At some point or another, most people daydream about making money online. It sounds like a great deal to just sit around at home all day with coffee in hand, update a few websites and then take the Mercedes out for a spin around the block. For most, it’s a daydream that is quickly replaced by the reality of the daily desk job and life’s other obligations.
Some of us, however, never give up on the idea and do go on to actually pursue the dream. There are many ways people make money on the internet, but today I’m going to talk about online betting affiliate programs because these are my bread and butter. This is the industry I know and love and will introduce to you today.
|Site||Available In||Type of Betting||Commission||Visit|
|FanDuel Affiliates||Most US states||Fantasy Sports||CPA: Up to $35/player|
Rev Share: Up to 35%
|BetAmerica Affiliates||Most US States||Horse Racing|
Rev Share: Up to 40%
|WSOP and Caesars||New Jersey and Nevada||Online Poker|
|CPA: Up to $200/player|
Rev Share: 25%
Right up front, I’ll tell you that I’m not here to sell you on anything. I don’t care if you decide to become an affiliate or not. I don’t mean that to be rude, but to simply explain that I have no ulterior motive here to either discourage or dissuade you from trying it for yourself.
My purpose with this page is to give you as much information as possible. It’s an interesting topic to write about and hopefully some of you find it interesting as well. I might include a couple of sub-affiliate links (where I get paid to send new affiliates), but I don’t expect to make any significant money in doing so. The primary goal of this page is to inform. If I make a little money on the side, then great.
This guide is structured to begin with a list of the best betting affiliate programs followed by an explanation of how it all works. This may seem backwards, but many of you who land on this page already have a basic understanding of the industry. If you’re completely new to the idea, just click here to jump down for an in-depth explanation.
Generic Legal Disclaimer: Some of the following discussion touches on state and federal laws that impact legal US online betting. I will share with you what I know about the law, but know that I am not a lawyer and none of this constitutes legal advice. I am confident and well-researched on the subject, but you should speak with an attorney if you have any legal questions.
Best Betting Affiliate Programs
There are three key criteria to consider when ranking the best affiliate programs:
- Your interest in the topic
- The reputation of the affiliate program
- The firm’s ability to turn clicks into conversions
The first one in the list is very important, but this is a personal decision that you need to make. There are affiliate programs for all different sorts of gaming sites. Ultimately, your success depends on your ability to engage with your readers and transfer to them your excitement about the topic. If you choose a niche that bores you to death, you will have a hard time making a serious go at the business.
Reputation is an objective criterion that is important to consider. Work long enough in the industry and you will experience a whole range of good and bad affiliate programs.. The worst programs have been known to retroactively change terms and conditions and I suspect some have even purposely failed to track conversions that I sent in good faith. I will not be listing any untrustworthy affiliate programs on this page. Every firm listed on this page is reputable based on my experience.
The ability to turn clicks into conversions is a criterion that is both objective and subjective. Some betting sites are objectively better in this regard; they have well-designed websites, tempting signup offers and just produce better results. It is also somewhat subjective because everyone has different experiences. For whatever reason, the type of traffic your website sends may perform better at one program or another for no discernible reason. Experience and trial-and-error will help you eventually figure out which programs are the best for your unique website.
Now, let’s get to the good stuff. The following recommendations are grouped by the best programs for each of the four major types of legal online betting in the US.
Fantasy sports is a quickly growing industry with a lot of room for growth. It is a relatively new industry, and that means there are still lots of brand new players to introduce to online fantasy. Competition among the big fantasy sites is fierce, so affiliate programs are paying very well right now.
One of the other advantages of getting involved in fantasy sports is a nearly complete lack of regulation. Federal laws specifically exempt fantasy sports from anti-gambling legislation and there are no licenses or background checks for you to operate as an affiliate. Furthermore, state laws are mostly friendly to real money fantasy sports. All the major fantasy sites operate in at least 45 states, so you have a wide reach for potential customers.
FanDuel Affiliate Program
FanDuel is the market leader in daily fantasy sports. It has the most players, the biggest marketing budget and greatest name recognition. You won’t find it too difficult to convince people to sign up at a site as high quality and well-known as FanDuel. The only potential downside is that many of your readers will already have player accounts at FanDuel.
Even so, FanDuel is a great place to start. There are literally millions of traditional season-long fantasy players out there who have yet to be exposed to daily fantasy sports. You shouldn’t have too much trouble finding new players.
