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Slovakia: How iGaming sites can build traffic (second part)

George Miller

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Slovakia: How iGaming sites can build traffic (second part)
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Let’s look at how the typical marketing strategies employed by iGaming firms can be applied to Slovakia.
Marketing strategies for operators and affiliates who want to apply for licence
If the laws do get changed, and you apply and receive a licence, then you will have access to the standard advantages.

These are:
The possibility to use Google Adwords PPC campaigns. I have found one of the top affiliates which is using Adwords on google.sk, and they seem to have complete control of this market right now. There are a lot of big keywords which they don’t even try to cover, so PPC could be worth exploring.
Greater advertising choices. Most of the big local sites use display advertising, and you must negotiate with the site directly (not with a network). If you can show you have a licence, then you will have a better chance of being accepted, as the site won’t have to worry about any advertising fines.

Similarly, a lot of the big native and display advertising networks do accept gambling adverts but often want to see a local licence before accepting them.

Marketing strategies for operators who don’t want/can’t wait to get a Slovak licence
With so many international operators seeming not to care about the potential fines, and Slovak ISPs and banks seemingly not blocking sites or payments, there will be a temptation for operators (and affiliates) to not bother waiting for a licence. This is especially likely with a proposed tax on revenue of 23% and considering the unstable political climate.
For those in this position, here are some strategies to gain a share of the Slovak market.

SEO
No good strategy in a market like Slovakia would be complete without some good old-fashioned SEO.
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Aside from building quality on-site content in the Slovak language, operators and new affiliates would obviously need to build links from quality local sites to their pages, to challenge the top spots.
Acquiring links from existing Slovak sites might be difficult, because of the potential €250,000 fine that the site owner might face. Foreign operators in Malta might not feel threatened by such fines, but a small amateur site owner in Bratislava is likely to take these threats very seriously. The situation for link-building in Slovakia is likely to be very similar to the one in Finland right now.
Slovakia therefore looks like the kind of market where you may need to run a quality Private Blog Network (PBN) to build rankings.

A potential PBN strategy for Slovakia

I would recommend a multi-tier structure, with the bottom tier being made up of expired .sk domains with positive metrics.
The content on these sites should be recreated as much as possible using the waybackmachine downloader tool. A new landing page would then be created with casino content in Slovak, and a link from that page to the upper tier sites.
These upper tier sites would be made up of expired .com or .eu domains, with positive metrics. The content would be changed to iGaming content in the Slovak language, with links to the money sites.
This mix would protect against the .sk sites being confiscated by Slovak authorities at any future stage, while still allowing for some local TLDs.
.sk domains no longer require to be registered to a Slovak business address, but anonymous ownership is not allowed, although some registrars will allow you to use their details. You can buy expired .sk domains at Webhouse.

Top keywords for your SEO strategy

Keyword research of the Slovak market shows that poker is still a popular subject in the country, as is roulette.
The data below is pulled from SEMRush and Google Trends, and shows the following suggested keywords to focus on (where available, monthly search volume is given).

Kasino: 1000
Poker Online: 880
Ruleta: 1000
Ruleta online: 210
Poker: 14800
Online Ruleta: 20
Kasino online: n/a
Hracie automaty: 15 – 100
Hracie automaty online: 0- 100
Online kasino: n/a
Hraj v online kasine: n/a
Online kasina: n/a
Hraj online: n/a
Stavky online: n/a
Online stavky: n/a
Stavkuj online: n/a
Online stavkovanie: 0 – 90
Vyhraj v online kasine: n/a
Ako vyhrat v online kasine: n/a

Right now, the top keywords seem to be mostly informational in nature, reflecting the newness of the Slovak market. The user intent seems to be about learning more about how to bet online, and not about which is the best casino.
Building landing pages with content focusing on satisfying these user intents seems to be the way to go for now. It might not convert immediately, but building trust is an important step at the top of any sales funnel.
There’s no surprise about who dominates the social network scene in Slovakia, with Facebook and Instagram both the most prominent.

Facebook’s targeting tools are second-to-none, but they require a big advertising spend before they will allow you to run gambling ads. In a small country like Slovakia, it probably isn’t going to be worth it.
However, gambling fan pages that aren’t too pushy should work well.
I see three basic ways of getting traffic from social media in Slovakia:

– Find a local influencer on FB or Instagram and get him or her to endorse your brand
– Start a FB group where people can swap tips, bonus offers etc.
– Start an Instagram account and send out a mix of funny gambling-related pictures/quotes, and offers such as welcome bonuses

Partner with existing Affiliates

Operators looking to gain a quick foothold in the Slovak market will naturally turn to the affiliates who are dominating the google.sk SERPs.
The current reluctance for these affiliates to partner with licenced local operators means there could be room for some negotiations.

