US Rising, eSports Emerging, Post-PASPA Potential and more (Part 1)

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The online gaming industry continues to be relentless in its rate of growth and evolution. To better illustrate this reality, we sought feedback from some of the industry's most insightful stakeholders via our third annual affiliate marketing survey. The affiliate responses that we received also informed our contribution to the 2018 EGR Affiliate Report.The full article can be found on page 13 in the report’s online edition. We’ll be presenting the article here in two parts, with the first part available below. The second and final part can be read here.


It has been another defining year for the egaming industry – perhaps more than any other in recent memory. With the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), the UK Gambling Commission’s (UKGC) increased commitment to social responsibility and the arrival of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), 2018 has proved dazing at times. Fortunately, this has not prevented it from also being a year of emerging opportunity.

To explore such opportunities and challenges, each year we reach out to our network of affiliates and invite them to participate in our affiliate marketing survey. This survey, along with recurring client conversations, industry events and other relationship-building activities, contributes to our improved understanding of the landscape in which we operate.

The Respondents

As is always the case with our survey, many respondents are already hardened industry veterans. This year, 66% have at least five years of affiliate experience, while 48% of those have at least 10 years.

Another area of continued consistency is reflected in the 62% of respondents that primarily operate in the UK – a region that has been the top selection each year that we have conducted the survey.  This year, however, did mark the first time that the United States (53%) surpassed Western Europe (excluding UK and Scandinavia) (31%) as the second most popular market in which surveyed affiliates currently operate.

This year was the third straight year in which the UK (50%), US (44%), Asia (38%) and Western Europe (25%) occupied the top four slots for markets that affiliates are most interested in pursuing moving forward. The percentages shown indicate how each performed in this year’s survey.

The 2018 results show that affiliates are keeping mobile top of mind as 75% responded that they have a mobile-optimised site – 21% of those said that they also maintain a complementary app. This commitment to mobile translated into 53% of affiliates stating that more that 40% of their traffic arrives via mobile devices. This figure has never dropped below 50% in the three surveys which it has been asked.


PASPA’s repeal sent a jolt of readiness and anticipation through the industry as stakeholders from all corners began scoping optimal strategies for successful market entry for both the short and long-term. As is the case with most post-PASPA matters, the impact on affiliates is a state-by-state waiting game.

To better gauge that sense of expectancy, affiliates were asked if they plan on developing a post-PASPA strategy for the US market. There was a narrow gap between those who selected Yes (30%), No (33%) and Maybe (37%). Considering that a significant number of respondents are not concerned with targeting US traffic, that 30% figure shows a healthy number of affiliates are presently exploring their options.

As a follow-up to our question about post-PASPA planning, we asked participants what post-World Cup 2018 sporting competition they were looking forward to the most as an affiliate. While football (i.e. UEFA and the Premier League) was popular at 33%, US pastimes also garnered some favour as the start of the NFL season (13%) and the Major League Baseball (MLB) World Series (10%) combined for 23% of responses.

Once you’ve read the second and final part of our contribution to the 2018 EGR Affiliate Report, in which we look at emerging verticals, social media and the UKGC and GDPR,  please share your thoughts in the comments section.