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SEO Gambling Guide: Part 2 — Gambling Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing in gambling

Affiliate marketing is a process when a casino seeks the help of affiliate partners to attract new players to its platform in exchange for a reward.

As a rule, casino companies encourage partners to promote their products by providing them with monetary rewards for players who visit the site through their personal affiliate links.

Using Affiliate Marketing, an affiliate creates content on their websites, uses affiliate links, and, thus, directs people from their website to the casino website.

You can find all parts of the guide here.

Examples of content and affiliate links

Below is a classic table on one of the affiliate’s websites. It is a casino rating created by the affiliate, where there are “Play Now” buttons, which contain hidden affiliate external links. Clicking on the link, a person is redirected to the casino website, where he or she can register and play, and using the link, the casino sees which affiliate the player came from. Each partner has personal links.

The second example is a typical casino review. It is a casino overview posted by an affiliate on their website, which describes the casino, general information, as well as certain characteristics, such as payment methods, types of games, casino license, minimum possible deposit, and so on. And, of course, this review will contain a link in the form of a button to the casino itself. In this case, it is the “Claim Bonus Now” button.

Tables and casino reviews are the common features of any affiliate website. How to understand what to write about a casino? Don’t worry, you can request a review and all the characteristics from the casino affiliate program manager, or simply open competitor sites and write all the same things. You won’t encounter any problems with this.

I think this is enough to make it clear what affiliate marketing in gambling is and what it looks like on affiliate websites.

Who is an affiliate?

An affiliate is a person who partners with a casino brand and leads people to it. This guide is made for affiliate SEO. But the principles are the same everywhere.

An SEO affiliate can also be called a webmaster. Long ago, affiliate webmasters used to do everything themselves: design, content, layout, website promotion, because the competition was lower and they had enough skills. But those days are gone, and you can’t do everything yourself today, because you are not good at everything at once, and your skills are not sufficient to compete with others. Therefore, the main task of an affiliate is to promote the website and drive traffic to the casino. You will have to understand everything. For example, an SEO affiliate has to realize what kind of website they need and can do something themselves or find a web developer who will make a website according to their task. Content — an SEO affiliate should understand what content they need and should create a ToR for writing it and give it to a copywriter. Design is all about the same. The only thing that an SEO affiliate cannot 100% delegate to someone else is SEO optimization and website promotion — they must understand this more than anything else, do it themselves, or hire people who will do what they say.

Why does a casino need affiliates?

Everything is simple from the point of view of a casino operator. If you have just launched a casino and have no players, your advertising has not yet started working, or you won’t have any at all, then using affiliates is the fastest solution. They bring people to you, and you pay them a certain percentage for the result.

You don’t need to pay affiliates a salary every month or manage them. They are not your employees, you don’t bear any responsibility for them.

Did you attract players? Great! You have money. Didn’t attract them? Well, that’s your problem, you have no money.

Of course, affiliates also do not bear any responsibility to the casino.

Certainly, casino companies create their marketing and promotion departments, but they still use affiliates.

RS, CPA, Hybrid — what is it, and how to choose?

1. Revenue Share (RevShare, RS) is a payment model where an advertiser (casino) pays a certain, pre-established percentage of the profit (NGR) to the webmaster who placed an external link to the advertiser’s casino on their website.

The percentage varies, from 25% to 65%.

Usually, the most common percentage is 35%, and if an affiliate has been working with a casino for a long time and brings a lot of quality players to it, they can ask for a higher percentage. The biggest advantage of RevShare is that you receive income from the player constantly, during the entire time they spend at the casino. This can last for years, you retain them for a lifetime.

NGR is a financial indicator that determines the net gaming revenue of a casino. The formula for calculating NGR is as follows: NGR = A – B – C – D.


  • A is the total amount of all bets placed by players;
  • B is the sum of all winnings earned by players;
  • C is the sum of all bonuses received by players;
  • D is the sum of all taxes. 

Still, there is no classical approach to calculating NGR; my formula is considered classic, but everyone has different approaches. For example, this formula does not include casino operating expenses, but some may include them. More often, we call it “admin fees” or administrative expenses: salaries, office rent, etc.

That is, the partner can understand what money they will receive only after calculating the casino’s profit. As you can see, Partner Income is 0.00 because the casino did not earn anything, but on the contrary, it lost 292 euros. This is because the player won. 

2. CPA (Cost Per Action) is a payment model in which an SEO affiliate receives a fixed payment from the advertiser (casino) for performing the required action by the attracted user. Usually, in gambling, we rarely discuss registration at a casino but often talk about making the first deposit, but there are also rules, which are different for every casino. For example, an affiliate will receive money for a player who has made a first deposit of at least $50 or has made a few deposits totaling at least $50. That is, it is useless to expect that you will bring a player who will make a deposit of $10, lose it, and leave the casino, and you will receive money for it. A casino thoroughly monitors traffic from affiliates. We’ll talk about it further.

