1/7/10 – It's taken almost a year, with some interesting and even evasive verbal gymnastics from a number of involved persons, but the truth is finally out: Casino Affiliate Programs is a financial beneficiary – the numbers are not disclosed – of affiliate conferences organised by iGaming Business in the wake of the early 2009 ownership meltdown at CAP.
Like the events that provided its foundations, the unveiling was controversial, confirming what industry insiders have suspected for some time – that Warren Jolly's CAP has continued to benefit from the events despite apparent attempts to portray this as a fresh and seperate activity.
Ironically, one of CAP's most vociferous detractors back in the early months of 2009 was the Gambling Portal Webmaster's Association, and it is on the message boards of this body that the latest drama played out.
It involved the disclosure of certain commercial information – since deleted – by a GPWA associate answering an affiliate who was seeking clarification on the CAP-iGB financial relationship.
The response reportedly resulted in a growing furore and the imposition of a temporary posting ban. It also appears to have prompted an iGaming Business representative to post, confirming that there was a financial arrangement, although details were not provided. This same representative had determinedly refused to confirm this earlier in the year.
That, in turn, appeared to trigger a statement from Jolly, who remains the CAP chief executive officer, which we quote verbatim from the GPWA public forum:
"Back in late 2006, around the time UIGEA was passed, Alex Pratt (Publisher of iGaming Business) and I conceptualized a series of iGaming affiliate conferences which would be completely free for affiliates who were members of both CAP and the GPWA – these conferences would become the "official" CAP conferences and would take over our already established event series, CAP Spring Break, which had been in existence since 2002.
"It is important to mention, iGB and CAP already had an existing relationship as iGB was (although a name change has since been instituted to “iGB Affiliate Magazine”) responsible for the publication, editorial, and advertising sales of the official magazine of CAP – "CAP magazine".
"A deal was struck whereby iGaming Business (hereafter referred as "iGB") would handle all of the sales, logistics, and planning of these conferences, and CAP would handle all of the marketing to affiliates and operators.
"All invoicing was to be handled by iGB and there would be a split of profits on these conferences (the exact split is not relevant, nor will it be discussed from either side as our contract treats this as strictly confidential).
"The first event launched in January 2007 in London and the rest is history – these events are now clearly the largest and most established conferences within the iGaming affiliate sector, world-wide and CAP has continued to market & promote these events the same way as we did since the first CAP Euro London conference.
"In early 2009, due to our own internal challenges & restructuring, a decision was made to distance the events and magazines from CAP.
"Until this point, CAP had full authority to veto any sponsorship, offer discounts/combined sponsorships, and control other matters. We gave up this control and provided 100 percent latitude to iGB in an effort to focus our time, energy, and resources on resolving the internal disputes at the time.
"A decision was also made to re-brand the conferences, which remains in effect today.
"From a financial perspective CAP is still a beneficiary – we co-founded the conferences, attracted the affiliates/operators, and rightfully deserved to continue to benefit financially from these events."
Whilst the need to distance the conferences from the uproar at CAP, and the distaste with which these events were viewed by the industry, is understandable it remains puzzling as to why such an upfront statement was not made at the time instead of the prevarication that prevailed back then.
The incident has illustrated that the affiliate community is a forgiving one, however; posts by many affiliates on several message boards indicate that whether CAP profits from these events or not, they will be supporting this year's conference.