How One Industry Made Me a Millionaire
This industry helped me earn more than $50 million before turning 30.
There’s a tiny island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea where many young entrepreneurs go to make millions. These young millionaires often have similar characteristics like being risk-takers, hustlers and innovators, but they also share something else: They're casino affiliates.
The online casino and gambling industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the world, and many of the most successful affiliates in this industry (myself included) made their name on the tiny island of Malta.
This country of fewer than 500,000 people has taken on the role of “Las Vegas” for the online casino industry and it’s the headquarters of huge gaming companies and affiliates. While you don’t need to live in Malta to be an online casino mogul, most of the great ones do.
I spent 10 years of my life in Malta, and built one of the largest gaming affiliates in the world, Catena Media, while earning more than $50 million before turning 30.
So, what’s so interesting about being a gambling affiliate?
The appeal of being an online affiliate
Many entrepreneurs are drawn to the affiliate industry because of its low barriers to entry. Every business has hurdles to overcome before you can launch, and some of those hurdles are shorter or taller than others.
No matter how much you like space or understand rockets, you’re not going to easily compete with Elon Musk and SpaceX. The barriers to entry into that industry are huge. Not only would you need hundreds of millions of dollars, but you’d need licensing, expertise and other non-financial assets that are difficult to acquire.
However, the hurdles to becoming an online affiliate are relatively small. You simply need to sign-up as an affiliate for a company, purchase a domain and hosting service, create a website and begin posting content with affiliate links. Most savvy entrepreneurs could create and launch an online affiliate site in one day for under $20.
What’s appealing about the online casino space?
The online casino and the entire online gambling industry in the United States is one of the more promising sectors at the moment. In fact, the U.S. online gambling industry was valued at $1.978 billion in 2020 and has an estimated compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.3% over the next 5 years.
As more states begin to legalize online gambling and sports betting, you can expect to see this sector grow exponentially. This opportunity is what makes the online casino and gambling industry so appealing to young entrepreneurs.
What type of skills do you need?
When I launched my first online casino affiliate website, my partner and I had to build the website from scratch — which required some level of web development competency. However, today’s landscape is much different and anyone can launch a clean, optimized affiliate website with little to no knowledge of coding or web design.
Platforms like WordPress, Wix and Squarespace are built around making it simple for anyone to create a professional-looking website, and their tools help you do just that.
While you don’t need a complex website to make money, you will want to create an optimized website — which is what really separates you from other casino affiliates.
Getting started with website optimization
While many industries are built around pay-to-play marketing tactics like Google Ads, Facebook Ads and other paid advertising, the online gambling industry is very much built around organic search — specifically, on Google.
For example, if someone lived in a state with legal online gambling like New Jersey and decided they wanted to gamble from home, they might search for “best online casino in New Jersey”, which would display a list of web pages related to that search.
As an affiliate, your goal is to be the top result for a given search term, which typically has a 31.7% click-through rate. The higher up your result on the page, the more traffic your website gets, and the more traffic your website gets, the more affiliate revenue.
Fortunately, there are several easy tips to practice good search engine optimization on your casino affiliate site.
Write quality content, often
In the world of SEO, content is king. But, more important than just creating good content is posting content regularly. Google is yearning for compelling, relevant content because its entire model is built around displaying searchers with the best result for their queries.
If you can consistently deliver better quality content than your competition as it relates to casino reviews, gambling news or sports betting insights, Google will eventually realize this and display your content higher in its results.
Zig while others zag
A lot of online casino affiliates go after the same main search terms. While these might be some of the most searched, they are often the most competitive, which makes it hard for new casino affiliates to rank highly.
Fortunately, there are millions of terms people search and you don’t have to always compete for the hardest search terms. If you want, you can optimize your website for more specific searches like branded and long-tail keywords.
While the market for secondary or long-tail search terms might be smaller, they are less competitive. This gives you a better chance of earning the top result.
Don’t neglect technical SEO
Creating ideas and content are great ways to improve your SEO, but there are other technical areas of your site that must also be optimized if you want the best chance for success. From your page load speed to mobile optimization, don't neglect to build a technically sound website.
Know your target audience
The goal of any online affiliate is to attract specific people to your website so that they can click your affiliate links. Therefore, casino affiliates should understand their target market intimately to deliver the best results.
In most cases, casino players land on an affiliate site for a few main reasons.
They are looking for the best casino: Since “best” is subjective, a good affiliate will provide rankings of online casinos based on different measurements like promotions, game library, customer service and reliability.
They are looking for the best bonuses: Online casinos use bonuses to attract new players or entice more gambling on their platform. Players might visit an affiliate because they want to quickly and easily see active casino promotions.
They are looking for entertainment or information: Someone might land on a casino affiliate website if they are looking for more information or because they are interested in a specific topic. For example, if someone wants to learn how to play slots, they might visit an affiliate’s resource on playing slots.
Not only should casino affiliates better understand their target audience, but they should also coordinate their site so that players who visit for different reasons can quickly and easily navigate to the information they want.
How do casino affiliates make money?
Making money as an online casino affiliate is pretty straightforward. In fact, most online casinos have a seamless process for becoming an affiliate that can be done in a single day.
The process is basically:
Create a website or digital asset (social media page could suffice)
Apply for an online casino affiliate program from the casino’s website
Get accepted into the program and receive a tracking link
Use this tracking link on your site or social asset
Someone clicks your link and signs up at that casino
They make a deposit and begin playing
You receive a commission based on the agreement
The process is structured so that affiliates only earn money when they are successful at sending active players to the casino. This relationship benefits both parties and is low-risk for everyone. The casino gets more players and the affiliate earns money by sending players to that casino. The affiliate can work as hard as they would like and the casino only pays when results are positive.
How do casino affiliates get paid?
Casino affiliate software will ask you to input your bank account information for direct deposit payments or they may send you a check in the mail. These commission payments are based on how the affiliate deal is structured between you and the casino.
Generally speaking, there are two main payment structures:
- Revenue Share: You earn a percentage of your registered players' losings.
- Cost-Per-Acquisition (CPA): You earn a set price per depositing player.
Should you become an online casino affiliate?
The online gambling industry is one of the fastest-growing and most lucrative sectors today. In the coming years, more and more states will legalize online gambling and new casinos and technologies will enter the space. It’s not hard to see why so many entrepreneurs are considering becoming online casino affiliates.
There’s definitely money to be made in this industry, but it doesn’t mean it’s easy. However, if you can stay focused and commit yourself to delivering quality to your visitors, you might be the next young millionaire looking at condos in Malta.
Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor