The impact bonus changes will have on acquisition strategies

It has been a turbulent time for the gambling industry lately, with the bonus and advertising changes affecting how casinos market bonus offers without wagering requirements to new customers.

The CMA has been driving significant change toward the removal of wagering requirements on deposit bonus offers causing operators and affiliates to re-think their acquisition tactics and consider other ways to promote their brands.

We’re bringing you the finer points on what exactly you need to consider about these upcoming regulation changes and help you to look at where and how you can innovate around these changes to acquire new customers.

Investigation and ruling

The latest ruling from the CMA comes as a result of an investigation that they kicked off back in 2016. They had initially targeted Ladbrokes Coral, PT Entertainment and William Hill but they also announced their intention to roll out this regulation to the rest of the industry.

These brands have now agreed that they will allow players to withdraw their wins, without terms and conditions or wagering requirements being applied. The investigation originated from the high number of complaints that came from players about the unfair conditions that they were experiencing on these sites.

With this latest ruling, sites will have to decide whether they want to reduce their terms or get rid of their bonuses altogether. This is all in a move to protect players for predatory terms, which could end up damaging the industry as a whole – as it creates a sense of distrust.

Saying goodbye to Bonus wagering requirements

It seems that UK gambling sites will need to fall in line by removing restrictive policies. This will include policies that force players to ‘play multiple times’ otherwise known as wagering requirements.

If they do still have some terms in place, then these need to be disclosed to players from the outset. This is a subjective one though, so we may need to keep our eyes on further rulings to see what exactly is meant by “acceptable” and what isn’t.

Finally, the last part of this ruling takes target at the publicity clauses that many sites have. Some UK sites deem that you can’t be paid out a large jackpot unless you consent to information being published about you. For some users, this can represent an unfair term, as they don’t want others to know about their win.

Affiliates are also keen to see positive change in the way players are marketed to. Pavlos Sideris, from an affiliate who’s site is dedicated to promoting no wagering casino bonus offers said: “We fully support these changes as more transparency increases player awareness and fairer bonuses. We have seen in recent months with more and more operators launching wager-free and fair promotions.”

How should we move forward?

If casinos are no longer able to use the wagering requirements that keep their bonuses active, then their whole acquisition and marketing strategy could change. This means may mean another change all of your content and banners to ensure that they are accurately reflecting the popular and approved promotions – yet again.

Free spins have been heralded as a saviour in the wake of the bonus tax, but generally speaking these come part and parcel with more terms. On a typical free spins offer, you’ve got a spin value, a win cap, wagering requirements and more. This could compound the issue further and make it more difficult for sites to convey all the different terms.

We could see more wager free bonus spins coming into play that would allow players to withdraw their winnings in accordance with the new regulations. These still incorporate an element of chance within them, which reduces the amount that they can potentially cost the casino site in terms of marketing costs for bonus money applications.

Thomas McBride Head of Marketing, from  said “Acquiring new casino players is vitally important for our business but we see more of a focus being placed on improving our retention strategies in the wake of these wager requirement changes. Whilst we still offer value added bonus incentives to new customers , ultimately this change also makes our existing players become even more valuable. “

Other incentives to attract and retain players 

Affiliates can also help operators to garner loyalty and retention now rather than pushing just for new players. With higher revenue share deals in place, affiliates could consider building loyalty incentives exclusive for their customers with partnered casino’s who want to work collaboratively to support new player growth. The fact is that casino customers tend to play across a range of sites, taking up the best welcome offers where possible. If these offers are no longer available, then affiliates and operators need to identify ways to keep their players churning to support the current ecosystem of remunerations – or perhaps look at creating new ways to incentivise trials.

Making the right partnerships with the right operators to continue to drive commissions is essential. You can funnel your traffic to sites in which you can get players to convert over and over again. With the correct affiliate deals, this can be more profitable for you too.

These new guidelines will be hitting the industry within the coming year according to the CMA, but there’s no industry wide deadline in place as of yet. They’re starting with some of the larger operators, which will begin to impact affiliates. More changes are on the way and we will need to assess whether the same acquisition offers can be effective when these are in place.

If you are a casino affiliate , you might want to consider attending this year’s AffiliateFEST which focusses on helping casino affiliates to get ahead of market change, updates on industry regulation and follow new digital marketing trends. Registration for affiliates is FREE for the first 100 qualified affiliate applicants.  

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