The whole “make money online” shtick has been beaten to death by spammers and scammers, but I’m here today to tell you there are still legitimate avenues worth exploring. I can tell you this with complete certainty because it’s how I make 100% of my income to this very day. No, there are no easy tricks (that I know of). Making money online requires just as much work as any other job or business venture.
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 as of 2018. The industry has changed over the years, but I can very much assure you that there are still opportunities for those willing to put in the work. This guide explains what I have personally done myself. This is not theory. This is not a sales pitch. This is what I have actually done for the last 10 years and I will hold nothing back.
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 do not deal with any products and you are not responsible for providing ongoing customer support. All you do is send referrals to the betting sites of your choice and those betting sites take it from there.
How it Works
Nearly every mainstream gambling site has an affiliate program which offers payment in return for you sending them new customers. These affiliate programs are similar to refer-a-friend programs offered by businesses of all types. The only difference is that in gambling, you can make a whole lot more money.
If you 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 and they are the key to everything. 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 get paid.
Getting Paid: Revenue Share vs. CPA
The vast majority of online betting affiliate programs offer one of two commission plans. Most sites offer revenue share. Some also offer CPA as an alternative.
- 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.
You can read more about each type of commission plan on our affiliates page which serves as another useful resource. Our affiliates page describes the business model in more detail along with information describing how much you can potentially earn as an affiliate, which commission plan is better and more.
Let’s say you want to become an affiliate for Bet365. This is one of the biggest betting sites in the world and they have an excellent affiliate program. What you would do is visit Bet365.com and then click on the small “Affiliates” link at the bottom of the page.
This link will take you to Bet365 Affiliates and you will see a large “join now” button. Click that button and then create your account. Once you have an account, you can log in any time to see your current earnings, get your custom referral links and access other marketing materials.
Now, let’s say you get your referral link and then publish that link on your website or post it on social media. If someone clicks on that link, they will be taken to Bet365.com like normal. At this point, you have done your job. Good work.
Now, it is up to Bet365 to have a nice looking website and convince that person to sign up for an account and make a deposit. If the person you referred does indeed sign up, deposit and begin 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. An individual customer is only worth so much money on average. But when you refer your second player, now you have two players for life under your affiliate account. Maybe you refer two more players the following month – now you have four players all earning you money each month. 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. It all adds up over time. If you stick with the business long enough, you will eventually find yourself making more money than you ever would have dared to imagine.
The only problem is most people do not stick with it long enough. The early stages are rough because you’re competing in a competitive niche with many, many affiliates. It begins slowly because you have to figure out how to get your link in front of eyeballs and then most people are not lucky enough to bag a whale early. Your first referrals are usually small-time players and the money doesn’t start out looking all that big at first. Just stick with it. All that work you put in now will pay off unimaginable dividends in the future.
Now that you have made up your mind to become an online betting affiliate, it is time to get started. If you feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information to process, worry not. This is normal and expected. Take comfort knowing that you will learn what you need to learn as you go.
The single best thing you can do is just jump right in and get your hands dirty. As questions pop up, you can hit up Google for answers and learn as you go. Over time, you will become more and more proficient at all aspects of the business.
The hardest part is just figuring out where to begin. Once you have a starting point, you will build momentum and take it from there.
Step One: Choose a couple of affiliate programs
Choosing the right 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:
- It treats players well
- It treats affiliates well
- It effectively converts the traffic you send into real money players
We will get into choosing the best affiliate programs in more detail on our affiliate page, but for the sake of keeping this guide somewhat digestible, here are two quick recommendations:
- Bet365: This is a great all-around betting site with poker, sports betting, casino games, bingo and financial betting. You can earn from all of those activities. Bet365 is reputable and has a strong brand identity in many parts of the world. They treat players well and take care of their affiliates. Payments are prompt and the commission plan is generous. This has been one of my best-earning programs for years.
- ComeOn: ComeOn is similar to Bet365 in that it offers many types of gaming and has a strong reputation. However, ComeOn is newer and this may result in you seeing more conversions at ComeOn. Sometimes it seems like half the planet already has an account with Bet365. The market is not as saturated with ComeOn.
Step Two: Sign up for an affiliate account
Now it is time to sign up for an affiliate account at a couple of 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.
Visit any betting site you want to promote and look for the affiliates link on their homepage. Here’s a screenshot from the front page of Bet365 with the red arrow pointing to the link you’re looking for:
Clicking on that link will take you to Bet365Affiliates.com. This website introduces the affiliate program and is where you will log in with your account to view stats and so on. You could have just visited www.bet365affiliates.com directly, but I wanted to show how to find the affiliate program for just about every major betting site.
