GPWA Times Magazine - Issue 29 - July 2014

Want tosucceedonline? Try running55bettingshopsfirst. You'veworked in the gambling industry for the last 25 years. Nearly 20 of those yearswere spent as anowner andman- ager of a "medium-sized betting busi- ness in the U.K." Can you tell us a little bit about that business, and why you decided to sell your shops toGalaCoral in2007? We started thebetting shopbusi- ness way back in 1989 and progress was very slow for many years. We kept rein- vesting, however, and the switch in the U.K. to gross profits tax (GPT) in 2001 made a big difference, particularly as it meant that FixedOdds Betting Terminals were viable in shops under the new tax regime. We received a good offer for the business in 2007 fromCoral for 40 shops and that meant that we could dispose of those mature shops and continue with the remaining 15 shops, the successful telebetting business we had and also a planned sportsbook. Did that experience with betting shops leadyou into theonline industry? When did you launch your sites? And did your experience as a brick-and-mortar busi- ness owner help you as you developed your online business? In addition to the great retail experience, I also had hands- onexperienceofowningandrunninga te- lebetting and online sportsbook business. The sportsbook business was developing very quicklywhen our 50 percent private equity owners and one other shareholder decided in 2009 that the futurewas in re- tail andnot online! Needless to say I left shortlyafter that and set up the affiliate business in 2010. The previous experience was obviously enor- mouslyhelpful. How does running a betting shop com- pare to running an affiliate site? What are thesimilaritiesandwhatare thema- jor differences? I part owned and man- ageda chainof 55betting shopswithover 300 staff (twice) so the challenges arevery different.Nowwe employ 10 staff,which allows me to have a much closer link to all day-to-day activities and work from home. The sports betting theme is what runs through the twobusinesses, andour deepunderstandingof thebettingmarket has allowed the affiliate business to pros- per in a relatively short time frame. All of your sites are primarily sports- booksites,with two–FreebetsandBest Free Bets – also offering bingo and/or casino games. Any plans to change the mixonanyof your sites? is ourmain siteandweareactivelypushing bingoand casinonowwithgoodprogress being made. Following the World Cup I am hoping to launch additional sites in other verticals. Freebet sites canbe tricky. Playerswho take advantage of freebet offers aren't always lookingtomakeadeposit.What's the typical conversion rate for you on players who sign up through your free bet offers in a givenmonth? Conversion rates are good and probably higher than the industryaverage.No-deposit freebets arenot a largepart of our siteofferings. How are your horse racing sites doing lately? Do you think the online betting public is currently taking a renewed in- terest in the sport after somany years of spending their gamblingmoney else- where? We had a recordCheltenham this year but overall I think there is a slowde- cline still takingplace in the general pub- lic’s interest inhorse racing in theU.K. How longdid it take foryouronlinesites to start earning money? Once through the first 12months,most of the sites have started togeneratedecent revenue. How often do you get to see and inter- act with other people in the industry? I work from a separate office within my house and generally hold meetings with staff every twoweeks. What traits do you look for in an affili- ate manager? How about in an affiliate program? Thevastmajorityof theaffiliate managers are good professional people. The affiliate programs do vary consid- erably but we work mostly with the top bookmakers in theU.K. and theprograms aregenerally fair and transparent. What’s your preferred method of com- munication with affiliate managers? Do you like to talk on the phone, by e-mail or viaSkype? All of the above. What prompted you to join the GPWA? Howhas ithelpedyou? I think theGPWA Seal ofApproval is important and the as- sociationoffers great support to affiliates, particularly those just startingup. What do you like about the industry? Betting has always been my passion, so this is the only industry I ever wanted to work in. If you could changeone thing about the industry,whatwould itbe? In someareas there is still a perception that the gam- bling industry is a bit seedy! It would be great if thosepeople could see the light. What do your family and friends think of yourworkas anaffiliate? They love it but I amnot convinced they reallyunder- stand it! GPWA AFFILIATE INTERVIEW SERIES DAVE dapbet GPWA Affiliate Interview Series