The affiliate program at FanDuel comes in two flavors: cost per acquisition (CPA) and revenue share (rev share). The CPA program pays you a flat fee up front as soon as any player you refer plays in a real money contest. The rev share program gives you a percentage of the player’s fees for life. The difference between the two is that CPA gives you quick cash up front while rev share takes longer to build up, but is potentially more lucrative.
Like most betting affiliate programs, FanDuel’s program is tiered. That is, your referral fees grow as you send more players per month. Here’s a quick overview of the payout structure:
|New Depositing Players||CPA|
|1-25 per month||$25 per player|
|26-100 per month||$30 per player|
|100+ per month||$35 per player|
|New Depositing Accounts||Lifetime Rev Share|
DraftKings Affiliate Program
The DraftKings affiliate program works on revenue share only and does not offer a CPA option. However, the rev share program at DraftKings is a bit more lucrative than the one offered by FanDuel. Here, you get 50% rev share on all new players for their first 30 days and then the following percentages for the remainder of each player’s lifetime.
|Existing Referrals||First 30 Days for New Referrals|
|25% for 2 years||40%|
Horse Racing Betting
Online horse racing betting is also exempt from federal anti-gambling laws. Some state laws do prohibit online racing betting so the reach here isn’t quite as wide as what you get with fantasy sports. However, even if you live in a restricted state, there is nothing stopping you from working as an affiliate and earning money by referring players who live in other states.
My experience so far with horse racing betting is that the money is decent and the competition is very soft. If you are comfortable writing about horse or greyhound racing, it is easy to put together an above-average website that attracts visitors and earns signups. The downside is that there just aren’t as many potential horseplayers as there are fantasy sports players.
BetAmerica Affiliate Program
BetAmerica has long been my highest-performing program in the horse racing space. The affiliate program seems to track new signups accurately, it is good at getting conversions and does well in player retention.
Even better, BetAmerica is not limited to horse racing betting like most of its competitors. BetAmerica also offers greyhound racing and daily fantasy sports. One program, many options. I like this. They also pay quite a bit faster than most affiliate programs. Here is their commission structure:
|$50 per depositing player|
|Rev Share Rate||Monthly Net Revenue|
|30%||$0 to $4,999|
|35%||$5,000 to $9,999|
TwinSpires Affiliate Program
TwinSpires is another rock-solid affiliate program with a perfect reputation among players and affiliates alike. They are very well known in the horse racing world due to being owned and operated by Churchill Downs. Serious horse racing fans will also appreciate TwinSpires TV, a variety of handicapping products by brisnet.com and extensive coverage of racetracks around the world.
The one thing you may not like about TwinSpires is the lack of a rev share commission plan. They only offer CPA payouts. The good news is that the CPAs are fairly large.
|New Players per Month||CPA (per player)|
Online Poker and Casino
Online poker and casino are by far the most potentially profitable niches to get into. I say “potentially” because the industry has gone through some changes recently and the legal situation is not optimal for US-based affiliates at the moment. Back in the Golden Age of online poker, people were logging $100,000+ months left and right. However, they did it by referring customers to offshore poker sites that were in violation of US law.
Poker and gambling affiliates operated with impunity for years because there were no laws on the books that made it a crime to act as a mere affiliate for some offshore poker site or casino. That changed in 2014 when the state of New Jersey announced that it would begin prosecuting US-based affiliates who continue to work with unlicensed sites. This put a damper on the industry.
The industry is far from dead, though. New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada have all passed laws to legalize online poker, online casino gambling or both. Some of the licensed poker and casino sites that operate in New Jersey now accept affiliates just like you and I. The situation is even better in Nevada.
I don’t have any recommendations to offer for online poker or casino gaming quite yet. I know that some US-legal sites do have affiliate programs and I do plan to give them a try soon, but I haven’t yet gotten around to it. I’ll update this page with my impressions once I get a little more experience.
What I can tell you is that online poker and casino games are heavily regulated in the United States. It is a whole lot more complicated to become a poker affiliate in New Jersey, for example, than it is to get involved with fantasy sports or horse racing. Licenses need to be applied for just to advertise or be paid a CPA. Affiliates interested in revenue share are required to go through actual background checks and get fingerprinted.
In New Jersey, you must apply for a vendor permit in order to promote NJ-legal poker sites on a flat advertising or CPA basis. If you’re interested in revenue share, you need to get an ancillary license which requires significantly more information about the affiliate and requires a non-refundable $2,000 fee.
It’s so complicated that New Jersey released this form to clarify the rules regarding affiliates and sub-affiliates. Give that a quick read and then then think about it: that is the clarification. However, I don’t expect it to be this difficult for long. At least one major affiliate website has already started offering CPA deals to sub-affiliates.