Now, click on the big yellow “join now” button:
Doing so will bring up your application form and from here all you need to do is fill out the information as requested.
Many sites ask for your company name and website address. If you have neither, just fill it in with something random for now. You can always update this information later. Just make sure you answer all personal information such as name, address and contact info truthfully so you can be paid later.
Fill out the information and you should be good to go.
It turns out Bet365 still manually approves each new affiliate applications. It’s been so long for me that I had forgotten they did this. No problem – just wait it out. They are not verifying that you are a business expert or anything of the sort. After they are satisfied that you’re a real person and not a robot, 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.
Let’s continue with our Bet365 example.
Once your application is approved, you can log in to your affiliate account to get your referral links, check on your earnings and see any news updates. Each affiliate program does things differently, but here’s a look from the inside of the Bet365 affiliates area:
You can get your first affiliate link by clicking on one of the options under the “add new links” section right there in the middle of the page. You will see that they have options for sports, financials, casino, poker and so on.
Select the one that most closely matches whether you plan to be recommending people to Bet365 for sports betting, financial betting, casino games or poker and the link you generate will send your referrals to a special landing page for that product.
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.
After you choose a product to promote, you will be taken to another page that allows you to create as many unique referral links as you wish. You can give each link a special name for your own records so you can track each link individually and see which links are the most effective.
For example, you might want to create one referral link that you plan to publish on your website and a different link that you use to post on Twitter. Then, you can see how many referrals each link earns in order to figure out which of your marketing tactics works the best.
Just type in a name for your link and click “add link.” This will create a new link that is unique to your account. This is the link you will be publishing online to send people to Bet365. The exact process for creating links is a bit different for each affiliate program, but that’s the basic concept.
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 even if it eventually branches out in all sorts of different directions.
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.
Your plan does not need to be perfect or overly detailed. Simply having a general idea of “where” you want to take this thing will make your life easier. It will make it easier for you to think of things to write about and it will make it easier for your visitors to understand what you have to offer.
I do not think this is something you should spend weeks agonizing over and refining. The odds are this will not be your last website. It is more important at this point in your career to just get something up and running so you can experiment and learn. Sketch out a basic plan and then move on.
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. Social media requires constant effort and promoting sites in the real world is not efficient in most cases. There are exceptions to every rule, but a website is the best way for most people to begin.
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.
Websites are also cheap. You can start a website with your own .com domain name for as little as $3.95 per month and then use that hosting plan to host as many websites as you want. Owning your own website also gives you a sense of ownership. You can play with it, experiment and learn the ropes as you go.
A quality hosting provider can help you if you get stuck and revert back in time if you make any major mistakes. There is basically nothing you can do to “break” your website forever. This makes a website the perfect starting point for anyone wanting to learn how to become an online betting 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. If you can spare $80 or so, you can buy a plan for a year to get started. This is your only real startup cost as a new affiliate.
A domain is the address people will type in to visit your website. For example, www.onlinebettingsites.com is our domain name. Most hosting plans give you one free domain to get started. You can purchase additional domains for $10 or less through your hosting company.
- I recommend getting started at Bluehost.com. They have hosted many of my websites and they are cheap, easy to use and provide high quality customer service. Bluehost also gives you one free domain name to get started. As of this writing, you can get a year of hosting and one domain through Bluehost for $83.28.
Choosing Your Domain Name
This will probably be one of your most difficult decisions as a new gambling affiliate. Remember, your domain is the name of your website; it is the .com address that people type in to reach your website. If you’re anything like I was, you will think and think – and then think some more as you try to pick the perfect name for your new website.
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.
The best domain names end in .com. You can also get a domain that ends in .net, .org or one of many other extensions, but .com is still king. The .com domain looks professional and trustworthy. Visitors will be more likely to take your advice and visit the betting sites you promote. You can still succeed with websites that end in extensions other than .com, but try to get a .com if possible.
This part will take some trial and error. A lot of the best domains were registered years ago. You can input domain names while signing up for your hosting account and the page will tell you if your domain is available. You will have to get creative but eventually you will find something that works.
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.
Note: We will be using Bluehost.com for all examples throughout this portion of the tutorial. You can use other hosting providers if you wish and this information will be roughly the same. I am simply using Bluehost because I already have an account with them and it is easier for me to grab screenshots and explain the process.
Step One: Sign up for a Hosting Plan
Visit www.bluehost.com and click on the neon green “get started now” button.
Next, select your hosting plan. I recommend starting with the cheapest option they offer. You will not be needing any advanced features for now.
