Alex Windsor began his journey as a sports betting partner in 2012, initially focusing on the UK market and moving to the US market after PASPA was repealed. Windsor, who now serves as Director of Apps4 Web Media LTD, is pleased to share his previous experience in the US market with other affiliates, especially those who are in a market because of the licensing process and relationship building with operators that they are nervous about are not that familiar with.
A big thank you to GPWA for introducing Alex and me. We wouldn’t be here today without this helpful iGaming partner community. Sharing best practices among friends and colleagues is exactly why the GPWA was launched many years ago. It is amazing to see that the forum is still serving its original purpose.
Becky Liggero Fontana: Thank you for joining me today, Alex. Let’s start with why you made the decision to shift your focus from the UK affiliate market to the regulated US market.
Alex Windsor: When I heard that PASPA was overturned in 2018, I knew immediately that I needed a piece of the pie. Up until that point, our focus was on the UK, Italy and Spain, but the opening up of the US to sports betting was too good an opportunity not to get involved. I started gamble-usa.com in July 2019 and we’ve been working on it ever since.
Our UK locations have taken a back seat and now 95% of the business is focused on the US locations. The US iGaming market is potentially huge. The size of the population, their love of sport, the diversity of the country and the great opportunity were too undecided.
BLF: It’s really an exciting time, we’ve all been waiting for the US market to open up! Can you tell us which US states are you interested in and why?
AW: The company is now licensed in 6 states (NJ, IN, CO, TN, MI, and PA) and applications are pending in a 7th state, Virginia. Our main location in Gamble USA covers several states, but we also have country-specific locations for Colorado (Gamble Colorado), Tennessee (Gamble Tenn), and Indiana (Gamble Indiana). There are some states that do not require a license, such as Iowa and Illinois, where we are also located in Gamble-Illinois.
We’ll have locations in more states soon, including Michigan, but the market is moving so fast it’s nearly impossible to keep up. It seems that a new state or a new sportsbook or operator goes live almost every day.
BLF: WOW, how impressive! What steps did you take before going live in all of these states, especially those that require a license? Any big surprises?
AW: I had no idea how complicated and sometimes time consuming licensing can be. Coming from the UK market, having to get a license was quite a culture shock. However, I believe that this is a better market as those responsible are now accountable.
Some government license applications were easier to fill out than others. NJ, for example, is pretty easy. PA We had to bring in a lawyer and also submit fingerprints to be licensed. Many states require a state licensed business address and additional paperwork is required, especially if you are a UK based company.
The biggest surprise was how helpful the operators and licensing agencies are in processing your application. I was amazed at how everyone wants to work together to give you a license.
BLF: Well, that’s sure to be a nice surprise. Nice to hear. How would you say your overall strategy in the US market is different from that in the UK after operating in roughly 10 states? How do American players compare to UK based players? What is it like working with the US operator affiliate programs against the UK?
AW: 90% of the US market is about CPA commissions, so it’s very different from the UK and the EU. Since legal sports betting is so new to most U.S. residents, a lot more education is required. Many people outside of the US think of Vegas, casinos, sports betting and can’t believe it when I tell them that sports betting is not allowed in all states and that there are only a small handful that allow online casino and poker.
We’re creating a lot more guides to help visitors understand where sports betting is legal, what to legally bet on, how to place bets online, and other helpful guides.
Since the market is still so new, not even many US citizens know which states they can and cannot play online in. There is still a long way to go before it is as widespread as it is here in the UK The number of operators are now sponsoring teams and have marketing agreements in place with the major leagues, all of which will help get people’s attention.
We have found the operator and partner programs in the US to be very helpful, especially when it comes to licensing advice. The market is new to them too, so it’s still a steep learning curve for all of us.
The excitement in the few weeks leading up to the Super Bowl could even be felt through email. Americans are so passionate about sports and their teams and you really get that feeling through weekly marketing emails and communications.
BLF: Yes, we are passionate about our sport, especially the Boston-based teams! Haha! Jokes, jokes, I’m from Boston … anyway … what is the biggest piece of advice you have for partners who want to do the same thing you do?
AW: Be ready to work all the hours and don’t take your foot off the pedal. The US market is so big that you cannot pause for a minute.
There are so many sports, so many states, so many operators, so many options. Different states also have different rules about what you can and cannot bet on. It’s like dealing with 50 individual countries.
Every day is a day of learning and there is so much to absorb, understand and then act on. The competition is also already very tough, as some of the largest partner companies already dominate the Serps with many different brand sites. It’s hard, but I’m sure it will be worth it.
BLF: The possibilities are really endless, anyone can get there with hard work! Any final words of encouragement to add?
AW: Any partner who wants to start in the US should focus on one state first. Try to understand the market, the players and the visitors who come to your website and try to give them the best experience possible.
The days of sports betting in the US are still very early, but with the likes of Michigan and Virginia living now, these are extremely busy but exciting times.
BLF: Excellent Alex, thank you very much for your time and for sharing your insights with us – keep it up!