As a gambling industry commentator, I’ve spent most of my life talking about Sportsbooks, Casinos, and Bingo sites. Heck, I’ve even spent a whole lot of time chatting about lotteries of all things. The underlying theme and of course, the awful truth behind all of it, is always the same. And it almost always will be.
The gambling industry as a whole relies heavily on partnerships with online affiliates. How this works is pretty simple. People not dissimilar to us create and develop websites that offer potential players information regarding the gambling product in question and then send those potential players on to the operator and take a percentage of the net revenue created. I’m sure that you, as a reader and likely someone who is interested in finding a genuinely good betting home for yourself finds this to be a reasonable proposition. After all, it’s the affiliate that’s put in all the hard work here, collected the information, wrote about it in a good manner, and marketed their website and so on. And actually, I would completely agree with you. On the surface, this is a great business model. Players get the operator that’s right for them, affiliates create an income and operators get new business.
Unfortunately you don’t have to dig too far beyond the surface to discover that actually, the truth is far from the rosy picture of free market capitalism that’s painted above.
So let’s get the shovel out....
5 Reasons Most of what you read online about Sportsbooks is untrue
The Ugly Truth Revealed
1 - Top 10 Lists.
The vast majority of affiliates do not decide on which Sportsbooks to promote by testing them out to find out which is the best. It’s not based on user friendliness, customer service, interesting design, trustworthiness, strong promotions or whatever other scoring factor you come across online. Actually it’s based on just three things. The level of commission offered by the operator, how many clicks turn in to registrations and how many registrations become depositors. When you read about an online Sportsbook on almost any gambling comparison website... The reason that Sportsbook is there is based on the above.
I hope that you’ll agree when I suggest that this culture of monetization reaches a level of dishonestly that’s on the wrong side of any imaginary red line you may have preconceptions of. (there are no red lines).
2 - Misleading Statements
Something that I’m sure you see quite often when your browsing through Google search results are terms like “best odds only at” or “xyz free bet only available through us”. Both these things are almost always untrue. Certainly the best odds element. Odds are fluid things that are constantly changing all over the market. It’s a little like saying, invest in Apple, the fastest growing stock in the exchange, and simply stating it as a fact that will last till the end of time. Except what makes it even worse is that by the time the affiliate has hit upload on their WordPress dashboard, the statement is probably already false.
The other side to this is the idea that you can only get “xyz free bet or offer” if you click through a certain website. Well let me be the bearer of some news here. If you simply go directly to the Sportbook itself and straight up ask them for that offer, they will be happy to give you it.
3 - Search Engines
When you Google a term like, “best no deposit Sportsbook”, the web pages you are given know exactly what you want. They know essentially which category of player you fit in to and even the kind of strategies required to make you more likely to deposit and not just register and take the free bet. Moreover, they have no interest in showing you genuinely good free bets. Far from it. In fact, it’s often the case that you’ll find an array of sportsbooks that either offer a low minimum deposit (and no free bet), or a choice of actual free bets which are so wrapped up in terms and conditions you’ll likely end up depositing anyway.
Is that providing a real answer to your search query? I don’t think so.
The same is true on the opposite end of the scale. If you search for a term along the lines of “best high roller Sportsbooks”, you won’t find a list of Sportsbooks that are highly suitable to the needs of higher stakes gambling. Instead, you’ll find a sales funnel that is conversion rate driven and completely based around the psychology of the typical higher stakes bettor. So it’s completely true that even before you click one of your Google search results, you are already being categorised in to a group that will be more likely to make “us” a profit if presented with XYZ.
Is that providing a real answer to your search query? I don’t think so.
4 - Unlicensed Gambling
Perhaps that’s a term that you’re not too familiar with. But let’s be clear here. All affiliates, good and bad, are very familiar with this term. Essentially we’re talking about a Casino, Sportsbook, Bingo site or any gambling operator which is operating without a licence in a country that requires a licence to do so. Generally the law is bypassed by operating the gambling site from an offshore country untouchable by the law of the land it’s promoting to.
Ladies and gentlemen, these operators are everywhere. Some of the big names you spin slots at, place bets at, maybe every day... could well be one of them. These operators don’t have to be bound by the rigorous terms and conditions regime required by the likes of the UK Gambling Commission, and you certainly wouldn’t be able to act on it if you won a £1,000,000 progressive slot and they didn’t pay.
But then if you think back... Why didn’t the website you seen the ad on tell you about this underground scandal which has swept through the industry from day 1? Surely it’s the responsibility of marketers to lay bare to this obviously vital information.
Well... In case you hadn’t already worked it out. These operators tend to pay a higher commission, so very often the affiliates are the last people willing to talk about them.
5 - Social Media Affiliates
This is a breed of affiliate that will very rarely allow their audience to even know that they are an affiliate (something I deem to be completely wrong). They will more often than not call themselves tipsters.
