We track down some of the most established names in the affiliate space for our Affiliate Profile.
This week, BGO Group CMO Allan Turner reflects on his career in the sector, offers advice on compliance and reflects on ‘the good old days’.
AffiliateINSIDER: Can you begin by introducing your history in the igaming and affiliate space, and describing how you landed your current role with BGO.
Allan Turner: I started out in the industry in early 2008 as a sales guy for Players Publishing who at the time had Gambling Online Magazine both in print and online, and we later won the contract and rights to WPT Poker Magazine.
In May 2010 I started my career in the marketing side of the industry as an Affiliate Manager at Genting where I worked on the poker and casino affiliate side of things and help establish the online feeder channels into the Genting Poker Tour.
As my interest in poker waned and interest in casino grew I then moved to Gala Interactive in late 2012 to run their casino affiliate business for galacasino.com, before getting my first role at BGO in August 2013 as Head of Affiliate Marketing. I already had an existing relationship with the owners of BGO so it was an easy and exciting move to make. As people will know the BGO business has grown massively in the last 5 years and I have been fortunate enough to see my career progress in the business as well gaining 3 promotions to now be the Chief Marketing Officer.
AI: What advice would you give to igaming firms looking to build a successful, compliant affiliate program?
AT: I have always been a big believer in being honest and open with affiliate partners and developing solid partnerships where both sides make money. What makes good affiliate managers stand out for me is a combination of new business skills, account management skills, maths and analysis skills, and knowledge of all the different ways affiliates can run the traffic and how they differ.
In terms of the compliance side of things in the UK, the fundamental requirements for affiliates to follow are very clear cut so the implementation of this on your marketing assets is easy enough, the tricky bit is ensuring that your partners follow these rules so the processes you create around this are key. It is also imperative that you do your due diligence on partners, so you know exactly who you are dealing with and can prove it.
AI: With over a decade in igaming, how has the industry developed during your time in it?
AT: Well, at the risk of sounding like an old man, I miss the good old days! ? There is no denying that the industry has changed dramatically in the last 10 years. At that time casinos were pushing download casinos as it gave better player value, regulation and taxation were a lot laxer, and sites generally looked pretty bad. Nowadays over 75% of people are playing on their mobiles, it’s all about instant play and casinos and brands are very well defined and developed.
Clearly the technological advances and the way we market have also changed hugely, and will no doubt continue to do so and an ever-increasing rate, so staying dynamic and open to change is key.
AI: It’s no secret that the affiliate sector is currently in the middle of a sustained period of upheaval. What are your broad predictions for where the industry is going?
AT: Yeah, the two main developments really in the affiliate space in recent years are the creation of much larger affiliate businesses through M&A, and the changes in UK regulation and compliance. I believe that the consolidation of affiliate businesses will continue, although I suspect much of the growth and focus will be outside of the UK, particularly with recent budget announcement of the rate of taxation.
In terms of compliance, I think most affiliates now have a good handle on what they’re required to do, so other than site/CMS development work needed I don’t see that as too much of an issue moving forward, if people learn the rules and abide by them they shouldn’t get their account closed by reputable operators.
AI: And finally, what are your hopes and aspirations for BGO, both short-term and long-term?
AT: Now there’s a big question. Short term we are looking at lots of product developments and other elements to service our predominantly UK player base more effectively, and longer term we are looking at other potential growth areas such as new markets and new sites. Obviously I can’t divulge too much but let’s just say I’m very optimistic about the future, both short and long term.