– Making the Nth deposit

The biggest advantage of CPA is that you receive money instantly.

3. Hybrid payment model is a model consisting of a one-time payment and a percentage share of income. This model includes RevShare and CPA at the same time. Of course, the conditions of this model are different at each casino. It can be the following: the casino pays you money for registered users and 35% of the profit from them. However, this payment model is offered only to affiliates with proven and stable traffic. This is because the emphasis is on regular gamblers rather than random ones. This model often works in such a way that the casino pays for the first deposit and a percentage of the profit received from the player.

What model should a beginner choose?

If you are a beginner and have a new website with a small amount of traffic, CPA is the best solution. It is because CPA will help you to raise funds for the development of your project faster than RevShare if all the conditions are met.  For example, you bring a player who has made a profit for the amount that satisfied the casino, and they pay you for them, but it often happens that the amount of profit generated results in a very small share of the affiliate’s revenue if it were a RevShare model, and the fix set for CPA was much higher.

Example: The casino’s NGR per player was $90 under the RevShare 35% model, which is $31, but it can be $50 under the CPA model.

Even experienced webmasters with constant traffic still prefer to work on CPA for various reasons: they do not trust casinos because it is very common for partners to cheat their affiliates. For example, you bring a player, they make a big deposit, and you earn a lot. This player plays constantly for several months, you earn a lot, and then they suddenly disappear from your statistics, and the affiliate program manager says “Hmm, they stopped playing.”  We will talk more about fraud on the part of advertisers below.

It is worth noting that there are very, very few CPA payment models in gambling for Western markets. As a rule, it is RevShare, and if you have good performance, you can negotiate for Hybrid. Also, when you become a TOP affiliate in a niche, different APs can offer you completely different, non-public conditions, and, trust me, there are some very attractive figures.

Wow, your offer is great!

You can often see or hear this word.

  • What kind of offer do you direct traffic to?
  • I have a cool offer for you!
  • Who has an offer for Brazil?

and so on and so forth.

An offer implies specifics: which brand to direct traffic to, from which countries (GEO), conditions for new players (bonuses), information about the brand (games, chips, payment methods, game developers, languages), and, of course, conditions for the affiliate. The offer also specifies what traffic is not accepted and what can and cannot be done. For example, the offer may state that it is forbidden to direct branded traffic, but it may not specify how exactly. For example, if you create a casino review on your website and people visit the casino after reading it, this does not qualify as directing branded traffic.

But if your traffic comes from branded user requests, this traffic will not be paid. However, affiliate program managers are not very good at analyzing websites. For example, you can have a website with general pages, but the traffic will be only for branded queries, and it is very unlikely that anyone will notice it. In some cases, affiliate managers analyze Google’s branded SERPs, and if they see that your casino review is at the top and ranks higher than the official casino website, they will ask you to remove it or stop cooperating with you at all.

Advertiser managers propose offers to you, and you should discuss all the conditions initially.

KPIs for the offer

I will additionally note there is a traffic KPI for each offer, that is, the requirements for the traffic you drive to the casino. Advertiser managers always monitor your traffic and its quality, so if the traffic is poor, the advertiser has the right to stop working with you, transfer you to another payment model, or lower the conditions for you.

An SEO affiliate shouldn’t worry about this — they should just attract high-quality traffic. For example, they should not chase the amount of traffic from keywords such as bonuses or free games, because there may be a lot of this traffic but few gamblers with money.

KPIs, limits, payout hold, and negative balance transfer

I will additionally note there is a traffic KPI for each offer, that is, the requirements for the traffic you drive to the casino. Advertiser managers always monitor your traffic and its quality, so if the traffic is poor, the advertiser has the right to stop working with you, transfer you to another payment model, or lower the conditions for you.

An SEO affiliate shouldn’t worry about this — they should just attract high-quality traffic. For example, they should not chase the amount of traffic from keywords such as bonuses or free games, because there may be a lot of this traffic but few gamblers with money.

KPIs, limits, payout hold, and negative balance transfer

Yes, there is a lot of information even in such a simple part of this guide. So, let’s figure out what all this means and what it is for.