CaesarsAffiliates.com (affiliate program for WSOP.com and CaesarsCasino.com) can be contacted for a “vendor registration number” for free to begin promoting without you having to fill out a full vendor permit. They offer the following commission plans based on the number of new players sent per month:
|WSOP.com Poker Commissions||New Players per Month||Caesars Casino Commissions||New Players per Month|
|$150 per new player||0-20 new players per month||$125 per new player||0-15|
|$200 per player||21+ players per month||$150 per new player||16+|
|25% rev share (requires license)||25% flat for any number of new players|
Here’s a list of the gaming sites in New Jersey that currently accept affiliates:
- Caesars Casino and WSOP.com
- Borgata Poker and Casino
- 888 Casino and Poker (e-mail application)
- Party Poker and Casino
Nevada passed legislation in 2013 legalizing online poker only. Two poker sites currently operate in Nevada: WSOP.com and Real Gaming.
You can promote poker sites in Nevada on a CPA basis without any type of license. Just fill out the application at the affiliate website and if approved, you can begin promoting. As far as I can tell, only WSOP.com has an affiliate program. It pays the following commission structure based on the number of new players you send each month:
|CPA Payments||New Players per Month|
|$75 per player||0-15|
|$100 per player||16+|
Visit CaesarsAffiliates.com for more information.
Delaware legalized online poker and casinos in 2012 and has so far approved three operators. This is a small market as the state has fewer than 1 million residents and none of the operators has an affiliate program at this point.
What is an online betting affiliate?
To put it simply, affiliates get paid to refer new customers to betting websites. Most affiliates get started by signing up for a few online betting affiliate programs and putting their referral links up on personal websites. Whenever a visitor clicks on a referral link, the affiliate is credited for having sent that player.
Affiliates either receive a flat fee for each new customer or share in a percentage of each customer’s expenditures. The cool thing about being a betting affiliate is that there are few restrictions in how you run your business. Anyone can join and there are almost no requirements. You don’t need to have an advanced degree, prior experience or even be particularly good at anything.
Affiliate programs are free to join. All you have to do is visit the affiliate website, sign up for an account and receive your special tracking links. You can then begin referring people by either posting those links on your own website or sharing them with your friends.
That’s the good news. The bad news is you’re going to find yourself up against a lot of competition. It’s not exactly a big secret that online betting can be very profitable for affiliates. This is not the industry to get into if you’re looking for a quick buck. Then again, the same could be said for any business venture. If you want to make the money, you have to be willing to put in the work just like everyone else.
How much money can I make?
The world is your oyster. The number one selling point for the betting affiliate business is that your earnings are unlimited. No reputable program will ever tell you “hey, you have sent us too many players and earned too much money for us. We’re going to have to cap your earnings.” They make money when you make money, so there is literally no limit on your earning potential.
That being said, making gobs of money is easier said than done. Making $10K a month isn’t a matter of just getting your referral links and spamming them in the comment sections of random blogs. First of all, spamming is annoying and prohibited by every halfway decent affiliate program. Second of all, spamming does not produce results. Getting your links in front of qualified prospects is how you produce results.
I personally know multiple skilled affiliates who bring in upwards of $30,000 a month. These are not big, corporate affiliates either. These are just one or two-man operations who know how to build websites, write interesting articles and connect with their readers. Some of the most successful affiliates bring in six figures a month. A few do $1 million+ per month.
Naturally, you can’t expect to see these results overnight. It takes time, dedication and experience to learn the skills and work your way up the earnings ladder. Some new affiliates get off to a quick start and manage to make a few thousand dollars a month fairly quickly. Most start out just like I did – by earning the occasional $20 commission here and there and then slowly working up from there.
If you go with revenue share commission plans, you can build up a player base at multiple sites and grow your earnings as your player base grows. You might start out sending a couple players each month who play a few games and earn a little money, and then send a few more players the next month and so on. Eventually, you may have hundreds of players who, as a group, produce a fairly consistent monthly income. As those old referrals earn money, you spend your time attracting new players who add to that monthly income.
Your personal experience as an affiliate could range from disappointing to absolutely mind blowing. However, even if you don’t book $100k+ months, you can still earn thousands of dollars a month and earn a completely normal, middle-class living. Occasionally, you may even sell an affiliate website and earn a big chunk of money all at once.
For example, here’s screenshot from someone who sold an affiliate website for $20,000 flat. This may sound like a lot of money if you’re new to the game, but I can assure you it is small fries compared to the type of money that I have seen other affiliates earn on site sales.