Next, choose a domain name and click “next.”
You may have to try a bunch of different domain names until you find one that hasn’t been taken. This is where it helps to be creative. If your domain is taken, try adding descriptors such as “best,” “top” or “online.”
Once you find a domain that is available, the next screen will ask you to fill in your information such as name, address and so on.
This is also where you will be upsold on extra features for a price. I recommend declining all extra features except for “domain privacy protection.” Domain privacy keeps your personal details from being associated with the website in question. This will cut down on spam e-mail and phone calls.
Now, choose your payment method and check out.
Step Two: Install WordPress
WordPress is a content management system (CMS) that allows you to publish content on your website and customize the way it looks with no coding knowledge necessary. This is the most popular CMS on the internet and it is completely free. I strongly recommend all new betting affiliates begin with WordPress.
Installing WordPress is simple thanks to most hosting providers offering a “one click install” option to get you started. It’s as simple as logging in to your hosting provider and looking for the “install WordPress” logo.
At Bluehost, logging in to your hosting account takes you to this main screen:
Click on the “Install WordPress” button and follow the instructions on the screen to get your brand new website set up with WordPress.
The first step will ask you to select the domain to which you wish to Install WordPress. Select the domain you chose when you signed up for your hosting account. Here, you can see that I have chosen one of my own domains ending in .org.
Click the “next” button.
Now, you will be presented with a form that asks you to input your “Admin Information.” This is the information you will be using to log in to your WordPress installation. Choose a title for your website, a login name (Admin Username), password and e-mail address.
Click “next” again and wait for WordPress to install.
When the system is done working, you will see a page similar to the screenshot below with your login information displayed. At this point, your host may try to sell you extra features and act as if you still need to do something to complete your install. Ignore these cheap advertising methods; your WordPress installation is complete and you do not need to spend any more money.
Now you can log in to your WordPress install any time by visiting www.yourwebsite.com/wp-admin/ but replace “yourwebsite.com” with the domain name you selected. That should bring you to a page that looks like this:
Now enter the username and password you chose when inputting your “Admin Information” earlier.
If you are taken to a page that looks something like the following screenshot, you have done everything correctly. Congratulations: your website is now live on the internet.
Step Three: Publish Your First Blog Post
I’m a big believer in just diving right in to learn new things, so let’s just get right to it and have you publish your first post. This will let you get your hands dirty and establish a frame of reference for what exactly WordPress does and how it works.
If you’re looking at your WordPress dashboard (see the previous screenshot), you should see a column of options on the left side of the page. Now, click on the word “posts.”
That will take you to your main posts page. This is where you will view and manage all posts that you have published to date. The only thing you should see in there for now is the sample post that greets all of us every time we start a new website: “Hello World!”
We can ignore that for now. The first thing we need to do is deal with that message at the top that warns you your website is displaying a “Coming Soon” page. Click the words “click here” to take care of that.
Now, your website is live. Stay where you are for now and click on the “add new” button at the top of the page:
Doing so will start a blank post as you see here:
There are a lot of options you can fiddle with in here, but we’re going to keep this simple for now. Remember that you can always Google anything you don’t recognize and chances are you will find an explanation online.
Choose a title for your new post and write a few lines of text – it doesn’t have to be anything amazing. We just want to run through the process once so you can see how this all works.
Here’s my quick post:
Now click on the blue “Publish” button on the right side to publish your post.
After you hit “Publish,” open a new tab in your web browser and type in your website’s domain name. You should see your brand new post sitting there live and ready for the world. Now, anyone who visits your website will see that post.
The front page of your website should now look something like this:
Next, let’s go back in and delete that default “Hello World” post. Go back to your WordPress dashboard and visit the posts area. Now, move your mouse cursor over the “Hello World” post and then click on the red “trash” option:
That gets rid of the sample post and now all you have is the one post you have actually published so far.
Step Four: Publish Your First Affiliate Link
Now I would like to show you how to embed your affiliate links in content so you can begin referring players to your favourite betting sites.
Earlier in this guide, I explained how to get your unique affiliate link from Bet365. Go back up and see “step three” under the “Getting Started” section if you need a refresher. If you are working with Bet365, your affiliate link will look something like this:
If you are signed up with a different betting site’s affiliate program, your link will look different but it will still look something like this with the betting site’s URL and a bunch of extra characters added to the end of it.
Copy that link and go back into your WordPress dashboard, then click on “posts” and then click on the title of your first post to enter the post editor.
