In this edition of Affiliate Spotlight, we again place the focus on Eric Stoop. Eric is Co-Founder of Infinleads SL, a lead generation company with multiple affiliate sites.
Eric discusses how different the Spanish and Italian markets are, as well as what players tend to prefer in each of these. He also sheds some light on how regulations could affect online gambling in Spain, plus more.
And without further ado, let’s get started.
Affiliate Industry Review: Italy was once your biggest market. What made it so attractive?
Eric Stoop: “We decided to launch as an affiliate in Italy already back in 2012, which was after the market became regulated. Initially, channelisation was low. We expected it to increase going forward, and it did.
“Brands in general seem to be more important for the Italian population, compared to other countries. Their behaviour when purchasing a product or service puts more weight on this than other factors.
“You can see this in the slot machines they play. There are a few that really stand out from the rest, each of which has a very strong brand and legacy from physical venues.”
AI: How will the Spanish government’s strict advertising measures affect affiliates for the rest of this year and beyond that too?
ES: “The decree hasn’t been published in full yet, but a certain guess is that affiliates will not be allowed to present casino bonuses. This will affect the general service provided, because players focus a lot on different bonuses when comparing new casinos.
“I believe that we’ll see a similar outcome to Italy, where push marketing is forbidden but pull marketing is allowed. Which from a player protection perspective, I think makes sense.
“The initial plan was to implement the new marketing rules in August, but now it’s hard to estimate as a full marketing ban was issued during the Covid-19 state of emergency in Spain. I think that it’s important to protect players, especially during difficult times when people have to stay at home. But the implemented measures were out of proportion.
“Lowering or removing push marketing is obviously good, but removing bonus offers and affiliate content from regulated operators will drive people to the black market. We respect the government’s decision and have removed all regulated operators from our sites, nor do we promote unlicensed casinos. But there are many other affiliates who haven’t followed suit.
“I believe that the most successful measure to stop the Spanish black market from growing is issuing B2B licenses to providers. This is important because many big providers supply to both licensed and unlicensed casinos, when they should only be supplying to licensed ones. Games would then be very thin for unlicensed operators, benefitting the regulated market.”
AI: Spain and Italy have both been affected by Covid-19. Once the pandemic passes, do you think that players will return to land-based casinos or not?
ES: “From a non-market-specific perspective, I believe that Covid-19 will speed up the ongoing transition from offline to online.
“Players will return to physical casinos, because brick-and-mortar is a different experience which involves more than just playing casino. However, they will also continue to play online.”
AI: And finally, how does the landscape of the Spanish market differ to Italy? What is and isn’t popular in both countries?
ES: “If I generalise a bit, both markets are quite similar. People love soccer and betting on sports. Both countries also have a culture of buying lottery tickets in big physical lotteries, while physical gaming halls are also popular.
“When it comes to slot machines, online Italian players love those that can be found in physical gaming halls and bars. Novomatic’s slot games are very popular here, as are IGT’s Sphinx and the classic WMG. For Spain, we see a similar pattern in this respect. MGA and R Franco-provided slots are popular, as is Merkur’s Magic Mirror title.
“One difference is that Spain has a culture of video bingo, which is also popular in Latin America. This is something which Italy does not have.”