I will say right away that this is the most unpleasant part of the affiliate’s work with the advertiser 🙂

Test KPI — it is not a very popular issue for SEO affiliates, and you will probably encounter it very rarely, because SEO traffic is considered to be of higher quality than any other. But still, you should know what it is. So, test KPI is a limit from the advertiser (casino affiliate) on the volume of players you have to bring them (first deposits). After that, you must stop the traffic flow to the casino. They will analyze your traffic and decide whether to continue working with you or not, or they will ask you to do another test KPI but improve your traffic. I think you understand what it is for. The advertiser (casino) wants to attract only active gamblers, i.e. high-quality traffic. The number of required players, calculated by first deposits, is always conditional. Usually, it is 20. And there are always certain details. For example, you can bring 20 players, and only 5 of them will play. But if they play for very large amounts, the casino can make an exception for you and pay for this traffic and work with you further.

It is worth noting that casinos may not pay for the test KPI traffic if it is bad for them, and they will not pay if you bring more than the required number of players for the test KPI, that is, all those who came after the limit was reached.

Payout hold — a payout hold is something you will definitely encounter. For example, a month has passed, and the affiliate has to pay you money, but this will not happen on the 1st day of the new month. As a rule, there is a hold, and it is necessary for the advertiser to check the quality of the leads (players) you brought because no one likes bad traffic (or fraud/scam traffic).

Fraud is when an affiliate intentionally drives low-quality traffic to a casino. It can be bots, motivated traffic, or misleading the user. Bots have been monitored very well for a long time, and they are no longer effective. Motivated traffic from websites will not work well, because motivated traffic is when the content author asks users to do something, but the content on websites is textual and it is just a website. This works with video bloggers, when they record a video and ask their audience to visit and register or perform certain actions to get a reward, but they don’t get paid for it, and all relations with such bloggers are immediately broken.

However, misleading users is something that SEO affiliates can also do, for example, indicating a non-existent, huge, and attractive casino bonus. Advertiser managers will analyze affiliate websites, and if there is a lot of low-quality traffic, they will investigate the site even more closely. If they see that you are deliberately deceiving your users, the outcome will be bad for you. Of course, if you just accidentally indicated the wrong bonus or unintentionally made a mistake, nothing will happen to you except for a warning.

Let’s return to the concept of a hold. So, the advertiser must ensure that the players you bring have repaid (or will potentially repay) the funds you will eventually receive. It takes 2 weeks to carefully monitor players using special formulas (LTV and others). Usually, it is during this time that players show their activity. Read more about fraud here. If you have proven yourself well and have gained good traffic using legal methods, the hold can be significantly reduced, as you gain the trust of the webmaster.

Negative balance transfer — it happens that your players have made a negative balance in the affiliate program, and some affiliates do not transfer this negative balance to a new period. That is, the loss from August is not transferred to September. This is also always different in each case, and you can even negotiate to have the negative balance removed.

Casino affiliate program or affiliate network

People do not distinguish these two concepts and just say “affiliate,” but it is not completely correct.

Let me clarify. There is a company that has founded one or more casino brands and they have created their own affiliate program. You can join them directly.

For example:  Alpha-Affiliates — there are several brands under the umbrella of this affiliate program, but they all belong to the company that owns Alpha-Affiliates itself.  You just choose the offer and the brand that suits you from the pool they have.

Alternatively, there may be a company that founded one casino, and they have an affiliate program, for example, Golden Crown Casino and its GoldenCrownPartners affiliate program.

And an affiliate network is an intermediary between an affiliate and a casino partner with many different offers. The best example of such a network is RevenueLab.

The network operates many offers of different brands for various countries. Brands negotiate with such networks, and the network receives income from the partners it has attracted.

Casinos use affiliate networks to increase the number of partners. And if they don’t want to deal with the operational load of the affiliate, they simply receive traffic from the network, anonymize it, and make a payout.

What to choose: an diret casino affiliate program or a network?

It all depends on whether there are offers that you need in the location where you are going to work in the network. It may happen that the network does not represent the brands suitable for you, so you have to look for brands to direct the traffic.

There is also a certain advantage to using the network — less effort to communicate with brands. The network manager does everything for you, which is a very significant advantage because when you are just starting out, you don’t have so much time to do everything and connect brands + you may not know the language and face difficulties + registration in the network can take much time and require a lot of different data and confirmation of documents.

The network is fast, but there are certain disadvantages: the network manager may not respond for a very long time, may forget to warn about changes in conditions, about stopping the offer, etc.

However, you should not think about this when you have no or very little traffic. Join the network and programs like Alpha-Affiliates because there are many brands and no third parties.

