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30 March 2011

Gaming Affiliates Hit The Decks: 'GATM' Latest iGaming Scandal, by Greg Tingle - 30th March 2011

G'day punters, casino and gambling millionaires and billionaires, affiliate marketers, legal eagles, one and all. Folks, its been a while coming, but welcome back to another feature on the good, the bad and the ugly and affiliate marketing. Front and centre SlotoCash and 'GATM'. Media Man and Gambling911 probe the igaming affiliate sector and once again and discover that the at the mixed at best reputation is very well deserved. Cheers maties...

First, a little background...

My company, Media Man, is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company and we've been established for over a decade. We create and maintain media and brand campaigns, conduct internet publishing, offer personality management, and we have also participated in a modest amount of affiliate programs over the years. My background is journalism and media management.

What Media Man Received From SlotoCash Earlier Today...

Dear Affiliates,

I am writing to inform you that unfortunately we have lost GATM eCheck processor. This was a major processor for Deckmedia and a lot of money is owed to us by Echeck which appears to be lost at this stage.

Echeck was having issues with its confidential name 'GATM'. This term (GATM) leaked out across the internet and they contacted us on several occasions requesting that we ask affiliates to remove all references of 'GATM' from those gambling related sites listing it. Lots of affiliates assisted with this which was greatly appreciated. However many affiliates refused and the term 'GATM' remains on many sites and now the company has gone offline and is not responding.

In the past Deckmedia have taken huge loses upon us to ensure that affiliates have not lost out in such circumstances. For example, when Deckmedia lost Ewalletxpress and Mastercard, Deckmedia took the FULL hit ensuring all affiliates were paid the full amount for those months.

I regret to inform you that this time round Deckmedia will not be able to take these loses from Echeck and those affiliates who have earnings from Echeck deposits will have those earnings deducted. This will take place on the 31st March.

This is not a decision which was made easily and I apologize to all of those who will be affected by it.

Please try to understand the circumstances. This is a loss for everybody and unfortunately was out of our control.

Kind Regards,

Marketing Director

Us And Slotcash...

We first became aware of SlotCash about 12 months ago, but we decided to join their affiliate programs about 6 months ago, since they advised us that they accepted United States customers, and we liked that fact, since things are on the go in the U.S and we also own and operate website portals American Casino News and American Gaming News. We gave the SlotCash brands good coverage, however unfortuately we never earned 1 cent from them, despite getting good income from a number of other affiliate programs in the same sector, with roughly the same coverage, promotion and the like. For over 3 months we have not contacted SlotoCash. We decided to cut our (time - thus money) losses, and focus on areas of our business and other brands that are profitable, and not a waste of time. Deck Media is the parent company of SlotCash.

Background On The Online Affiliate Sector And Internet Space; Australian, US And European Connection...

What is a website portal?

In essence, a very popular website. Think like NineMSN, iGoogle, MSNBC, Wikipedia. Media Man is not as slick (or as well funded), but developed a niche and successful business model none the less. The Media Man website network is a work in progress, and is never completely finished (as is the dynamic nature of the web medium).

Background to iGaming and online sports betting

PartyGaming, London Stock Exchange listed powerhouse, is understood to be the world's first igaming giant and firm of considerable name value.

What is an online affiliate program?

An affiliate program is a largely commission based incentive b2b structure where an affiliate (i.e a web publisher) receives a % for generating successful sales / bringing in business. Website portals (and media companies) make for some of the most successful affiliates, as they have compelling unique content, high traffic, loyal readership interested in certain niche areas and the like. Some affiliate programs are quality and worthwhile, and some are not, and could be viewed as a waste of time.

Affiliate marketing (reference: Wikipedia)

Affiliate marketing is a marketing practice in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought about by the affiliate's marketing efforts. Examples include rewards sites, where users are rewarded with cash or gifts, for the completion of an offer, and the referral of others to the site. The industry has four core players: the merchant (also known as 'retailer' or 'brand'), the network, the publisher (also known as 'the affiliate') and the customer. The market has grown in complexity to warrant a secondary tier of players, including affiliate management agencies, super-affiliates and specialized third parties vendors.

Affiliate marketing overlaps with other Internet marketing methods to some degree, because affiliates often use regular advertising methods. Those methods include organic search engine optimization, paid search engine marketing, e-mail marketing, and in some sense display advertising. On the other hand, affiliates sometimes use less orthodox techniques, such as publishing reviews of products or services offered by a partner.

Affiliate marketing-using one website to drive traffic to another-is a form of online marketing, which is frequently overlooked by advertisers. While search engines, e-mail, and website syndication capture much of the attention of online retailers, affiliate marketing carries a much lower profile. Still, affiliates continue to play a significant role in e-retailers' marketing strategies.

Disclaimers Explained

Responsible publishers such as Media Man put appropriate disclaimers on their work. ie: Media Man has a b2b relationship with X. Media Man owns shares in X. X is a client of Media Man. Media Man newsfeeds powered by Fairfax Media, The New York Times and Google News. X is not a client of Media Man, X is a former client of Media Man, and you get the idea...

