Gator Wagers Talks Alliances, Golf, and DFS values

We often stress the value of customer loyalty, especially from the standpoint of operators. Yet, as our interviewee astutely notes, there are times when ‘it’s essential not to be exclusively loyal to any one sportsbook.’

“Where you place your bets can be just as crucial as who you bet on.” That’s why Gator Wager aggregates real-time odds from major operators across the country, helping players make informed decisions.

SBC’s Affiliate Leaders had a conversation with Brett Hoffman, Founder of Gator Wagers, ahead of his appearance at SBC Summit North America this May. The discussion delved into the company’s business model, their innovative approaches to acquiring and retaining customers through ambassadors and giveaways, and why they’ve chosen to focus on golf. Brett also shared insights on the M&A strategy for affiliates, a topic he’ll be discussing at the summit, their collaboration with daily fantasy sports operators, and his observations on the competitive landscape of affiliate marketing in the United States.

SBC: Hello Brett, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Can you provide insights into Gator Wagers’ business model and strategies for acquiring new users and retaining existing ones?

Brett Hoffman: Thank you for inviting me. Regarding acquiring new users, we’ve built a fleet of brand ambassadors in the various states we operate.

Each ambassador generates new sign ups to the sportsbooks and daily fantasy sports (DFS) brands we’re affiliated with, which leads to more organic growth and lower customer acquisition costs for us. We’ve also been very active with sweepstakes, contests and promotions on X (formerly Twitter) through our own channel and we’re partnering with personalities to showcase the sportsbooks and DFS brands to their audiences.

When it comes to retaining customers, we continue to add to our sportsbook and DFS menu. We’re an affiliate to BetMGM, Hard Rock, Bet365, Unibet, Resorts World, Wynn, Tipico, and also the DFS brands, Underdog, Sleeper, Dabble. Additionally, we have a referral system in place. We add each customer to our X and Telegram community, email subscription lists, and maintain an open DM for any sports and golf related queries. Our weekly “tag a friend” giveaways have given us more access to customers in established betting states as well as in more nascent ones.

SBC: Could you detail the range of sports and events available for betting on Gator Wagers? With your specific emphasis on golf, how has this niche contributed to the profitability of your business?

BHOur sports odds coverage is focused on PGA Tour Golf and Futures Markets for all major sports (Super Bowl, MVP, Heisman, Props, and more). Our aggregator captures real time odds from eight sportsbooks. Our focus is here because these markets have actual value in odds shopping. For example, on March 1st, Kentucky was +3000 to win the NCAA Basketball Championship on FanDuel, but +1600 on Caesars. These are essentially two different bets. Hideki Matsuyama was priced at +5000 to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational on FanDuel, but +4000 on BetMGM.

In these markets, it’s important to not have loyalty to any one sportsbook. For an NFL game, the spread will be the same at every sportsbook. However, golf and futures markets are entirely different, and it’s important to find the best price for your desired bets to maximize profits on winning wagers. Where you bet is just as important as who you bet on in some cases.

SBC: As you’ll be participating in a panel on mergers and acquisitions at SBC Summit North America, what considerations should affiliates prioritize when evaluating M&A opportunities?

BH: Acquirers tend to lean towards larger acquisitions, so I’d expect to see a few deals for larger players in the market in 2024. Currently, from our perspective, we’re generating roughly $200K in annual revenue, so we’re not at the level to be acquired yet. However, we’re open to the idea of merging with another affiliate to form a super affiliate company.

SBC: Your panel will explore alternative routes to traditional M&A. Can you share a preview of your thoughts on this matter?

BH: Affiliates forging super affiliates through mergers. The cost of acquiring customers as an affiliate is going to increase in 2024 and beyond. The tricky side of the affiliate space is that you’re competing against the sportsbooks you’re promoting, and the operators naturally have a broader reach than affiliates. Instead of competing in this arena, it would be more logical for affiliates to team up in a mutually beneficial capacity.

SBC: What are your perspectives on the current landscape of affiliate marketing in the United States? How do you address the challenges and leverage the opportunities across different states?

BH: The opportunities for affiliates promoting sportsbooks in existing legal betting states is beginning to dry out, especially in more established states. Many customers have already taken advantage of  the new player promotions offered by each sportsbook and now prefer to bet with their favorite one or two sportsbooks, typically DraftKings or FanDuel.

We’re finding a lot more access and opportunities as an affiliate on the DFS side. We’ve partnered with Underdog, Sleeper, and Dabble to showcase their offerings to our customers. We’re now able to target customers in states we never focused on, such as FL, CA, TX, as these DFS brands are active there, while traditional sportsbooks are not. The feedback has been great; it’s easy for new customers to join, and it has a lower customer acquisition cost for us, although the commission is less than what sportsbooks pay.

SBC: Are there any upcoming plans or expansions for Gator Wagers’ platform?

BH: Overall, we will continue building up the golf community. On the tech side, we plan to add a premium analytics product to our existing odds comparison tool. We aim to customise and enhance the user experience through partnerships that would allow us to access data tools, real-time bet sharing, odds alerts, and more.

Our social media contests, where we run a weekly giveaway on X, have been the highest-ranked post for three straight PGA Tour events. We’ve drawn great engagement, gained new followers, and have been generating more interest in golf betting in general. We are doubling down on that marketing approach this year and hoping to collaborate with data-driven brands as well as growing sports betting brands in our quest.

SBC: What are your primary objectives for attending SBC Summit North America, and how can this event help you accomplish them?

BH: Networking, creating affiliate relationships, marketing partnerships, learning about operator plans, and understanding how other affiliates are approaching the market. Additionally, meeting people face-to-face after corresponding via email for a year is important. I’ve attended this event for the past three  years, and each time, it has been extremely fruitful for Gator Wagers.

___________

Hoffman will be speaking on the ‘New Roads to Investment: the M&A Strategy for Affiliates’ panel alongside Adam Small (Gaming Industry Investor and Entrepreneur) and Matt Schwimmer (CEO, Playmaker HQ). The panel, which takes place on Wednesday, May 8 at 4:40pm – 5:20pm EDT, will be moderated by Andrew Zarnett (Managing Director, Head of Gaming, Investment Banking, Jefferies LLC).

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