Jersey.
While the US is different to Europe, there are key similarities and by considering the lessons above affiliates will be able to enter US states with a brand and product that will deliver the experience that players are seeking.