It could be better, but I doubt the seller of that site is going to complain. There’s a real sense of accomplishment in building something from scratch and investing nothing but your own effort and then selling it for thousands of dollars. The best thing about this is that you do not need to be a genius or some marketing guru. If you simply put in the effort, it will eventually pay off. Other betting affiliates that I know personally have sold sites for much, much more (six and seven figures).
Online betting is a somewhat touchy subject in the United States. Both state and federal laws shape the legal landscape in which we operate. Online horse/greyhound racing and fantasy sports are both exempt from federal anti-gaming laws. Those are fairly safe industries from a legal standpoint.
You do need to be aware of state laws (some states prohibit both), but affiliates are generally safe. If you live in a prohibited state, you can still safely work as an affiliate and earn money off people referred from other states (do not take this as gospel – go see a lawyer).
Online poker and casino are now legal in a few states, with varying levels of oversight for affiliates. I am fairly certain that Nevada does not require any special licensing for people who affiliate on a CPA basis. New Jersey is a bit more complex and does require licenses, although it appears that Caesars and WSOP.com have a process in place to allow you to affiliate on a CPA basis without an extensive licensing process.
For the most part, it’s pretty easy to get started as an affiliate in horse racing, greyhound racing, fantasy sports and casino/poker in regulated states. You do need to do some research, but it’s really not that bad.
What you need to be mindful of is the big offshore gambling industry. There are numerous online casinos and poker sites based in other countries that illegally accept customers from the USA. These programs do have high paying affiliate programs, but I do not believe it is worth the legal risk to get involved in any of that. If you scroll back up a ways to the “online poker and casino” section, you will see that the state of New Jersey has started to crack down on affiliates for unlicensed gaming sites.
Your business will be significantly safer and have staying power if you avoid the temptation to affiliate for unlawful gaming sites. It’s only a matter of time before the government really cracks down on operators and affiliates.
How Can I Get Started?
The greatest strength and biggest disadvantage of getting into the betting affiliate business is a complete lack of a road map. There is no standard formula for getting started and making money. If you have a completely unique and weird idea, you’re free to get out there and go try it. The downside is that you have little guidance. It’s sort of like being dropped in the middle of a complicated video game with no instruction manual.
Ultimately, your goal is to get your referral links in front of people who are likely to be interested in online betting. You can do so by starting up a betting advice website, running a YouTube channel, starting an e-mail newsletter and so on. Some people even go out in the real world and leverage existing relationships (such as your local fantasy sports league) to find referrals.
Start a Website
I would say the easiest way to get started would be to open a website and start publishing articles/blog posts. Starting a website is super simple these days. All you have to do is visit someone like BlueHost.com and then buy a domain and a hosting plan. For about $10 you can buy your own .com domain and then for about $10 a month, you can buy a hosting plan.
Sign Up for Affiliate Programs
Next, sign up for accounts at a couple of affiliate programs. It is free to sign up and most programs don’t even have a manual approval process. You just sign up, log in and get your unique referral links.
Choose your affiliate programs based on which topics interest you the most. Even if you suspect there is more money in some other topic, you will have a hard time making anything at all if the topic is boring for you. Remember, you are going to be working at this long after the novelty of trying something new wears off.
WordPress is a free content management system that I cannot recommend highly enough. If you don’t want to write code and try to design a pretty looking website from scratch, you NEED to get WordPress. This tool is a lifesaver and it is completely free.
You can install WordPress by logging in to your hosting provider and then visiting the “CPanel” area. There, you should see a whole bunch of tools and icons. Look for the “WordPress” logo and then click “install.” The system will automatically install WordPress right then and there. If you have any questions, just send your host an e-mail and they’ll get you started.
When you install WordPress, you will be asked to specify a username and password. From here on out, you will log in to WordPress to manage your website and publish new content. Any time you want to publish a new article or blog post, you can just log in to WordPress, click on the “add new page” link and then you can start writing right there in a text editor that works sort of like Microsoft Word. When you’re done writing, hit the publish button and the article will be published to your website for the world to see.
WordPress is a powerful content management system with many capabilities, but the basics are easy to learn. If you get stuck anywhere, just run a Google search and you will find your answer. This platform is used by millions of websites so the odds are good that any question you have has already been asked and answered by someone else online.
I don’t want to turn this into a complete guide to WordPress because there are already many other resources with way more information than I could ever hope to provide. The WP Beginner Guides here will give you everything you need to know about getting started with WordPress.
This is where the hard work begins. Now that you have a beautiful new website, it’s time to start publishing content with the goal of attracting visitors who click on your referral links. There are an infinite variety of topics you can talk about, but the one thing to keep in mind is that you should attract people who are likely to to be interested in online betting.
