Many people on social media and just as many websites constantly complain about offshore sportsbooks and other forms of unlicensed betting. The authors usually have good points. However, the problem often lies with these same groups of people constantly pointing it out.
One of the biggest complaints I see, especially during Super Bowl week, is offshore odds quoted for exotic prop bets like how long the National Anthem takes to sing or which song the halftime performer plays first. Licensed sportsbooks in the United States do not offer these types of bets. It seems pointless to complain about something that is meant purely for entertainment. It is as if these people, often in affiliate media, want the odds to be quoted without attribution.
I realize that low-end affiliates don’t care about attribution, but it seems they need a reminder that responsible journalism requires it. If the goal is that these types of bets should not be reported, that is just people trying to stop others from having fun.
The entire point of sports betting is entertainment. Trying to stop it shows that is not the goal of those complaining about it.
The affiliate problem
Some affiliate companies and their employees are the first to complain about offshore sites. However, a lot of this is the industry’s fault.
The bottom end of the regulated affiliate space steals content from writers like me. The websites involved in content theft create shady link schemes. This props the sites up in Google by breaking its terms and conditions. While Google is much better these days about penalizing websites that use blackhat SEO tricks like this, it still hurts the original creator.
This is rarely a problem in the offshore affiliate space. The few times I encountered this behavior in the unlicensed online gambling world, I received profuse apologies and amicable solutions. While there are licensed affiliates that do the same, the problem is much worse in that space.
The competition is far fairer on the offshore affiliate side. Operators don’t tolerate content theft. I’ve gotten several affiliates kicked out of programs for stealing content. I’ve never received a reply to an email from licensed operators. That tells me that these sites don’t care how their marketing partners send them players, as long as it happens. The offshore sites win how they handle this in a landslide.
That is not the only problem with licensed operators and affiliate programs
Legal online sportsbooks only want to work with large affiliates. I understand why. It is easier to handle a handful of large accounts instead of 100 mostly smaller ones. However, that makes it impossible to convert offshore affiliates or website owners who developed massive traffic trying to monetize it.
I get unsolicited emails almost every weekday from offshore affiliate program representatives wanting to buy ads on our sites. This happens while emails I send to licensed ones never get a response. Most website owners presented with this opportunity will promote the offshore sites as there is no regulated opportunity. If operators want to clear the advertising off gambling portals, the solution is to work with those websites.
Regulated affiliate content is often lacking or inaccurate
There are great regulated affiliate websites out there. Many more are a step above spam and add nothing to the discussion. Even worse, these sites often exist purely for SEO purposes and hire cheap writers who don’t understand the subject. Those writers go to sites like ours and rewrite content they don’t understand and get it wrong. This bad information then makes it into search engines, squeezing out expert content like mine.
Readers above the novice level see this immediately and don’t trust the site because it does not know when to surrender in blackjack, what a teaser bet is, or how to play video poker correctly. The brands promoted alongside this poor content is damaged by this situation.
Offshore affiliate content is often high quality. Readers find the authors understand the topic. The offshore brands promoted next to this content are placed higher than the other site, and an offshore player is converted.
Backing Players Off
Some legal betting sites back players off for winning too much or too often. Reputable offshore sportsbooks don’t do this. As long as licensed sportsbooks have a reputation for limiting winners, the offshore ones will continue to get action.
Some may feel that these winning players are unprofitable for sportsbooks. Good bookmakers know how to manage that risk. Winning bettors often have large social media followings or participate in private forums. When they share getting banned from a legal sportsbook, losing players also see it and make decisions about where to play based on that.
There is also the responsible gambling angle when a sportsbook only wants losing players. That is an entirely different discussion for a later time.
Products and operations often don’t appeal to players
There are many good online sportsbook operators. Some are not in that category. The usual problems are related to poor software or terrible odds. That may not be the case with the largest operators, but novice bettors, or ones who bet offshore for years, may not be aware that better platforms exist. In the case of ripoff odds, that falls squarely on the operators, especially in states with monopolies, like Montana.
Can we all just work together?
If the industry truly cares about promoting legal sites over offshore ones, the ball is in the court of large companies. Working together to benefit players should be the goal of everyone involved who cares about more than money. Until that day comes, offshore sites will continue to get advertised on major websites and attract depositors who may have gone to licensed ones instead.