Some History - 1998, Australia

Professor Jan McMillen, executive director of the Australian Institute for Gambling Research, and Dr Peter Grabosky, director of research at the Australian Institute of Criminology, argued that strict prohibition of internet gambling would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to achieve. "While prohibition would quite likely reduce online gambling to some extent it might detract from the capacity to address other, more pressing forms of online illegality such as fraud, child pornography, or other more serious forms of computer hacking."

International History

The UK was one of the first countries to fully regulate online gambling. This greatly assisted in both consumer protection, innovation and correct government taxation. Companies such as Virgin Games, PartyGaming (PartyCasino and PartyPoker etc), Paddy Power and William Hill have traditional enjoyed strong success in the United Kingdom.

Australian Snapshot And History...

Early Days Of White Australia History

Gambling thrived, largely underground, since settlers arrived in Australia, firstly via Captain Cook (depending upon what history books you wish to believe). Gambling was a favorite pastime and provided for hours, sometimes months, of entertainment.

Circa 1950 - 70s Australia

Illegal gambling dens thrived in Australia. Mainly on the east coast. George Freeman, as featured on some Network 'Underbelly' episodes was the king. Abe Saffron, subject of an 'Australian Families of Crime' feature was also considered king for many years.

Crown Casino Takes Casino Mainstream Down Under

Circa 1980, the late, great, Kerry Packer, sees Crown Casino launch in Melbourne Australia. Crown Casino also becomes home of many great entertainment industry events, including The Logies! (broadcast on Network Nine). Crown grows the empire acquiring a casino in Perth (1984), re named as Burswood Entertainment Centre. In 2005 Kerry passes away, having cheated death a number of times, and James takes the reigns. Packer Jr's aptitude was questioned (mainly by the Aussie press) for many years, but last year he proved the knockers wrong, with Crown Casino and Burswood powering along, followed by his City Of Dreams, Macau, holding up well in a global financial crisis. The Crown empire has showed itself to be recession resilient, but not recession proof. Packer is still standing while many lost their shirts and went down for the count. Packer key business strengths include (other than being seriously cashed up), networking, enjoying relationships with company such as Richard Branson, David Gyngell, Eddie McGuire, Shane Warne, Damian Aspinall (long family history), Sen Stephen Conroy, and a bush tucker bag of Australian state and federal politicians, and a number of the Aussie media and entertainment A-Listers. Packer's teaming up with Aussie mining giant, Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest (Team GenerationOne) earned him browny points, and some say well needed, PR, but both Packer Jr and 'The Twiggster' have both enjoyed long and largely positive history and relationships with Indigenous Australia. By all accounts, their hearts are in it.

Australian Productivity Commission Report - May 2010

Recommends that internet gambling be legalised and regulated

Australians are spending an estimated $1 billion per year on internet gambling (casino, poker and sports betting)

Firms offering online casino products are theoretically subject to fines of up to $1.1 million per day, but Australian Federal Police are refusing to lay charges against illegal operators.

Numbers just in show Aussies are expected to spend $968 million this year on online casino games, poker and bingo, approx 30% on online poker.

iGaming is thriving in Australia, and its cousin, videogaming, also remains one of the more financial stable business sectors.

*The below is credit to the Australian Productive Commission official website

The Productivity Commission's final report on Gambling has been completed and sent to the Australian Government for its consideration.

The release of the final report by the Government is the next step in the process. Under the Productivity Commission Act 1998, the Government is required to table the report in each House of the Parliament within 25 sitting days of receipt.

When the Government releases the report, a copy will be sent to all registered participants including those who made submissions, appeared at the public hearing, or were visited by the Commission. At that time, the report will also be available for download from the inquiry website.

The Commission thanks all those who have contributed to the inquiry.

Following a decision by the Council of Australian Governments, the Australian Government asked the Productivity Commission to undertake a public inquiry into gambling.

The inquiry provides an update on developments since the Commission's 1999 report, and can consider a wide range of issues, including:

the nature and definition of gambling and the range of activities incorporated within this definition

the participation profile of gambling, including problem gamblers and those at risk of problem gambling

the economic impacts of the gambling industries, including industry size, growth, employment, organisation and interrelationships with other industries, such as tourism, leisure, other entertainment and retailing

the social impacts of the gambling industries, the incidence of gambling abuse and the cost and nature of welfare support services necessary to address it

the contribution of gambling revenue on community development activity and employment

the effects of the regulatory structures - including licensing arrangements, entry and advertising restrictions, application of the mutuality principle and differing taxation arrangements - governing the gambling industries, including the implications of differing approaches for industry development and consumers

the implications of new technologies (such as the Internet), including the effect on traditional government controls on the gambling industries

the impact of gambling on Commonwealth, State and Territory budgets

the impact that the introduction of harm minimisation measures at gambling venues has had on the prevalence of problem gambling and on those at risk

evaluate the effectiveness and success of these harm minimisation measures used by the State and Territory Governments.

Media Man coverage continued

Forms Of Gambling...