Think about how Google works. Someone searches for something and then Google returns a list of related websites. Many of your visitors will come from Google after running a search. You need to think about what someone’s intent is when they run a search. The type of content you produce will shape the types of searches that lead people to your website.
For example, if you start a blog about pet goats, people are going to end up at your website after searching for pet goats. Likewise, you want to find people who are interested in placing bets online – preferably people who want to bet online right now.
A basic example would be reviews of betting websites. If someone is considering signing up at FanDuel or BetAmerica, that person may first run a search for “FanDuel reviews” or “BetAmerica reviews.” I know I’ve done that before for various products. Well, you might decide to write a review based on your experiences and then stick your referral link in the review somewhere.
Side note: You can probably see the conflict of interest there. It can be tempting to write overly positive reviews in the hopes of getting signups. Don’t do that. Be honest in your reviews. If you don’t like something, it’s OK to say so. You only alienate visitors when you insult their intelligence by giving a glowing review and stuffing it full of affiliate links. People know what you’re up to.
Another example would be to write a bunch of “how to” articles for placing bets online, making deposits, getting paid and so on. Or, you might decide to write betting strategy articles. The possibilities are endless.
The hardest part in all this is separating yourself from the pack. A million other people have already written reviews of all the big betting sites. If you decide to tackle a topic, I recommend that you write the best article that has ever been written on that topic in the history of the human race.
Take your time and do it right. Stand out from the pack and get noticed. This is how you earn links (which help you appear higher in Google search results) and repeat visitors. It also helps establish you as a trusted authority, which in turn makes people more willing to click on your referral links.
Not to toot my own horn or anything, but look at what I’m doing with this page. There are a ton of articles about being a betting affiliate, but there aren’t very many that are as detailed as this one. It has taken me well over six hours to compile all this information and present it to you, but it’s worth the effort. I hope it helps me establish a little rapport with you and maybe get a couple people to share this guide with their friends. If that’s all it accomplishes, it will still be worthwhile over the long term.
And on that note, it’s also ok to be transparent about who you are and what you do. Most people have a pretty good nose for sniffing out BS. Be open and let your personality shine through. It’s easier to write if you don’t try to force yourself into some presupposed shape.
Do Your Research
There are a million little things that you’re going to learn as you make your way into the affiliate business, but you shouldn’t feel overwhelmed. The very basics of getting started are not all that bad. Once you get a website up and running, you can jump right in and try it out. Don’t worry, you won’t break anything.
One good thing you can do is get into the habit of Googling everything. If you’re not sure how to do something, Google it. If you having a hard time thinking of things to write about, Google it. If you get stuck with WordPress… well, you get the idea by now I’m sure.
There are a ton of great affiliate resources out there on the internet. Not all of them apply specifically to online betting, but many of the concepts that work in other markets work just as well in gaming.
The one thing I do NOT recommend is to overload yourself with research before you even start. Many people fall into the trap of constantly researching, buying e-books and looking for the next great tool to the point that they never actually get started. Go ahead and get your website and write a few articles. You don’t need to be perfect. It’s fine to just jump right in and learn as you go.
There Are No Shortcuts
One last note before I set you free. The “make money online” topic is full of charlatans and so-called gurus who make all their money selling you on the next big secret to success. There is no secret. If you want to be a successful betting affiliate, you need to sit down in front of the computer and do real work. It IS work, but it IS worth it. This is the best job in the world.
Domain: The name of your website – what people type in to visit your website. Our domain here is BettingUSA.com.
Hosting Plan: A hosting plan is a service in which a company stores all the information (documents, photos, etc.) and makes them available to your visitors. Someone types in your domain name to visit your website, and then your host displays all the information that your visitor sees upon visiting. Hosting plans are fairly cheap and cost an average of $120 per year. One hosting plan can be used to manage multiple domains and websites.
Affiliate Program: An affiliate program is what pays commissions to affiliates. For example, a betting website such as WSOP.com establishes an affiliate program which is responsible for tracking referrals, issuing payouts and providing marketing materials (links, ads, etc.) for affiliates like you and I. You sign up to the affiliate program, receive your marketing materials and then get paid for your referrals by the affiliate program.
CPA: Cost per acquisition – a commission structure by which you are paid a flat fee for each new player. Each referral must take some action before you get paid. For example, FanDuel requires your referrals to play in one real money contest before you earn your CPA commission.
Rev Share: Revenue share – a commission structure by which you earn a percentage of the money that each referral makes for the betting site.