GPWA Times Magazine - Issue 17 - September 2011

GREG theGman You posted recently that you were drawn into the online gambling industry by the parties, the ladies, the coolness of the webmasters – and the money. You also said that you once worked as a program manager. Please elaborate, and explain how/why you made the transition from manager to affiliate. I said all of the above in jest but I have had a fantastic time as both an AM and now as an affiliate. I be- came an affiliate almost by default. The company that I worked for bought a net- work and simply did not know what to do with it after having a major fallout with the affiliate it had bought the network from. I decided to take a chance and pur- chase some sites from them and do my own thing. It has been hard going but very rewarding on a personal growth level. The hardest part of becoming an affili- ate for me was to get used to working by myself. I do have a team of people but ev- eryone works remotely from different lo- cations around the globe. Previous to that as an AM I was in a very lively, creative of- fice. Now I get to entertain myself, which some days is hard going. One of my great friends, Moshe from Vegas Kings, told me way back that this industry was the coolest with the nicest people. On the whole I tend to agree with him. I like the ideas and the creativity that live within this part of the industry and the challenge of actually getting play- ers to an excellent destination. I think that because I was an AM the tran- sition to affiliate was a lot easier. I already understood a lot about what needed to be done. I do admit, though, that there has been a steep learning curve. As an AM I was told by an affiliate friend, “You AMs are all lazy; why don’t you become an af- filiate, and then you will see what work is.” Unfortunately he was right. I would not change it for the world, though. About a year and a half ago, you decided to stop promoting casinos and focus on bingo. How long after that was it when you launched Euromillions and Online Casino World? All of the sites came about at the same time; if you take a look at the sites you can actually witness the learning curve. Bingo actually took me by surprise. When I started there were very few people in the U.K. focusing purely on bingo. I de- cided to do just that and educate myself about the game. There are now some fan- tastic bingo portals and the online version of the game has developed massively in the U.K. I guess we are also fortunate to be in a jurisdiction where it was legal and so I am sure that this has helped the game as well. I have not really had the opportunity or capacity to do much with Euromillions and Online Casino World due to the de- mands of bingo; I still maintain a very healthy bingo network and presence and subsequently workload. Are you a full-time online gambling af- filiate, or do you hold down another job as well? You must be joking! Another job as well as this? I wouldn’t have time to sleep. I am a full-time affiliate. At the moment 90 percent of my time is spent within the gaming sphere but because of recent events I am looking at other niches. What do you like about the industry? I enjoy the networking, I enjoy the people – I know that sounds corny, but it’s true – and I enjoy the parties. Who wouldn’t enjoy traveling the globe and seeing some fantastic people a few times a year? What don’t you like about the industry? I don’t like the fact that there is no transpar- encywithin this industry. I had long-stand- ing VIP players at a massive Microgaming affiliate program that conveniently disap- peared when the global economic crisis came about. They have never returned. The fact that a program can do what it wants, when it wants, with no checks and balances, makes me very uneasy. We now pick and choose our partners very care- fully. I tend to promote those that I have a personal relationship with and that have solid standing within the industry rather than going for the best revenue or money options. As a community, we have been hard hit by a number of disgraceful antics by programs in recent times. It’s the lack of transparency that seriously annoys me. What surprised you the most about the industry? The kindness and love shown to members and their families within the gaming community. The recent loss of some the best-known affiliates has shown that this industry does have a heart and does give a lot back. What did you do before you joined the online gaming industry? I worked as a broker consultant for a massive assurance company. Very suit and tie stuff. Formal and stiff are better words for that. As an affiliate the words that spring to mind are vibrant and fun. How long do you give yourself for re- sponding to e-mail? And what e-mail tips can you offer? I tend to answer e-mail pretty quickly. It’s only PMs that take me a while to get to. My tip is to essentially reread e-mail and try to put yourself in the senders’ shoes when reading it. I always try to understand what motivates a person to send e-mail and hopefully I will be able to provide assistance. How do you manage your “to-do” lists? Do you use any special software to help you out? I utilize my wife’s organiza- tional abilities and I have a super lady in Budapest who works for me organizing my to-do list. I am currently rolling out a number of sites so am preoccupied with that. Without the two of them I would be lost. I don’t currently use any special soft- ware. We make use of Excel and Word and Google Calendar. Very basic, I know, but Nelson Mandela, Hunter S. Thompson and Jenny Woo in the same room? It’s dinnertime at the Gman’s! GPWA Affiliate Interview Series