With regulators increasingly shining light on the industry’s advertising and acquisition strategies, Joonas Karhu, chief business officer at Bojoko, talks up the evolving role for affiliates in responsible gambling.
iGAMING TIMES: Do you believe that affiliates are doing enough to promote responsible gambling?
JOONAS KARHU: I think publishers are starting to realise that their responsible gambling efforts must go beyond just creating articles and guides about the various tools that online gambling operators offer to help players keep in control of their play.
This is standard practice, and while it is good to see affiliates making players aware of how to set limits and manage budgets, there is a lot more that can be done. This is certainly the case when it comes to bonus offers and terms and conditions.
We are seeing operators and affiliates work more closely together in this regard to ensure that players clearly understand the promotions they are being offered and any terms and conditions they may come with.
By taking this approach Bojoko has become one of the most popular UK casino listing sites.
iGT: What are you doing to help your readers when it comes to responsible gambling?
JK: As mentioned above, we have created the standard articles and guides about how players can stay in control of their play, and we have a dedicated page where our readers can access information and resources quickly and easily.
We have also just partnered with online casino blocking software provider, gamban®, to allow our readers to self-exclude from online casino sites and apps if they feel they need to take a break for a while. With our discount code, they can even get a three-month free trial.
iGT: Is it not counter intuitive for an online casino affiliate to allow players to block themselves from playing at online casino sites?
JK: Absolutely not. The health and happiness of our readers comes before anything else, and if they feel they need to take a break we want to be able to provide them with the best tools to be able to do this.
Online casino operators are acknowledging that the most valuable players are those that wager a little and often, and that remain on top of their gambling activity. As an affiliate, it is our job to send them such players and to also protect our readers.
There is just no value in referring players with problem gambling habits, both morally and commercially.
iGT: Why did you decide to work with gamban in particular?
JK: Gamban is the most powerful online casino blocking tool on the market, and works across desktop, smartphone and tablet. Players simply download the software to their chosen device and then pay a small fee of £11.99 per year per device.
The software was developed by a former gambler who developed problem play habits, so it really has been designed for problem gamblers, by problem gamblers. We are proud to have partnered with gamban and believe it proves how committed we are to protecting players.
iGT: What other things are you doing to promote responsible gambling?
JK: Bojoko has been set up as the Trip Advisor for online casino sites, and we allow our readers to rate and review all of the operators that list on our website. This, in turn, is encouraging operators to adopt best practice.
Just like in the hotel industry, a bad review can deter others from visiting an online casino especially if that negative review is based on responsible gambling failings or bonuses with dodgy terms and conditions.
We facilitate absolute transparency, and this means that operators have nowhere to hide from our readers and their feedback. As a result, they are having to up their game and ensure they are properly protecting their players.
iGT: Can the operator–affiliate relationship survive increased pressure from regulators?
JK: It cannot only survive but thrive. Of course, this means operators and affiliates working together to promote best practice and responsible gambling. That is the approach we have taken and are enjoyed strengthened partnerships with operators and commercial success.
What’s more, we have been able to achieve this while ensuring our readers and players are properly protected and remain happy and healthy when playing online casino.