THE VIP OR ‘high-roller’ player is the goal of every affiliate

“But what’s this long face about, Mr Starbuck; wilt thou not chase the white whale? Art thou not game for Moby Dick?” Herman Melville, Moby-Dick.

THE VIP OR ‘high-roller’ player is the goal of every affiliate, or rather, the goal of every affiliate that knows how to aim for long¬term revenues.

In reality, however, a player that has the capacity to play hundreds of thousands of dollars a hand is far more likely to jet to Vegas or Macau for an immersive experience. This is simply because many casinos cannot rival an experience that is offered at the Bellagio.

Promoting an enormous bonus may be ‘just’ enough to entice a VIP through the doors, but, it is a whole sensation that has to be replicated by us as an operator to rival the floors of some of the world’s most exotic and established institutions enticing their loyalty.

Many casinos are catered towards the ‘casual’ player, with far lower lifetime value for the casino, but generate large sums of revenue due to the volume of people using their platform. From an affiliate’s point of view,,this kind of traffic, although generally rewarding and necessary for revenue stability, can be problematic due to the relatively high costs of bonuses applied to recently acquired players. It is important to choose operators that will carry over true costs and keep their programs transparent. Lower retention and rates of revenue mean that affiliates may see a lot of customer turnover without garnering decent commission for their efforts to secure the traffic. This not only affects revenue share partners; affiliates who work on a CPA model may see their conversion rates affected by players who may join a casino, but not meet the wagering requirements to trigger a payment.

Taking all into consideration and with the market for online casinos somewhat saturated, affiliates targeting more niche markets are more likely to find success, and the VIP market is a very lucrative angle to aim for. Hook one whale with your high-roller site and word-of-mouth can spread fast, potentially bringing in similar players. Optimising a site with high-quality content, catering for a more ‘discerning’ demographic and promoting only the appropriate brands with well- developed relationships with both their players and affiliates alike can be a lucrative move if done correctly.

That being said, it is important to note that over-reliance on one or two players is a dangerous game, as not only can you not guarantee their loyalty to any one casino, but a winning streak by a high level player can be devastating. That kind of volatility needs to be managed by the casino and although in fewer numbers, many fair operators still employ a no-negative carryover policy in order to help their affiliates.

VIPs are shrewd players and if they feel they are not getting the right levels of service, or have been offered something better from another operator, they may well decide to take their business elsewhere. When choosing which casino to play with, a VIP’s decision is dictated by a casino’s bonus structure and VIP reward program, while their long-term loyalties are earned the same as in any land-based operation. Only a few online casinos remain that are uniquely prepared to attract and retain high-value players with a ‘concierge’ service, an increased, flexible bonus selection, higher table limits, fast payments and withdrawals and customer service always on hand.

Once a high-roller is brought in by an affiliate, what then? Ultimately, the player is now out of your hands and is entrusted to the casino and their retention team to keep them happy and playing at their casino. Casinos that specialise in catering to the ‘high-roller’ players will have an on-site VIP team who are managed by them on a one-to-one basis. This could include daily contact, preferential treatment with prizes and a direct line to their own contacts 24/7.

The most essential thing for affiliates looking for these players is to promote a casino that ticks all these boxes to help you catch, and keep, your whale.
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