Now I won’t deny the truth of the fact that there are some excellent tipsters out there. For instance, we don’t tip very often but we hired the services of a professional for our Cheltenham piece which eclipsed 90% in success. But this wasn’t done for profit; we’d have made more money if everyone simply lost. We did this because we believe in what this industry is supposed to be. A hub of information on the side of the player and the operators with the leaning always going towards the player, never the other way around. And of course we made it abundantly clear that these are just suggestions in case the reader just doesn’t know anything about the horses.
The unfortunate truth about tipsters, often even the good ones. Is that they are encouraging an increased feeling in the prospective player that they are likely to win. A player which has clicked through and deposited to a Sportsbook on the advice of a tipster, feels more certain of winnings than one that didn’t. Maybe that’s stating the obvious but it’s important talk about. Because it’s wrong. These players have no more chance of winning than the next guy. No tipster is good enough to make that true, unless of course their name is Mystic Meg! So in my humble opinion, tipsters are doing wrong by players here and it goes against the very fabric of what we’re supposed to be doing as affiliates.
There’s Nothing Quite like the Truth
Now that you’re fully aware of the truth about Sportsbook marketing, I truly do hope that you feel a little refreshed. Certainly now you have a few more tools with which to use when making your next choice when it’s time to bet on that exciting derby games, or “that” horse your mate keeps banging on about. What was the name again? Do email us!
So now let’s talk about a few industry secrets you can make use of to genuinely get the most from your betting experience. A couple of interesting ‘hacks’ if you will.
The 3 Sportsbook Hacks that Nobody is Talking About
You didn’t get them from me... no, really!
1 - Free bets and bonuses
The retention and acquisition department of any Sportsbook worth its salt is always inexplicably linked with the customer service department (we call them the CRM guys). 9 times out of 10, the decision on an enhanced bonus or an extra free bet is nothing more than a swivel of the computer chair and a quick question away for the person you’re talking with on live chat. Customer service at an online gambling operator is no different from the customer service at your phone or electricity supplier. You can push them for a better deal! They don’t want to lose your business. So if you ever feel like trying it... Here’s the killer chat.
You: “Hi there, I just signed up and wanted to have a quick chat”
Operator: “Sure what do you need? + obligatory security questions”
You: “Well, I’m planning to do all my betting on this year’s World Cup (or any event) at your Sportsbook and intend to make quite a lot of deposits. Could you please extend another deposit bonus on to deposit 2 and 3 so that I can make the most out of my budget”
Operator: “I’m terribly sorry sir we aren’t necessarily able to do that”
You: “Could you please ask as I will have to continue shopping around otherwise. I need to find the right Sportsbook for this”
Operator: “Ok I’ve spoken with my supervisor and he has agreed that we can offer you the typical welcome bonus + XYZ”
End of conversation.
That’s typically how it goes. That “XYZ”.... You’ll always get it.
So when an affiliate website offers you an exclusive bonus. It’s just that they did that conversation before you. You’ll get more if you just do it yourself.
2 - The Best Odds
Everyone will price match manually on a decent sized bet. (£40 upwards). If your sportsbook doesn’t have the best odds and you can’t be bothered switching. Jump on to live chat. They’ll do it to keep you. Normally they’ll enhance it a little to make sure.
3 - Ran out of funds but still have a bet to place? Don’t worry!
It’s such an annoying feeling. You deposit £40 in anticipation of some exciting live betting during the weekend’s matches. You spend ages checking out form and tips until you finally decide what you’re probably going to bet on. Problem is, that match is 3 hours away. And when it finally arrives, you’ve already dwindled away your wagers on cheeky little in play bets that didn’t come through for you. So annoying.
Well, there’s even a trick for this one. Jump on live chat. You have a bet you really want to place now but you can’t deposit again until the morning (which you intend on doing). Please may I have a free bet.
You’ll have to push. But you’ll usually get it. Although this one is likely going to work only once or twice.
The one thing left to cover, what is a good Sportsbook?
And Where Will I Find Them?
It’s a really simple question and actually the answer is also really simple. A good Sportsbook is a Sportsbook that you enjoy using. They all essentially do the same thing and knowing which one is right for you can only come from experience. It’s unfortunate that for most people, they’re not using the Sportsbook that’s best for them. They sign up to one, get used to it and are forever blind to the excellent options out there. Often these are the Sportsbooks that are constantly all over the television (some of them are good by the way).
Still need help deciding what a good Sportsbook is to you?
Okay, here’s how I decide.
- Loads bets quickly in to the slip without lag (I love live betting).
- Has a design that doesn’t wear on the eye after a while.
- Has a very responsive live chat.
- Has a good system for in play football coverage. Either live stream or stats animation.
- Does a good job of covering major events.
- My inbox gets hit with cool promotions a few times a week.
- Has a Casino too which includes my favourite slots.
It’s as simple as that folks!