This is a guest contribution by Joonas Karhu, Chief Business Officer at Bojoko.com. If you would like to submit a contribution please contact Bill Beatty for submission details. Thank you.
Joonas Karhu, Chief Business Officer at Bojoko.com, says that white label platform providers must do more due diligence on their operator partners.
Recent events have raised questions and concerns over the future of white label casinos, particularly when it comes to platform providers ensuring their operators are responsible and compliant.
White label platform providers can work with hundreds of online casino partners and they are ultimately responsible for ensuring that each brand plays by the rules in each market it targets.
This is a huge task and one that is becoming increasingly difficult for platform providers to carry out successfully as regulators continue to tighten their requirements.
This is leading to more instances of non-compliance, with a growing number of platform providers being hit with fines. Others are closing down their B2B operations to protect their licences.
This puts the online casino sector in a tricky position as for many operators the only way to launch their brands is via a white label provider.
The cost and lengthy process of developing their own technology and acquiring licences would make entering the sector simply unviable.
But I believe this is partly why white label online casino brands are not meeting responsible gambling requirements and generally are not working to the highest possible standards.
Of course, platform providers need to keep onboarding new online casino brands and especially as margins get tighter and the cost of business continues to rise.
But they must also ensure they only work with reputable and professional organisations and individuals if they are to safeguard their place in the global online casino ecosystem.
Platform providers must do proper due diligence:
To ensure they are working with reputable operator partners, platform providers must undertake proper due diligence and not be afraid to refuse to work with those that don’t pass muster.
I am sure that most platform providers do this but given the string of fines in recent months there is an argument that more could and should be done.
Of course, it would be beneficial if regulators were able to provide in-depth and through guidance as to what due diligence is required and what they expect to see from potential operator partners.
This would allow platform providers to ensure they are doing everything they can to satisfactorily vet the companies and individuals that wish to white label their technologies and services.
In turn, this would ensure that the partners they do work with are reputable and responsible, reducing the risk of non-compliance and players not being properly protected.
The knock-on effect if things don’t change:
If platform providers do not improve the due diligence undertaken on potential operator partners, and unsuitable companies continue to slip through, the impact will be felt by all stakeholders.
Platform providers will continue to put their cash and licences at risk – the UKGC has already made clear it will fine companies and revoke licences – which could ultimately force them to shut up shop.
Online casino affiliates will also be negatively impacted for many different reasons – this is something Bojoko has experienced first-hand in recent months.
For us, it is important that we recommend reputable and trusted online casino brands to our players. If we don’t, we risk losing the trust that our players put in us.
It also reflects badly on affiliates if an online casino they have recommended suddenly shuts down and/or player funds are not returned to them.
From a business perspective, we have also had instances where white label operators have owed us commission for players sent and have simply refused to pay invoices and ignore emails.
These situations ultimately impact the platform provider, too. Affiliates are unlikely to recommended other brands they work with if they have already had a bad experience.
This, of course, is unfair on the other brands that might be reputable and meeting the highest possible standards, but as an affiliate, why would you take the risk.
Affiliates are a major growth driver for white-label casinos:
It must be remembered that affiliates play a significant role in driving players to online casino sites and especially new white label brands.
We are a cost-effective marketing channel – brands only pay once a customer has signed up and deposited – that enables smaller sites to grow sustainably.
If online casino affiliates decide to not work with brands powered by certain platform providers, then there is a real risk white label sites will struggle to survive, let alone grow.
This in turn will see white label online casino sites close down and reduce the number of new sites launching via such platforms.
Of course, this is the worst-case scenario and I truly believe this situation can be avoided so long as platform providers – with the help of regulators – undertake better due diligence.
This means that platform providers can rest assured that they are working with the best operator partners – brands that affiliates are happy to work with and promote, too.
But ultimately it means that consumers are accessing online casinos that meet the highest possible standards when it comes to responsible gambling and player protection.
About the author:
Joonas Karhu, Chief Business Officer at Bojoko.com