Klaas & Matt, Founders of The Casino Wizard, join the latest series of affiliate interviews on Affiliate Grand Slam
Klass, Matt, and the rest of the team of The Casino Wizard aim for a white-hat SEO approach and focus on the quality of their content. They only work with online casinos that meet their quality standards - follow their story below.
How did you first get into the affiliate space? Were you always focused on the Gaming space?
We started our career at an online marketing agency in the Netherlands. Besides offering search and other online marketing services to clients, the company had multiple affiliate and lead generation concepts that introduced us to the affiliate space.
How did your affiliate business take off? Is iGaming your only vertical?
We started our affiliate business in keyword buying and lead generation. Once this became more and more challenging, we decided to make the shift into iGaming in 2019.
Tell us a bit more about your business model, concept, and culture.
The Casino Wizard is an independent reviewer and guide to online casinos, casino games, and casino bonuses. We partner with online casinos in attracting new depositing players through promotional content, search engine optimisation, and other online marketing activities.
The Casino Wizard started out with 2 friends, both skilled in online marketing and with an entrepreneurial mindset. We’re firm believers that happy and free people get more things done, therefore we strive to create an environment where you can work from wherever you like, whenever you like, but we really go for it and have a strong focus on our goals. We work hard, trust each other, and have a lot of fun together.
What sets you apart from other affiliates?
We are aiming for a white-hat SEO approach, and we’re focusing on the quality of our content instead of buying links and creating PBNs and other things that can be questionable. We are also working with a limited set of online casinos, that have to meet our quality standards. We aim to provide quality content only, and quality game-play at the best online casinos only.
What importance do you give to responsible gaming?
At The Casino Wizard, we care for the players’ well-being. Gambling is fun, and it should always stay fun. We’re a holder of the GPWA Seal of Approval and, on our site, we provide blog content, info-graphics, and guides on how to gamble responsibly; we give you tips, ideas, suggestions, and general information on responsible gambling.
Which markets do you focus on and do you see any potential in the emerging markets?
We’re relatively new in the market and are currently focusing on English-speaking countries, the German market, and the Netherlands. We definitely see potential in other markets like Greece and Thailand, but it’s all about timing and focus.
Which niches work best for your affiliate marketing, and which are the most profitable? How did you find your most profitable niche?
We’re focusing on online casinos, casino games, and casino bonuses. We don’t know if this is the most profitable niche in iGaming, but we’re just passionate about casino games and we love Vegas. That’s what made the decision for us. The most important thing is being passionate about what you’re doing; then comes being focused and, last but not least, you need commitment.
Do you create all the marketing material you need to promote in-house, or do you out-source it?
We’re a small company and we work with independent professionals to get things done quickly.
How important is social media activity for your affiliate business? How difficult is it with Google's constant updates?
We feel that it is getting more and more important to show your expertise on social media and other platforms as well. We expect the best results for companies that are the real experts. Google is especially focusing on results that show real expertise, authority, and trust.
Are you contemplating bringing in investors to scale or grow your business? Or, with such a big M&A market, have you ever contemplated selling the business?
Currently, it is not the time to think about selling and/or bringing in additional investors yet. We have the budgets to scale our business, and we’re still having too much fun ourselves shaping the company and growing our business on our own.
A couple of questions about SEO:
What are the main challenges of SEO today and how are they different from just a few years ago?
The biggest challenge today is to be seen as a trustworthy source and authority without using blackhat techniques and paying premium prices to pimp your backlink profile. In SEO, there aren’t really any shortcuts anymore and you have to put in the blood, sweat, and tears to become an authority and to be seen as a true expert.
Why is SEO important for gaming and how long does it take to see results from SEO?
Nowadays, everyone searches for the best casinos, bonuses, slots, and the likes. If you aren’t in the SERP, you do not exist. It can take a few days before you see results from SEO, and in a lot of cases, you’ll never see results. It all depends. As a general rule: It all moves slowly, very slowly.
Which qualities and skills are essential in an affiliate team/business?
Online marketing knowledge, persistence, and a results’ focused approach.
How does technology play a part in your day-to-day?
Everything we do on a daily basis is based on data; we use available software and technology to identify and prioritise opportunities. We do our research in SEO tools and Google analytics, we communicate and collaborate via online tools, and we manage and measure our ROI in a custom dashboard.
Which emerging technologies like AI and big data will impact the affiliate industry in 2021 and beyond?
Voice search and social e-commerce will offer a lot of new opportunities for affiliates in the upcoming years.
How has the fragmentation of regulated markets affected your business? UKGC, Swedish regulator and now also the German regulator is mulling regulating this space.
We lost some of our revenue due to the fact that multiple casinos requested us to disable (parts of) their content in some of these countries to comply with the tolerance regime.
How can affiliates be more unique in their approach?
They should start with copying less and researching more.
What does it take for an affiliate business to thrive?
Mostly a lot of dedication, persistence, and a data-driven approach.
What are your predictions for the future of the sector?
In the iGaming sector, we see a move towards casino games that offer more interactivity and in-game slot features to capture a wider range of players.
How do you choose your operators and how do you manage relationships with multiple operators?
We review every operator according to our review standards, which you can find on the homepage of The Casino Wizard. For the rest, we visit multiple shows every year to meet up with the people that we’re working with.
Have you ever been to SiGMA? SiGMA Europe, Africa, Asia, or Americas - which of these four expo shows would you likely book on your diary for 2021, COVID-19 permitting?
Of course! We’re planning to visit SiGMA Affiliate Grand Slam and SiGMA Europe in 2021. We’re eager to meet with some of our friends in the market and open the door to new business opportunities.
Tell us a bit about yourselves – after all, business is done with people, not just companies! Your hobbies, favourite book, favourite quote, whether you are into Gaming yourselves, etc.
Klaas is co-founder of The Casino Wizard, responsible for the long-term strategy and dealing with the casinos. He loves to play roulette, blackjack, or slot games and he tries to find a casino wherever he goes. Apart from that, he loves to travel around the world, works abroad a few months per year, and he’s active in several sports like cycling, padel, and fitness exercising.
Matt is co-founder of The Casino Wizard, an expert reviewer of online casinos, and a regular online poker player. His favorite books are the books by Dan Harrington, Harrington on Hold’em, which taught him the basics of poker strategy and gave him the insight that it can even be a good choice to fold two Aces. Besides being knowledgeable about the iGaming niche, he’s also a great cook and a ninja with web analytics.
Read more about SiGMA Affiliate Grand Slam here.
SiGMA Americas Virtual:
The SiGMA Americas Virtual show will run from the 13th to the 14th of September, 2021. Features include a fully interactive expo floor, networking chat rooms, and a high-profile lineup of panelists. Beautifully designed booths come equipped with state-o-the-art product displays and chatbox features, while attendees can visit the virtual stage, where a series of panels and keynotes will discuss key topics during the live 2-day conference.