History was made on September 20, 2012 when the very first affiliate in the United States received approval by the Nevada Gaming Commission for an “interactive service provider license”.
In other words, PokerTrip Enterprises, Inc. has been granted a green light to operate as an affiliate in Nevada’s regulated online poker market. The green light comes along with a $3,000 price tag, an incredibly strict back ground check and some pretty involved paperwork.
CalvinAyre.com spoke with an elated Jon Friedberg, CEO of PokerTrip Enterprises, shortly after his company was officially awarded the license. Friedberg said, “I couldn’t be more excited about what the future holds for online gaming within NV and the US. We are elated to become the first licensed Marketing Affiliate by the NV Gaming Commission, and look forward to facilitating win-win relationships between our community members and partner iGaming casino operators”.
We couldn’t be happier for him. This is huge news for the US online gambling market as it is a first and according to our very own Calvin Ayre: “Very few firsts are also the last is which is why firsts are important…they usually signal trends”, he says.
So is this trend good news or bad news for the online gambling industry? It really depends on who you’re talking to.
This is great news for companies like PokerTrip Enterprises, a Nevada based company that is more of a “non-traditional gambling affiliate” as their sites currently service those physically traveling to Vegas to play at brick and mortar card rooms rather than promoting online poker sites.
At present, the PokerTrip Enterprises sites which include AllVegasPoker.com and ThePokerAtlas.com and have never engaged in any promotion of US or Non-US online poker sites.
CalvinAyre.com spoke with Jeremy Enke, CEO of PokerAffiliateListings.com and active member in the online poker affiliate community, to get his thoughts on PokerTrip’s pursuit of an affiliate license.
“For a webmaster in Nevada with this type of focus, it would make perfect sense for this affiliate to pursue a gambling license”, said Enke.
However, the sun doesn’t shine as brightly for those smaller affiliate sites with limited cash flow and who have been actively promoting US-facing online poker sites at ANY point in the past. Enke believes that pursuing a Nevada gaming license may be more of a challenge that its worth in the long run for these types of affiliate sites.
“If you understand how stringent the Nevada licensing process is; The odds of a traditional online poker affiliate who’s been promoting non regulated U.S. operators for the past couple years getting a license is slim to none”, said Enke.
The founder of affiliate site 4kingpoker.com, “ScrawnyBob” as he is known within the affiliate facing forum community, wholeheartedly agrees with Enke’s statement. ScrawnyBob told CalvinAyre.com, “The viability of applying for and getting a Nevada license for most small or medium sized affiliates [is] pretty much zero”.
He continued, “Small and medium mom and pop style affiliates, many of whom provide useful and genuine source of poker tips/community and reviews, are not going to go through seven months of paperwork, incorporate, massive and potentially ever changing geo targeting issues for compliance etc etc when it seems clear 99% of affiliate WILL FAIL the test if they have had any involvement in the US market after UIGEA or in fact actually I believe possibly even before”.
Even for larger affiliates who have the cash and resources to pay the fee and complete the forms, their future in Nevada’s regulated online poker market isn’t looking so hot either.
“I think many, many sites who think they will be able to pay the license and get in will find they have wasted their time and money and its just a closed shop,” said ScrawnyBob.
Back to Calvin Ayre’s statement that Firsts usually signal Trends, the Nevada Gaming Commission’s process for licensing affiliates in their jurisdiction may be the trend for other US states, but who knows, maybe not. However, its hard to disagree with ScrawnyBob when he says, “Personally I don’t think there is any future for most affiliates in US market IF the Nevada path to regulation is anything to go by”.
It will be very interesting to see how things unfold for affiliates in the good old U. S. of A., that is for sure.