In this edition of Affiliate Spotlight, we delve deeper into the Portuguese market. To get an affiliate’s perspective, we spoke to Eric Stoop – Infinileads SL co-founder.
Eric shares his insight on Infinileads’ affiliate site, onlinecasinosportugal.pt. In a country with such a large black market, he also discusses the importance of channelling to regulated operators – plus more.
AffiliateINSIDER: How did you decide that there was the need for a Portuguese casino comparison site?
Eric Stoop: “Before we entered the market, we noticed that most affiliates were targeting the black market for casino and sports. We saw the potential of becoming a longer-term affiliate that educates players about what the legal market can provide.
“Another factor was that we anticipated strong growth within the casino vertical, especially for slots. So far, this has exceeded our expectations.”
AI: In a regulated sense, Portugal’s online gambling market is still young.
With this in mind, do you think that entering so early has given you an advantage over other affiliates? If so, why?
ES: “There are both positives and negatives. We only target regulated operators and currently, there are fewer than 10 for casino.
“The obvious advantage is that your site accumulates authority and trust through entering a market early, which is important when you rely on SEO.
“You also drive the affiliate departments of online casinos in a forward direction, which new affiliates benefit from. Moreover, you can develop strong, long-term relationships. This enables you to keep a special position in a space with very few operator entries.”
“One problem, however, is that many online casinos in Portugal started with a brick-and-mortar business before going online. They don’t have the same experience as many brands in mature European markets, and therefore aren’t as positive about affiliates.
“Another issue is that in many cases, they add the role of Affiliate Manager to someone who is already the Head of Marketing. This initially created some friction, but you need to adapt and accept that game rules aren’t the same everywhere.”
AI: Portugal has a sizeable black market. As an affiliate, how important do you think it is to channel players towards licensed sites and why?
ES: “The problems with channelisation are the direct consequences of an unfavourable iGaming tax rate – especially for sports which is still taxed on handle – even though conditions were improved in February. Player protection is a high priority for us.
“On one side, you have the business aspect. When players can play in a protective environment, where operators don’t incentivise them to push their limits, you achieve a much higher lifetime value.
“Players should gamble with regulated operators for the following reasons.
“The terms and conditions are more transparent, while there’s a wider assortment of payment providers. The most attractive game suppliers are available, since the big ones don’t want their operators to pursue unregulated markets.
“You can also file a complaint to the regulator if you feel that you’ve been unfairly treated. And finally, your money is safer.”
AI: Following on from the above question, what in particular are you doing to educate players about the importance of gambling with regulated casino sites?
ES: “Players sometimes prefer to pick unregulated channels because they could get a better price when betting, or a more attractive deposit bonus.
“The main goal is to inform users about the benefits of a regulated market and warn about potential, often-overlooked risks of using illegal sites.
“By dedicating certain pages to these dangers, we want to ensure that the player makes a better-informed decision.”
AI: On your casino site, what are your players’ most popular game/ operator choices?
ES: “For slot machines, we see a strong demand for IGT and Novomatic games. Both have strong brand recognition, as well as a land-based presence.
“For IGT, you have popular slot machine titles like Cleopatra, Golden Goddess and Cats.
“As for Novomatic, there are classic titles – including Book of Ra Deluxe and Lady’s Lucky Charm.
“When it comes to operators, we see a similar pattern. Operators with a brick-and-mortar presence and strong branding, such as Casino Estoril and Casino Solverde, are among the most popular online casinos.”
AI: What are some of the things you do to keep players on your site engaged (e.g. fresh content initiatives)?
ES: “We constantly release and review new, free-to-play slot machines as soon as they become available. All of our reviews are up-to-date with the latest information and we try to be as detailed as possible.
“We are also introducing a feature called “verified casino”. This has already been launched in other markets. Operators can obtain this status if a representative verifies the information in their review, on our site, on a regular basis. This way, we ensure that the information players receive is as accurate as possible.”
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