Use Adwords even if you don’t have a licence
I have heard that some clever PPC ninjas use cloaking to display adverts in countries where they don’t have a licence. It sounds really risky to me, but if you have plenty of accounts that you don’t mind sacrificing, and don’t put landing pages directly on the money sites, then it might work.

Display

This form of banner advertising dominates the top local sites. Most of the big media sites will probably turn down gambling content because of the fear of fines.
That said, I know that one of the big names on the blacklist uses display advertising on one of the top 50 sites in Slovakia. I won’t name names, to protect both parties, but this shows it is possible.

Adult

Several of the top 50 sites are adult-themed and are part of the Trafficjunky network. The targeting options on Trafficjunky are excellent, allowing you to target even to the city level.
This could be useful in a diverse country like Slovakia. For example, Google Trends data shows that the hracie automaty (online slots) keyword is much more popular in the east of the country than the west. Similarly, you can target by gender, so you could perhaps offer games popular with women on the ‘female-friendly’ adult niche.
If you want to try the adult channel, you should know that visitors who are there for the free content tend to have low conversion rates. That could be a problem on a CPM model (as Trafficjunky is) as you might have to burn through a lot of cash to see results.
However, premium adult subscribers tend to convert a lot better, and Trafficjunky have several sites which offer these customers, making this network the perfect place to experiment.

Native

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last few years, you probably have been exposed to native advertising.
In contrast to display ad banners which leave no doubt they have a commercial intent; native ads aim to blend in with other articles on a site. Here’s an example of native advertising from the Times of Malta recently, alongside some classic display banners.

This form of advertising has become very popular in the English-speaking markets in recent years, especially on informational websites like online news, forums and other places where users come to consume information. However, it’s pretty new in Slovakia and not many publishers have signed up with the big networks (yet).
Native works well for binary options and other such financial niches. People are always on the lookout to make some money, and if you can create native adverts which claim to spill the secrets that the casinos don’t want you to know about, then this could be the perfect way to tap into the Slovak customer’s hunger for information.

The MGID ad network allows gambling content, and doesn’t specifically prohibit it in Slovakia, but you should check with them before trying this out.
Anybody thinking of entering the Slovak iGaming market will need to be flexible to deal with unstable and unreliable laws and regulations.

 

Written by: Ivana Flynn for Calvinayre.com. Ivana is a Malta-based SEO Consultant dedicated to helping iGaming operators and affiliates improve their organic search rankings. Her biggest professional passion is using SEO to break into new and tricky markets. In her spare time, she bakes, works out and plays with her cats.

George Miller started his career in content marketing and has started working as an Editor/Content Manager for our company in 2016. George has acquired many experiences when it comes to interviews and newsworthy content becoming Head of Content in 2017. He is responsible for the news being shared on multiple websites that are part of the European Gaming Media Network.

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Central Europe

Playtech launches TotalCasino, the first regulated online casino in Poland

Niji Ng

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Playtech launches TotalCasino, the first regulated online casino in Poland
Reading Time: 1 minute

 

Playtech Plc has launched the path-breaking TotalCasino (TotalCasino.pl), the first ever regulated online casino in Poland. The move is in partnership with the Polish state-owned national lottery operator Totalizator Sportowy.

Earlier this year, Totalizator Sportowy chose Playtech as its lead digital systems provider in its bid to expand further.

Totalizator Sportowy currently has over 17,000 points of sale across the country, built over six decades. The proceeds from its business are used as social funds for the construction and renovation of sports facilities.

The Polish lottery chose Playtech for the purpose because of the latter’s a proven track record of delivering broader offerings for World Lottery Association members including Greece’s OPAP, Portugal’s Santa Kaza and Sisal Italy.

Backing the launch of TotalCasino.pl Mor Weizer, Chief Executive Officer of Playtech, said: “This is a significant day for Totalizator Sportowy and for Playtech. A lot of hard work has gone into the last nine months to build an exciting, robust, safe platform for Poland’s players. We owe a big thank you to our new partners at Totalizator Sportowy and look forward to a long, successful relationship.”

“Our commitment to innovative, industry-leading products and the scale and flexibility of our gaming platform means Playtech is the clear partner of choice for the leading land-based operators in newly regulating online markets.”

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Central Europe

Sazka and SBTech agree multi-year sportsbook extension

George Miller

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Sazka and SBTech agree multi-year sportsbook extension
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Czech national lottery extends partnership with SBTech following two years of “substantial revenue” gains to drive further market share growth

 

SBTech, the leading sports betting and gaming technology supplier and Sazka, the Czech Republic’s national lottery operator, are delighted to announce the multi-year extension of their pioneering sportsbook partnership.

