Affiliate marketing is a form of advertising in which you get paid to refer customers to online merchants. You receive a commission every time you convince someone to visit a retailer or online betting site to make a purchase or place a bet.
The great thing about affiliate programs at online betting sites is that you can make a lot of money with them. Once you get established, you can literally make money while you eat, sleep and go out with your friends.
The bad thing about the business is that it takes a lot of work – work that most people aren’t willing to do.
If you’re willing to learn the trade and dedicate yourself to the business, it’s possible to make a lot of money.
How Gambling Affiliate Programs Work
Anyone can sign up for an affiliate account at almost any online betting site.
(Note: some regulated countries like the USA are licensing betting affiliates, which typically requires registering as a vendor and submitting to background investigations. Application fees in each state range from $0-$5000 and must be renewed every 1-5 years depending on the regulator.)
Once you have an account, you’ll be given custom links that are designed to track every visitor you send to the betting site. When players click on your links and create a real money account at that betting site, you are tagged as the referring affiliate.
For example, let’s say you run a blog about online baseball betting. You sign up for any sportsbook affiliate program and get your links. You can put ads on your blog, mention your favorite online sportsbooks and write reviews.
All the while, you’re putting your links in front of your readers. Eventually, some of your readers click on your links to visit your recommended sportsbooks.
You start making money when your referrals place real money bets. There are two primary methods in which affiliates can be paid: CPA and revenue share. Both have their pros and cons. Let’s take a look at each.
How Much Can Betting Affiliates Earn?
Online betting affiliates can make obscene amounts of money. Even one-man operations can make upwards of $10,000 to $15,000 a month.
I personally know a few affiliates who earn $100,000+ per month.
Granted, these guys are in the upper echelon of gambling affiliates, but they got started just like everyone else.
Some of the bigger operations earn seven figures a month. These affiliates run more like traditional businesses complete with offices and full-time employees.
The sky really is the limit. Some people are in it just to make a little extra beer or gambling money.
Others treat it like a career and earn a decent living while working from home. The hardest-working affiliates become millionaires.
Of course, you can’t go in expecting the money to just fall in your lap. The odds are you’ll start just like everyone else does: at the bottom.
How to Become an Online Betting Affiliate
This guide to becoming an online betting affiliate is not based on theory and it is not written by someone with something to sell you.
I’m simply going to explain exactly what I do and have been doing for years to make money as an online betting affiliate.
This is not a glamorous job and I won’t be trying to pump you up with motivational speeches or pictures of me posing next to rented Lamborghinis.
This guide is based on actual, hands-on experience and it is up to date. The industry has changed over the years, but there are still opportunities for those willing to put in the work.
This guide explains what I have personally done myself.
This is not a theory. This is not a sales pitch. This is what I have actually done for the last 10 years.
Simply put, you have come to the right place if you want to learn how to become an online betting affiliate.
Here’s what we’ll be covering in this guide:
- Basic overview of the affiliate model
- Getting started
- Setting up your first website
- The one skill you must develop
- Pivoting to generating a full time income
Basic Overview of the Affiliate Business Model
The simplest way to sum up being an online betting affiliate is this: you get paid to refer people to online betting sites.
For every new player you send to a betting site, you get paid. The nice thing about this business model is you are not responsible for operational details like payment processing and providing customer support.
How Sports Betting Affiliate Programs Work
Nearly every mainstream gambling site has an affiliate program that offers payment in return for you sending them new customers, similar to refer a friend betting bonuses.
Visit the website of nearly any online bookmaker or casino, you will usually see a small link that says “affiliates.” Click on that and you’ll go to a page that explains how that site’s affiliate program works and be given the choice to sign up as an affiliate.
Once you create an affiliate account, the program will give you special links that you can send to your friends, post on social media or publish on your website. These are your referral links.
Whenever someone clicks on your custom referral link, that person is sent to the betting site. If that person goes on to sign up for an account, make a deposit and gamble, you earn a commission.
