Interview with Gambling.com’s Gary Connolly – iGaming Voice by Yeva
AffPapa recently had the opportunity to interview the Key Account Manager of Gambling.com, Gary Connolly, who talked about how the firm has been able to achieve its unparalleled levels of success in the industry and discussed the strategies the firm uses to grow at pace while maintaining its commitment to responsible gambling.
Yeva: Although I am certain that the vast majority of our readers are aware of Gambling.com, let’s start our interview with a brief introduction to the group. In your view, what sets the company apart from competing affiliate firms in the industry, Gary?
Gambling.com Group is a multi-award-winning performance marketing company with over 400 full-time employees in the U.S. and Europe. We own and operate more than 50 websites in seven languages across 15 national markets covering all aspects of the online gambling industry and we were most recently named the #2 affiliate in the 2023 EGR Power Affiliate rankings.
In February 2023 we announced the most important media partnership agreement ever signed by an affiliate company: a partnership with the largest publisher of newspapers in the United States – Gannett. In May, we launched its betting hub on the USA TODAY website at USAToday.com/betting – a deep integration into the only truly national, non- business newspaper in the United States. This followed the Group acquiring the Casinos.com domain name in 2022, which our CEO Charles Gillespie expects to be an even more powerful domain name than Gambling.com with the potential to turn into another powerhouse brand for the Group. With the biggest media partnership ever and the biggest domain name ever, the Group again differentiates itself in how it has innovatively created new opportunities.
Yeva: What do you think has played the largest role in Gambling.com’s enormous success? What has enabled it to achieve its position in the industry as one of the most well-known affiliate firms?
The north star is organic growth, meaning growth excluding the effects of acquisitions. It is the clearest and most direct way for us to create shareholder value, and we have invested years and significant resources in our ever growing talent pool, technology stack, content and domain names. People are at the heart of what we do and having the right recruitment process in place to add valuable industry experience and expertise has been crucial. The Group achieved year-over-year organic revenue growth of 39% in FY 2022, as well as a 49% organic revenue CAGR since 2017.
Yeva: In the second half of July, Gambling.com debuted its latest brand, Casinos.com. Could you share a bit about the launch of the new brand? In particular, how has the decision to transfer all of the content on the group’s SlotSource and CasinoSource websites affected the process?
Casinos.com launches as a premier international online destination for casino players looking to discover and play at the best regulated online casinos across the globe. It features some of the most experienced writers, editors, reviewers and experts in the casino industry, all dedicated to building a trusted source of information for players of all types. The new website offers best-in-class free games that cover all categories of casino games, as well as playing and strategy guides from real casino professionals and informational videos and interviews.
The decision to redirect both SlotSource and CasinoSource and transfer their content was based on our previous experience with Gambling.com. When we rebuilt that site back in 2011 everything had to be built from the ground up. In this case we had two mature platforms that we would leverage in order to focus on the user experience on the new site as opposed to needing to build necessary technology systems to support it first.
Yeva: How does Gambling.com maintain its leading position in the ever-evolving gambling industry? What strategies does the company employ to stay ahead of the competition?
In addition to leveraging our internal platforms and premium brands, the Group utilizes media partnerships to offer access to additional high-value media properties and employs a selective M&A strategy that offer revenue synergies. We also seek opportunistic expansion into new markets with favorable regulation and strong growth dynamics. We are set to launch a brand new site in Mexico this month which will be a new market for us and I’m looking forward to seeing how well it performs.
Yeva: Closely tying into our last question, what is Gambling.com’s strategy for implementing various emerging industry trends? Does the company like to be an early adopter or does it wait till trends mature before implementing them?
We pride ourselves on being first to innovate with technology and development of comparison and review analysis across a vast landscape of gaming operators. We have invested heavily in machine learning, expert led data capture and the eventual presentation process which highlights the best in our industry and supports ever changing customer needs. Often once we do it, it is found elsewhere but we understand the need to constantly evolve, dig deeper into the key criteria that allows us to present real time value add information to our users on behalf of our partners.
Yeva: How does Gambling.com choose which operators to work with, Gary? What factors are at play in the company’s decision-making process?
We are proud to have never marketed or promoted offshore, black-market operators over our 16-year history. The Group has always run a clean and compliant performance marketing business, both across various European markets and in every state in the U.S. where iGaming and mobile sports betting is regulated. By directing players to regulated licensed operators that satisfy a set of well-considered and stringent requirements of our own whilst also ensuring they adhere to the rules and regulations of the governmental entities in the jurisdictions in which the company operates, the Group builds trust among its customers and further enhances its public reputation.
Yeva: Which worldwide markets does Gambling.com focus its resources on the most? In your view, which markets offer the most growth possibilities for the industry’s companies?
North America has fast become our largest reporting market and still represents a significant growth opportunity for the Gambling.com Group. We remain confident that our active and future planned activities across the US will drive increased market share exponentially. As we continue to scale our North American operations, the Group will benefit from other attractive near- and long-term growth drivers, including valuable media partnerships with leading domestic digital media publishers, McClatchy and Gannett, and the significant long-term global opportunity provided by the recently launched Casinos.com. In addition, we are well positioned to continue growing in our more established markets where we continue to take market share and have signed our first international media partnership with The Independent for the U.K. market.
Yeva: Having a substantial impact on the worldwide community of gambling enthusiasts that can only be rivaled by the industry’s largest affiliates, how does Gambling.com ensure that its readers can enjoy the pastime in a safe and responsible manner?
We are committed to safe, responsible gaming. The Group has, for some time, provided a dedicated Responsible Gambling Center which stands alone from our commercial platforms and acts as a reliable source for responsible gambling education. Highlighting services and agencies that can aid with all forms of gambling related issues. This is a serious subject for us and https://www.gambling.com/responsible is a standalone dedicated space for education, tips to stay in control and an up to date database of helpful support, advice and suitable tools and services to protect players and their loved ones.
Yeva: What do you like the most about your position as the Key Account Manager at Gambling.com, Gary? On a similar note, what do you like the most about working at the company?
I would have to say the most enjoyable aspect of my current role as Key Account Manager is building strong relationships with our key clients, many of whom I consider friends at this stage. The best part of my role is witnessing the impact of my work on the success of our clients. It’s like watching a slot machine hit the big jackpot when a plan comes together for both of us.
For me, I love the fact that Gambling.com places a strong emphasis on personal and professional development. The company invests in its employees, providing ample opportunities for growth and learning, which is invaluable for anyone looking to advance their career. Working in such an environment with expertise across multiple topics, in several geographical locations is a huge plus, we can share, learn and educate across a vast landscape all under the Gambling.com Group umbrella.
Interviewee: Gary Connolly