HomeIn-depthIvona Kulichova: "Player protection in an industry known for its complexities is our priority"

Ivona Kulichova: "Player protection in an industry known for its complexities is our priority"

10 min. read
Casino Guru News insider Ivona

Ivona leads the Affiliate Team at Casino Guru. Her primary role involves overseeing the communication, demographic data processes and evaluating the performance of her team. She plays a crucial role in establishing and maintaining meaningful relationships with casino partners.

In this interview, Ivona provides insights into the communication process with partners at Casino Guru. She sheds light on the best practices implemented by the company and shares details about the future plans of her affiliate team.

What does it take to have a successful affiliate team? How do Casino Guru's affiliates maintain communication with casinos? And what value do they bring to the fast-paced online gambling industry? Let's delve deeper!

Q: Ivona, can you zoom in on what an affiliate management is and how it works within Casino Guru?

This is a very good question, as I think many people have no idea what affiliates actually do, even though they meet with our work on a regular basis. The confusion may stem from the various types of affiliate programs available. Affiliate management, which we engage in, is a complex task involving communication, managing and maintaining relationships between casino partners and Casino Guru. In essence, we serve as a bridge connecting the external world of online gambling with our website.

Our primary objective is to provide our website visitors with the most valuable information and services possible. As affiliates, we handle the initial communication with casinos and oversee partnerships from a contractual standpoint, ensuring smooth operations.

Q: How are such partnerships launched?

As a popular and successful platform, casinos often approach us seeking a partnership that involves being included in Casino Guru's portfolio and displayed to our visitors. Initially, we communicate our operating principles to them and then negotiate the terms of our collaboration. During negotiations, we maintain a balanced approach, and we do not explicitly condition cooperation with casinos by agreeing on the highest possible deal, even though the deal is an important part of the initial communication.

We understand that new casinos may face challenges when working with us, as they are assigned areputation ratingbelow 8 until we have thoroughly verified and familiarized ourselves with their operations over time. Once an agreement is reached with our partners, we embark on the registration process together. Initially, when I first joined Casino Guru, registering new casinos was a relatively straightforward task. However, it has since become more intricate, involving multiple steps and complexities.

Q: What does a common registration process involve?

A mountain of paperwork [laughter]. But there is a reason for it. When new casinos seek to expand our portfolio, we aim to gather as much information about it as possible. To achieve this, we request them to complete a casino form, which includes essential details such as the casino's establishment date, ownership information, and offered bonuses. In cases where our partner has multiple casinos, we ask them to fill out separate forms for each individual casino.

Additionally, there is another important step called the registration form. This document contains confidential company and payment data provided by our partner. Rest assured, this information is strictly used for internal purposes only and is not published anywhere. The exchange of data is mutual as we also share the required information about Casino Guru, essentially registering ourselves with the partner.

Throughout the process, we uncover additional details that we include in our reports. These may contain an NGR formula and various fees. Also, calculating the effective revenue share, which determines our ultimate gain from the collaboration, is a crucial aspect. Finally, we input the necessary parameters into our content management system, ensuring that everyone on our affiliate team is aware of the partnership and has access to this information when needed.

Q: Do you ever refuse to cooperate with a casino? Either at the beginning or throughout the negotiation process?

Something like this happens very rarely. In most cases, we embrace cooperation and strive to reach a mutually beneficial agreement. Even if a casino can only offer us a minimal deal, we remain open to partnership. Our guiding philosophy is rooted in the belief that we don't sell positions at our site. Thus, the commission offered by a partner doesn't hold ultimate sway over our decisions.

We don't think along the lines of, "Oh, this partner provides a lower commission, so we should give them a lower position or refuse to work with them altogether." On the contrary, our aim is to have as many casinos as possible in our portfolio.

Q: How do you keep in touch during these partnerships with casinos?

Due to the nature of our work, socializing over coffee or lunch is not often feasible. However, personal meetings become possible during conferences. Over the past five years, I have had the pleasure of encountering familiar faces at these events, which has always been a delightful experience. When we meet our partners in person, the conversation becomes more human and friendly, offering a unique opportunity to enhance and streamline our cooperation.

Under typical circumstances, our communication primarily takes place through Skype and email, similar to how international companies interact online. These channels allow us to maintain connections and communicate effectively, despite physical distances.

Q: What does such a dialogue with the casino look like? What do you discuss on a regular basis?