The agreement, first signed in 2016, means SBTech will continue to work closely with one of Europe’s premier lottery groups, supplying it with the industry’s leading sports betting offering.

Full integration with SBTech’s comprehensive responsible gambling protocols also ensures player safety and security are at the forefront of Sazka’s operations.

Since the sportsbook’s launch two years ago, Sazka has achieved significant growth despite competition from international operators, with an enhanced product built around SBTech’s award-winning event coverage and tailored, data-driven risk management, highly configurable bonus engine and a bespoke front-end designed specifically for the Czech market.

Andrew Cochrane, Chief Commercial Officer, SBTech, said: “We are delighted to strengthen our relationship with one of Europe’s leading lottery groups. Sazka has achieved remarkable growth by embracing innovation, while also maintaining the highest standards of player safety and corporate and social responsibility.

“We have high expectations for the growth of the regulated Czech market and are committed to long-term shared success in this exciting territory.”

Robert Chvatal, CEO, Sazka, added: “SBTech’s complete sports betting solution has enabled us to expand rapidly over the past two years and we are very happy to extend our partnership. We anticipate continued and sustained growth moving forward and are preparing to leverage the full power of the SBTech sportsbook in the months and years to come.”

 

About SBTech

 SBTech is a global leader in omni-channel sports betting and gaming, with more than 1,100 employees in nine offices worldwide. Since 2007, the group has developed the industry’s most powerful online sports betting and casino platform, serving licensees in more than 20 regulated markets.

SBTech’s clients include many of the world’s premier betting and gaming operators, state lotteries, land-based casinos, horse racing companies, and igaming start-ups. The group supplies highly flexible betting and gaming solutions to clients looking for exceptional configurability and the quickest route to market, complemented by proven business intelligence and reporting capabilities.

The SBTech offering includes its seamless sportsbook, Chameleon360 igaming platform, managed services, on-property sportsbook and omni-channel solutions that provide players with constant access to sports and casino products across all online, mobile and retail channels.

Supported by unrivalled expertise in trading and risk management, acquisition and CRM, and the highest standards of regulatory compliance, SBTech’s partners consistently achieve rapid growth, enhanced brand loyalty and record revenues. For more information, visit: www.sbtech.com

 

About SAZKA a.s.

SAZKA a.s. is the biggest and oldest lottery company in the Czech Republic with approximately 95% share on the lottery market. The main lottery products of the company are number lotteries with best known lottery Sportka. Apart from number lotteries in the product offer there are scratch cards, sport odds betting and fast-moving games. Second pillar contains non-lottery services, in particular the biggest mobile virtual operator in the Czech Republic SAZKAmobil, credit recharge and arranging of payments for services or selling tickets. SAZKA a.s. provides its products mainly via a unique selling network with more than 7200 selling places which are located all over the Czech Republic. Products are also available on www.sazka.cz, where the customers can play them online.  SAZKA a.s. is a member of supra-national investment group KKCG acting in 11 countries on 4 continents. Sazka a.s. is part of international lottery holding Sazka Group (there are also shares in Greek Lottery OPAP, Italian Lotto and Austrian Casinos Austria).

 

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Central Europe

Slovakia to greet online gaming in July 2019

Niji Ng

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Slovakia to greet online gaming in July 2019
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Slovakia’s parliament has passed the new gambling act prepared by the Ministry of Finance, which will open Slovak market for foreign operators, including operators with a registered office outside of Slovakia.

An online betting license will cost €3m. The same amount will have to be paid as fee for online casino license. If an operator applies for both, there will be reduction as the combined cost will only be €5m.

The new act should become effective on March 1 2019, except for some provisions which will be effective as of 1 June 2019.

As per the bill, a new gambling regulator, the Office for Regulation of Gambling, will come into effect. Currently, the Ministry of Finance is acting as Slovenia’s gambling regulator. The functioning of the regulator will be bankrolled by a tax on lottery operator turnover of 0.7 per cent of gross gaming revenue in the case of operators of other games.

Foreign operators will need to have a representative in Slovakia who will need to register with the Office and communicate with the Office on behalf of the operators.

Whilst currently, only the state monopoly holds the online licence, the new set up will see the state monopoly only apply to numerical lotteries, special bingo and receipt lotteries.

Online betting licences and online casino licences will last for 10 years, although for a combined land-based and online casino licence, the maximum licence period is five years with an option for an additional five years. Licences for online casinos will be issued from July 2019 with applications needing to be filed on or after 1 March 2019.

Any operators who were issued with a Blocking Order under the old Gambling Act will remain blocked under the new licensing regime.

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