Online gaming is a hugely popular pastime in the UK, with adults of all ages going online to have fun, win money and play with friends or new people. With the latest technological advancements and the availability of smartphones and computers increasing, the number of gaming websites has skyrocketed in recent years.

Overall, the gambling industry produced a gross yield of over ?14.5 billion in the United Kingdom last year. Significantly, 39% of the industry’s market share belongs to the remote (in other words, online) sector. This is an increase of 1.2% from the previous year and goes to show that gaming online is, and will continue to be, a popular and profitable industry.

However, while more choice is a great thing for most players, it can be a little overwhelming for new players just dipping their toe into the world of online gaming.

This is where gaming affiliates come into play. Affiliates promote various online gaming websites, with the intention of increasing traffic to their websites and providing consumers with valuable information about games and the websites that operate them. This may include game ratings, reviews, special offers and bonuses.

Many affiliate websites have great credibility and are a really useful tool for finding new games. However, some sites have gained a poor reputation for their spammy marketing tactics or for prioritising revenue rather than quality content.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at what the pros and cons of using gaming affiliates are, in comparison to going straight to the gaming operators themselves:

Gaming affiliates – what are they and what is so great about them?

In order to understand the pros and cons of using affiliate gaming websites, we must first grasp exactly what it is that affiliates sites offer and how they are different to game operators.

Affiliates are often created and run by experienced game players themselves, as they already have an interest in and knowledge of what the best games are on the web. They may begin as a blog before gaining traction and developing into a full affiliate site.These sites round up the best bingo sites and online casinos and provide truthful information about gameplay, user experience and any tricks and tips they might have.

Clicks are what usually bring gaming affiliate sites their revenue. Put simply, the more website traffic they bring to the game operator, the more revenue the affiliate will receive from them.

Aside from the game recommendation and tips, why do people choose to go through affiliate sites to find games? For many, it is their additional unique features that appeal to them.

One example of this is player reward programmes. Some affiliate sites use reward schemes with loyalty points to encourage game players to go through them to find and play new casino or bingo games. Through these schemes, users earn points by signing up to a new site or depositing a set amount of money.

These loyalty points can them be exchanged for a reward, usually in the form of a gift or voucher, or sometimes they can even be exchanged for cash.

These player reward programmes are a real bonus for those who enjoy playing online games regularly. Much like supermarket loyalty points, they rewards users for choosing them and also provide players with an incentive to keep coming back to the website.

But are affiliates always unbiased? Unfortunately some affiliate websites do prioritise quantity over quality. Rather than linking to the best websites for certain games, they may link to lots and lots of sites in the hopes of getting some clicks. Alternatively, they may choose affiliate links with the best pay rate per click, rather than the best player experience.

Signing up to affiliate sites with spammy marketing practices is one risk, the affiliate may overload you with new deals and games and clutter your email inbox.

However, these sites are a minority. Search engines such as Google and Bing use intelligent algorithms to filter out websites that overuse links or spam their users. Therefore, you can be reassured that those in the top few search results are likely to be the most reputable affiliate websites.

Is it better to cut out the middleman and go straight to the operator?

It is the gaming operator that has the overall responsibility of delivering a great gaming experience for customers and ensuring that it meets demand.

For players who find one gaming operator that has all of the games they enjoy, going straight to the operator can have its benefits. Many operator websites also have reward programmes and loyalty points, which give players rewards such as free spins or extra game plays.

Logging straight into the operator site is a quicker way to access games that you play regularly. You may have initially found a game you enjoy through an affiliate and choose to go directly to the website next time.

But remember – the online gaming industry is highly competitive, operators are constantly bringing out new promotions and bonuses in order to maintain their competitive advantage. By ignoring affiliate sites, you might be missing out on great promotions on websites that you don’t currently visit.

Final thoughts

The answer to which type of website is better is not a simple one. While always using gaming affiliates may be best for some, others may benefit from always visiting a select few gaming operators.

For those new to online gaming, gaming affiliate sites seem to be a great option for exploring different games and learning more about how online gambling works. However users should not forget to also look into the loyalty benefits that their favourite game operators offer.

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