Getting Paid: Revenue Share vs. CPA
The vast majority of online betting affiliate programs offer one of two commission plans.
- Revenue share: This is a commission plan in which you earn a percentage of each customer’s expenditures. So if you refer a new player under a 25% revenue share plan and that player goes on to lose £100 betting on sports, you would earn £25.
- CPA: CPA stands for “cost per acquisition.” This is a commission plan in which you are paid a flat fee for each new real money customer you refer. For example, a betting site may offer you £100 for each new customer who signs up and deposits at least £25.
Let’s say you want to become an affiliate for Bet365, one of the biggest betting sites in the world and they have an excellent affiliate program.
Visit the Bet365 Affiliates page and create your account. Once you have an account, you can log in to see your current earnings, get your custom referral links and access other marketing materials.Now, let’s say you publish a referral link on your website or post it on social media. If someone clicks on that link, they will be taken to Bet365.com.
If the person you referred signs up, deposits, and begins playing, you have just achieved what we call a conversion. You referred a potential customer, and Bet365 converted your referral into a real money player.
Now, here’s the good part. That person you just referred is flagged as someone you sent and you will receive 30% commission on that player’s activity for life.
So, if that person you referred gambles and loses £100 in their first month, you will receive £30 in commission. If that person loses £300 the following month, you receive an additional £90. This continues for the lifetime of that player.
This lifetime commission model is what makes being a gambling affiliate so lucrative.
This adds up over time as you grow a larger and larger player base and your monthly commission payments grow larger and larger.
The average referral is a small-time player who doesn’t earn a whole lot each month, but it adds up over time. Plus, you’ll bag the occasional whale who gambles a lot and that too will help your bottom line.
Most affiliates do not stick with it long enough.
The early stages are rough because you’re competing in a competitive niche with many established affiliates.
Now that you have decided to become an online betting affiliate, it is time to get started. The single best thing you can do is jump right in.
Over time, you will become more and more proficient in all aspects of the business.
Step One: Choosing Affiliate Programs
Choosing the right sports betting affiliate programs is an important part of this business because your income depends on these companies paying you as agreed.
Additionally, your reputation as a business owner is impacted by how these companies treat the players you refer to them.
There are three key traits to look for in a betting affiliate program:
- Treats players well
- Treats affiliates well
- Effectively converts the traffic you send into real money players
Step Two: Sign up for an affiliate account
Now it is time to sign up for an affiliate account at online betting sites so you can get your unique links and begin referring players.
It is free to sign up and most affiliate programs approve you immediately. All you have to do is fill out a form and your account is ready to go.
Your affiliate account will serve as your base of operations for each program with which you work. This is where you will log in to see how much money you have earned, where you will get your referral links, speak with your affiliate manager, receive updates and browse various marketing materials.
Note: From here on out, we will be using Bet365 as our example for this tutorial. You can apply this information to any affiliate program. Some things will be different from program to program, but the basic outline is the same wherever you go.
Fill out the information and you should be good to go.
There’s no need to let this part of the process slow you down. While you wait for your application to be approved, you can sign up for additional affiliate programs, start your website and begin producing content.
Step Three: Get Your Affiliate Links
Your unique referral links are the key to becoming an online betting affiliate. These are the links you will send to your friends and publish online in order to receive credit for sending new players to the betting site of your choice.
Whenever someone uses one of your affiliate links to visit a betting site, you are credited for having sent that player.
Note: Do not worry about being pigeonholed into one specific type of gambling product. All players you refer are tagged to your account for all products. If you send someone to Bet365 to bet on sports but that person ends up playing poker, you will still receive commission for their poker activity. Each type of link simply sends players to a page on Bet365.com that emphasizes one form of gambling over the others.
Now that you have your own referral link, it’s time to share that link with the world and start earing referrals. You can post this link on social media, e-mail it to your friends or post it to your own website.