Casino games - land based

Online casino games - games of chance, games of skill and sports betting

Sports betting - horse racing, AFL, NRL, UFC, Boxing, Cricket etc - (online or offline)

Illegal gambling - ie: betting at gambling dens, unregulated, be it in Las Vegas, Kings Cross, Maroubra Beach or China!

TV in Australia...

Both Australian network TV and pay TV companies have broadcast footage of World Series of Poker and World Poker Tour. Australian former WSOP champion, Joe Hachem, has appeared on a number of Australian TV shows including The Poker Star and Network Ten's 7PM Project. Hachem also writes for The Age. Australia's Shane Warne has appeared on a number of Australian TV shows with the 888 - Pacific Poker connection being clear, and 888 - Pacific is well branded and covered on Mr Warne's numerous websites. Sydney Roosters NRL players previously carried Full Tilt Poker branding on their shorts, but this is understood to be no longer the case. Years ago 'Joker Poker' was screened on Network Nine, and closely associated with James Packer's Crown Casino in Melbourne. Aussie celebrities such as Dave Hughes and Bessie Bardot appeared. NRL, AFL and numerous Australian sports broadcasts carry betting odds which appear on the TV screen. TV announcers will often reference the odds as part of the sports commentating. It's understood that a couple of years ago somehow an overseas online casino brand was advertised on Australian terrestrial TV late at night. The facts are not known on at matter, or in the public domain. Australia's ACMA is likely to have a file on the case.

Online Gaming Regulation In Australia - Yes Or No?

Media Man believes that online gambling, poker, casino, sports betting et should be regulated in Australia. That's a "Yes". As we advised Fairfax Media, we think there are good guys and bad guys. Good guys in our opinion include World Poker Tour (owned and operated by PartyGaming), World Series of Poker, PartyPoker, PartyCasino, Virgin Games - Virgin Casino (not currently available to Australians), PKR, Betfair, Centrebet, Betezy, PokerStars, Rewards Affiliates, DGM (admin for Betfair affiliates), and of course, Gambling911 (who cover the sector, but are not a casino as such, but are a gaming, sports and entertainment website portal). Regulation will assist greatly administering correct taxation of companies and and around the sector, and will likely bring in extra millions into Australian government coffers. Last, but not least, regulation should help ease the small % of what is named "problem gamblers". Readers, keep in mind, many people have a range of problems or issues, "problem gambling" is just 1 of dozens of issues a person may have. The "problem gambler" angle has been the topic of a number of "attack journalism" style news stories in Australia over recent years. Media Man, covering over a dozen different industry sectors... sports, entertainment, community, technology, property etc... believes the gambling (and gaming - video gaming etc) believes that gambling and igaming are "easy or soft targets" (as is the case for oil companies), but that's another story.

Media Man is hopeful that this relatively basic write up will help further explain the igaming sector in Australia - Asia Pacific, and will form part of the road map for law makers and those in and around the industry. It's a complex subject, one where the legal eagles will likely be winners, but one we hope responsible brands and punters alike will also be in the winners circle. Any haters or detractors out there, keep in mind that this news report is not comprehensive, nor is it intended to be. It's some commentary and information put into the public domain while the subject matter remains politically hot in Australia. Media Man has a number of disclaimers on this article to add some balance to the ongoing discussion.

We look forward to continued balance coverage from the likes of Fairfax Media, News Limited, the ABC, SBS and others. We thank Gambling911 as a global media platform to put our thoughts into the public domain.

As always, bet with your head, not over it, know the odds and have fun. Good hunting and happy punting.

Media Man 'Online Casino Of The Month'

Media Man 'Online Casino Of The Month' Runner Up Virgin Games (no U.S, Canadians or Australians - sorry folks)

Media Man 'Online Gaming Affiliate Program Of The Month' PartyPartners, Runner Up: PKR, 2nd Runner Up Rewards Affiliates

Readers... er, punters, how did you like our report? Tell us in the forum.

If you have a bet, please bet with your head, not over it, and for God's sake, have fun.

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. Gaming is just one of a dozen sectors covered

Online Casinos, Online Poker and Sports Betting...

Ok readers, we hear you... you also want to know some of the best places to play online (that accept Aussies) if your in or around the Asia Pacific - Australia (including Tassie) and New Zealand, so here it is... (Many of the world's best slot games. Aussies and Kiwi's welcome).

Captain Cooks Casino

Betfair (sports betting only) (poker, slots including Marvel slot games and sports betting) (online poker at one of the world's most respected poker rooms and gaming brands)


Australian Casinos

World Casino Directory

Global Gaming Directory

Casino Travel



Media Man and Gambling911 remind our readers to keep the following in mind:

Take the time to research and learn games before placing down money

Media Man, Casino News Media and Gambling911 are website portals. Not casinos as such, however are recognised as world leading websites that cover the sector and act as central points to games, news, reviews and more.

If you have a bet, please bet with your head, not over it, and for God's sake, have fun.

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. Gaming is just one of a dozen sectors covered

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