The benefits of communicating with an affiliate manager

An affiliate manager is your best friend. You can choose them, but, more often, they choose you because an affiliate manager is the reflection of the webmaster :))

You can and should ask the affiliate manager of an affiliate program or network everything that can improve your cooperation, for example:

  1. Which brands are the best for my location? The affiliate manager has access to statistics or even analytics of each brand with which their affiliate or network works, and they will be happy to give you a piece of advice.
  2. What are the advantages of certain brands? You can use this information in your promotional content on the website or choose a category to place this brand in.
  3. What are the most popular games of this brand that are played more often? You can also use this information to drive traffic to these games.
  4. What is the average LTV of players this year/half year/quarter? It is something that you should definitely ask, especially if you are driving traffic through RevShare. After all, your income will depend on it. Unfortunately, few affiliate managers know this information, but if we ask more often, brands will get used to providing this information to their affiliate managers.
  5. What is the greatest bonus for a player these brands have? Sometimes, there are a lot of bonuses, and you get lost in the analysis, so ask the manager.
  6. Ask for a casino review from the manager. As a result, you will know exactly its pros and cons, for example, the brand is awesome in all respects, except that it does not have any normal payment options for this region. By the way, some affiliates can provide you with casino reviews for free, just on request. It will save you some money and time for creation.
  7. Ask whether the affiliate can place a link from their site to your site from the Testimonials block. Yes, they can do it, and you do not necessarily need extensive work experience and a great reputation. You can argue that you have posted a good review on their casino, it ranks high in the rating table on all pages, and a link from them will help you promote your site and there will be a win-win outcome for everyone.
  8. Is the affiliate interested in a flat fee agreement? This is when you place the affiliate’s brand as high as possible on the website for money, for example, you have a casino rating table and want the affiliate to pay you a certain amount of money for the first place in this table. The amount is determined by you, but, of course, the AP looks at your website, its performance, and its potential. A Flat Fee agreement is also often the beginning of the transition from RevShare to Hybrid.
  9. What do they think about branded traffic? It is better to discuss this in advance.
  10. Just communicate and tell everything as it is, don’t try to deceive, don’t promise mountains of traffic, immediately tell about your traffic plans and deadlines, and periodically report on the current situation.
  11. Treat your account manager the way you want your account manager to treat you. And treat them as a person on whom you also depend no less than they depend on you.

Be aware of the fact that AP managers will change, so save chat history or some custom terms and conditions so that you have evidence and arguments. Also, if you can still keep in touch with the manager who quit the affiliate program, ask them why. Sometimes, there are very interesting facts that can change many things in your cooperation with the brand.

How to choose brands for your website

This is quite a complicated question. Especially in the beginning, when you have little traffic. It always seems that there are brands that all site users will be attracted by and will spend a lot, and you will earn much from them.

If you are just starting out, you can ask in chat rooms, for example, in  casino affiliate chat. You can connect to a network such as RevenueLab and ask the manager there, and work with them in general.

What to look for when choosing a brand

  1. Payment methods — they should be convenient in the country from which your website traffic will come.
  2. Availability of a local license — brands with local licenses dominate, but unfortunately, they often have a lot of restrictions for players, who, in turn, cannot play for very, very large amounts of money. And as a result, you will earn less.
  3. Does the casino operate normally without a local license — just for the case when the casino does not have a local license, and there are constant blockings for this reason.
  4. How good and extensive the casino’s game library is — if the casino does not have games that are adored by users in your location (country where the traffic comes from), it is bad, just like if the game library presented is from not very popular developers.
  5. Bonuses — what and how often, especially free spins.
  6. What the minimum deposit at the casino is — the smaller, the better, especially for young sites with a low amount of traffic, especially under CPA.
  7. Player base saturation — it is very difficult to calculate, but there are such giant brands that have been operating for many years, and it is an unrealistic task for a young website to bring a new player to them.
  8. How do they advertise their brand? What is their retention rate? If the product does not work on LTV or retention, or if they do not communicate with players in any way, then it is a somewhat useless product 🙂

But when you will have a website, traffic, and certain results, you will need to compare the effectiveness of brands on the website, and for this, you need to compare the profit for the same periods since the brand was placed on the website. It is great when you can compare not only the brands placed on your website but also the pages of your website from which players came to a particular brand. However, to do this, you need to set up analytics for each page of your website and use different IDs for affiliate links, which is a bit expensive.

For example, 200 players came, but 150 came from page A and 50 players came from page B. Still, players from page B were more active and brought more money. Such information gives you the most ideas and points of growth for your profit. You can do this easier with services like Keitaro.

When analyzing brand performance, remember to take into account traffic, branded keywords, and high rollers. Every month, do this analysis and disable, change brand positions, and improve pages.


Choosing an affiliate program, negotiating the terms, and choosing a brand are very important aspects of an SEO affiliate’s work. Everything depends on the affiliate from the moment the player clicks on your link. Therefore, always try to choose high-quality and, at the same time, new brands so that your website and ranking are not a 100% copy of any other website from the TOP 10.