Now, highlight any word you want to use as your link and then click on the little paperclip icon above:
Now, paste your affiliate link into the text box and click the blue button to embed your link:
After you have embedded your link, click the blue “update” button on the right side of the screen to save your changes. Now, go back to your website and refresh to see your updated. It should now look something like this:
If someone clicks on that link, they will be directed to Bet365.com and you will be credited for having sent that player. This is how you make money as a gambling affiliate.
Of course, your posts will need to be more in-depth than the one we have used for this sample if you want to actually convince visitors to visit the betting site that you recommend.
Step Five: Learn the Basics of WordPress
Your WordPress dashboard will serve as your home base for a long time as a betting affiliate. This is where you will publish new posts, edit the way your website looks and much more. Once you have WordPress installed, you will not need to log in to your hosting provider often; the majority of the word is done here inside WordPress at your domain.
Now would be a good time to just start playing around with things. WordPress is a powerful tool, but the basics are designed to be accessible to anyone. You can try writing a new post (look for “posts” on the left side of the page) and playing around with various settings. Don’t worry, you won’t break anything.
It is an absolute guarantee that you will have questions as you move forward with your website. It is simply impossible to jump in and know everything. Remember that you can Google just about anything related to WordPress and find the answers there. Millions of websites use WordPress and the odds are good that most of your questions have already been asked by someone else before you.
I could write an entire guide just for setting up and managing WordPress in the future, but better guides are already out there elsewhere. The most important bit of work is done. Your website is now live and you can begin writing awesome articles.
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. Eventually, people will find your website and traffic will pick up.
Here are a couple more guides for getting started with WordPress:
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. You can outsource other tasks and learn everything else without too much trouble, but writing will serve you well for years to come.
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. Contrarily, if you have technical skills but are unable to produce compelling content, you will have a hard time of it.
It’s true you can outsource writing, but that is an expensive road to take if you outsource from the beginning. A new website takes time to mature and become an earner even if you write outstanding content. Paying someone else to do all that will be expensive. That’s not to mention you would also be exploring what works and what doesn’t work as a new affiliate – also expensive if you outsource.
The good news is almost anyone can become a competent writer. All it requires is practice. You can get started right now by starting your first website, installing WordPress and writing your first articles / blog posts. It may be rough in the early stages, but you will get better and better over time.
Remember also that the internet is full of writing tips and tricks. Run an occasional search for tips related to writing, especially writing for an online audience. The way you write on the internet tends to be more casual and straightforward than you were probably taught in school writing book reports.
This will all get easier with time. Seriously, just sit down and write. Make it a goal to write one new piece of content each day, week or whatever timeline works best for your schedule. The more you write, the better you will become.
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.
Take this post for example. I will most likely end up adding an affiliate link or two in order to recommend a hosting provider and to refer sub-affiliates to Bet365 or other high quality programs.
My give in this post is the in-depth tutorial you’re reading right now. I have made a serious effort at putting together an informative and useful guide for newbies. My get is the affiliate links I may eventually plug in to recommend hosting providers and betting site affiliate programs.
I believe most people don’t mind if you include affiliate links in your content as long as you are perceived as honest and transparent. If you don’t try to hide what you are and what you do, and you always give people your honest opinion, you will build good-will among your readers.
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.
Some of you will move faster, some of you will move slower and some of you will get lucky at just the right time, but there are no guaranteed shortcuts. So the first step to generating a full time income is resign yourself to the fact that you’re going to be “on the grind” for a while. If you manage to get off to a fast start, awesome. Treat that as a nice surprise. But do not go into this expecting instant results.
Getting to the point where you generate a full time income is going to be a slow work in progress. It’s not that slow if you put in the work, but what I’m saying is do not quit your day job just yet.
The best piece of advice I can offer is to keep your day job and treat your affiliate business as a hobby. Your day job may not be as glamorous as being in business for yourself, but a steady paycheck is a huge benefit that you should not give up on a whim. That steady income will keep the pressure levels low, allow you to reinvest in the business and ultimately grow it faster than if you were to quit your job and have to pay bills with your affiliate income every month.
You should only quit your day job once two factors come into play. First: when you have at least a year of expenses saved back. Second: when your affiliate business is making so much money that you conclude you are actually losing money by going to your day job.
Keep in mind also that once you quit your day job, you are 100% reliant on this being your career. If this doesn’t pan out, you’ll have to re-enter the workforce with a gap in your resume and try to explain to future employers why you quit your last job. I’m not saying it’s impossible to switch career paths down the future, but it will become more difficult. Do not make this decision lightly.
The only potential exception to this rule is if you are young, single and have no one else depending on you. Even then, I would not rule out getting experience at a normal job and still letting this be a side gig. After all, you still have all the time in the world to see where this goes.