I and everyone I know in the business have always had the best success starting our own websites, so that’s what we will be focusing on for the rest of this guide.
Step Four: Make a Basic Plan for Your Website
Now it is time to start thinking about what you want your website to be about beyond just something to do with the subject of “betting” in general. A good website has some sort of central guiding theme or targets a specific niche.
Will your website specialize in offering sports betting advice, reviewing betting sites or something else?
Some websites do a little bit of everything but have a central, unifying theme such as tailoring all their advice to newbies, small stakes gamblers or high rollers.
Setting Up Your First Online Betting Website: Step by Step Guide
Running your own website is the most efficient way to become an online betting affiliate.
A website is always on and always working on your behalf. Once you have a website up and running, it never sleeps and can always earn. It can earn money while you sleep or while you go on vacation. Websites do require ongoing work to stay relevant, but ultimately this is the most efficient way to make money online as a gambling affiliate.
What You Need
You need two things to start your own website:
- A hosting plan
- A domain name
A hosting plan is a service you purchase which allows you to put your website out onto the internet. Providers such as BlueHost, HostGator, GoDaddy and many others sell hosting plans for just a few bucks a month.
A domain is the address people will type in to visit your website. For example, www.onlinebettingsites.com is our domain name.
Choosing Your Domain Name
You can read in-depth guides for picking domain names elsewhere so I’ll keep this simple. A quality domain name has three key traits:
- It is descriptive
- It is easy to remember
- It is preferably a .com domain
Descriptive means your visitors know what the website is about as soon as they see the domain name. Preferably, your domain includes the words “betting,” “gambling” or some such variation. Let people know what your site is about.
Your domain name should be easy to remember.
Don’t make it too complicated or lengthy. If your domain name includes hyphens, misspellings or does other funny things such as replace the letter “O” with a zero, it will be difficult for visitors to remember your website and come back later – not to mention look unprofessional.
One last thing: don’t stress too much over your domain name. While you do want something decent, it does not need to be perfect. The content you publish and your reputation as a trustworthy provider of gambling information will be critical to your success.
A premium domain name is a bonus but it is not necessary for success.
Now, let’s move on to the actual step-by-step process for setting up your first website from start to finish.
- Step One: Sign up for a Hosting Plan
- Step Two: Install WordPress
- Step Three: Publish Your First Blog Post
- Step Four: Publish Your First Affiliate Link
- Step Five: Learn the Basics of WordPress
The goal from here on out is to produce high-quality content that draws visitors to your website. Embed your affiliate links in strategic locations through your content and keep producing high-quality content.
The One Skill You Must Develop
This is the closest I’ll get to pitching “one weird trick for success.” There is one skill that I believe you must develop for success: effective communication.
This means being able to effectively communicate ideas and information either through the written word, video or audio.
For most online betting affiliates, learning how to write is the most important skill to develop. You may be able to take a different route utilizing video or audio, but most information and advertising done on the internet still involves writing.
Become a competent writer and success will follow. This is the one skill above all others that you must take the time to develop.
If you have no other fully developed skills but can write in a manner that is engaging and produce content that your visitors find useful or entertaining, you can succeed in this business.
High-quality writing is your “give” and affiliate links are your “get.” What this means is you give the readers high quality and useful content. In return, you embed a few well-placed affiliate links in an effort to get money.
Pivoting to Generating a Full Time Income
There is a lot of ground to cover between “day one” and “this is my career now.” Most of you will start slowly just like I did. If you manage to refer five real money players in your first month, you are way ahead of the curve. I think it took me a good two months to even refer my first real money player.
Getting to the point where you generate a full time income is going to be a slow work in progress.
Mike Murphy is the founder of OnlineBettingSites.com and has over 10 years of experience in the legal online betting industry. A regular attendee of industry trade shows and conferences, Mike is a strong proponent of regulated markets and responsible gambling policies.