In our interactions, we often encounter situations where we must adhere to Casino Guru's established company policies. We emphasize the importance of our responsible and honest approach, highlighting the long-term benefits it brings. We strive to motivate casinos to continuously improve by addressing player complaints and concerns. Furthermore, we recommend that they collaborate with our experts, who can assist in implementing and enhancing the standards that Casino Guru deems necessary.

When engaging with our partners, we always aim to approach the conversation fairly, transparently, and with empathy. It is not solely about imposing our point of view on them. Instead, we engage in numerous discussions where we actively listen to our partners' complaints and requests, working together to find suitable solutions.

Q: What skills, qualifications and personality traits do you think a good affiliate must have?

I love working with people who are communicative, have a positive and open-minded attitude, and bring a friendly vibe to the team. At Casino Guru, we appreciate those who are proactive and fearless, as our job is like going on an adventure. We also value the introverts in our team because we believe a good mix of personalities makes a great team.

Recently, as we expanded our team, I made sure to bring on board both extroverts who are spontaneous and enjoy interacting with partners, as well as introverts who excel at working with numbers, tables, statistics, analyses, and reports. It's all about finding the right balance and making the most of everyone's unique strengths and talents.

Q: Speaking of newcomers, how were your beginnings at Casino Guru and what was your previous work experience?

To be honest, my previous jobs have faded from memory because of how captivating Casino Guru is in comparison. I've worked in various industries, including a six-year stint at a real estate agency in Hungary and as a personal assistant to a CEO in a smaller company. Throughout these roles, my communication, organizational skills, and English proficiency were always put to good use.

When I was exploring new opportunities after my maternity leave, I had three offers on the table. During the interview at Casino Guru, my future colleagues left a profound impression on me. The atmosphere was incredibly relaxed, and we shared so many laughs that it became clear I belonged there. I ultimately chose Casino Guru because I resonated with their philosophy and overall company atmosphere.

Q: When you mention the philosophy and atmosphere of the company – how does the affiliate process reflect the values ​​and best practice of Casino Guru?

At Casino Guru, our mission is to provide players with transparent and comprehensive information about gambling and online casinos. We prioritize player protection in an industry known for its complexities. Through our website, we offer in-depth reviews and reputation ratings, ensuring that positively rated casinos are safe, of high quality, have fair terms and conditions, and prioritize timely payouts to players. As affiliates, we uphold this philosophy when engaging with our partners.

From the outset, we make it clear to our partners that we don't guarantee them a desired long-term position in our rankings. Good ratings and high placement are earned based on specific criteria. While we receive numerous requests from casinos to rank them higher, with over 5,500 casinos in our database, it's simply not possible to accommodate everyone's desires. We maintain transparency and consistency in our assessments.

Q: You just recently became an affiliate leader. How has this position been treating you?

When I was offered this position, I hesitated at first and went to consult with the previous lead, who was to become the lead of the newly formed Data Analyst Team. I must say I greatly appreciate her support. So far, it has been quite an interesting and, at times, exhausting experience [laughter]. With the responsibility of training new hires, managing my regular tasks, and leading the department, these past months demanded my full effort and energy.

However, I saw a glimmer of hope in the distance and reminded myself to persevere, knowing that once I successfully trained the newcomers, they would be able to shoulder some of my daily responsibilities, giving me a chance to finally catch my breath. And it all happened, thanks to my team that is truly exceptional.

Q: How does your team collaborate with other Casino Guru departments?

For instance, we provide the Data Team with a comprehensive database that aids in calculating the reputation rating of each casino. We also work together with theComplaint Resolution Center, ensuring that casinos uphold our Fair Gambling Codex. Additionally, we act as an interface for the Finance Department, assisting in accurate partner invoicing and other related tasks. Our responsibilities span across multiple areas, contributing to the smooth functioning of Casino Guru as a whole.

Q: What are your plans for the future?

My vision is centered around enhancing our relationship-building efforts. With a larger team, we now have the resources and capacity to dedicate more time and attention to forging enriching connections. Our focus will be on understanding the needs of our partner casinos and finding ways to support them effectively. In line with this, we plan to increase our participation in conferences, gradually sending all members of my team to gain new experiences and insights. This will enable us to broaden our knowledge and build stronger connections within the industry and extraordinary relations with partners.

This interview is part of Casino Guru Insiders, a series of interviews during which experts from Casino Guru share their unique workflow, reveal insider information, and offer an exclusive overview of experience packed know-how.

09 Jun 2023
10 min. read
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