Firstgaming - MasterCard Defaults - affiliates penalized

asidea

®Laugh a little each day!.
PABnonaccred
Joined
Apr 28, 2004
Location
UK
Is this Fair?
I have only been promoting them for only 3 months..lmao.

Dear Affiliates,

Over the past few weeks we have been involved in lengthy discussions across the board of white label Rival operators. The main issue was on how best to cope with the increasing financial burden due to processors that have defaulted on their original agreements and are withholding funds. To date, both Slot Power and Vanguard Casino have borne these losses without a murmur, and affiliate commissions have remained fully intact.

However, we have been heavily affected and for this reason have finally come to the following decisions which directly concern you as an affiliate.

These terms are effective from 1 March, 2010:

1) In order to decrease the burden on the casinos, affiliate commissions will now take into account fraud charges, which already includes chargebacks, and will now take processor seizures into account too. Fraud charges will be carried over should an affiliate become negative.

2) Affiliate tagged player progressive net losses will be distributed prorata among all affiliates. This should mean that you'll see fewer streaks of deduction without credits, as progressive losses, and credits too, will be spread across all our affiliates.

These decisions have not been made lightly, and should in no way be considered penalties. They are vital in order to ensure the continued and successful operations of both Slot Power and Vanguard Casino through this challenging period. Quite simply, we cannot afford to keep paying commissions out of our own pockets due to the considerable amount of seized funds over past months.
 

asidea

®Laugh a little each day!.
PABnonaccred
Joined
Apr 28, 2004
Location
UK
Reply from Firstgaming!

This is the reply I have recieved from Firstgaming partners after I emailed them to say that I am closing my affiliate account.

My reason, is simple, affiliates work hard to try and promote all this casinos, it is not our fault if players and payment processors chose or decides to default on payments.

Extract from Email:
Thank you for your email, I'm sorry you wish to close your affiliate account with us but I do appreciate your concerns.

Please note that these changes have been made in order to ensure our survival, over the past few months we have paid all affiliate commissions in full despite processors withholding substantial amounts of funds.

These recent changes are no more than a simple tightening of our belts, in order to ensure the survival of our two casinos.

The first change will only affect you as an affiliate if another processor does the dirty on us and seizes all funds deposited by players - so effectively you wouldn't receive commission on any players you signed up, but neither would we have received those funds either - as the entire amount would be seized. We can't afford to continue to cover these losses, hence the decision.

The second change will have minimal affect on you as an affiliate, mainly because we don't promote the progressive slots at either Slot Power or Vanguard. Zero bonuses can be used on the progressives, and as a result, progressive gameplay here is minimal. Our focus has always been on the most profitable games, the regular slots, including our unique Goldenman and Jenny Nevada slots on Slotpower.

So although I do totally understand your concerns, I hope that you will reconsider your decision, and instead decide to remain with us as an affiliate partner. We fully intend to work through these setbacks and make for a much stronger future - with your help and support!

Thank you for listening,

Charlie
 

Pinababy69

RIP Lisa
Joined
Oct 15, 2004
Location
Toronto, Ontario - Canada
Asidea, the tone of your post sort of implies that this is news to you....which would lead me to believe that you are not a member of the GPWA (Gambling Portal Webmaster's Association) or AGD (Affiliate Guard Dog). You should also join the Webmaster's Section here at CM.

This is a widespread issue, not just with Firstgaming Partners, but affecting many Rival operations. Here's a link to another thread here that will give you some more info:

https://www.casinomeister.com/forum...onies-removed-processing-funds-removed.36765/

If you're going to promote casinos, you really should try and keep yourself abreast of what's going on in the industry. I don't mean for that to be harsh....trying to help you out.
 

jetset

RIP Brian
Joined
Feb 22, 2001
Location
Earth
Not an affiliate, but after watching the various exchanges that have been going on regarding this issue for awhile it seems to me that (some) Rival operators are attempting to arbitrarily change their affiliate obligations in an attempt to pass on a risk to business that is actually their own.

It smacks of an attempt to squeeze a little more out of the system, because this is the sort of risk that should have been considered in doing the business plan, and it shouldn't be a 'survival' issue.

Trying to pass on that risk to your marketers is quite cheeky imo, but more importantly if I were an affiliate I would be worried about what sort of industry precedent it could set if allowed to go unchallenged.

Imagine if all the programs thought they could get away with this!

The obvious way to respond is to resign the account - if enough affiliates do that it will be a clear and I assume effective message for anyone contemplating similar attempts to pass on the e-processor etc risk.

Unless of course these operators think they can get by without affiliate marketing!

Every time you think you've heard everything in this business, someone pops up with another shifty idea.
 

KasinoKing

WebMeister & Slotaholic..
webmeister
PABnonaccred
CAG
MM
Joined
Aug 25, 2004
Location
Bexhill on sea, England
Is this Fair?
Yes, I think it is.
Players "deposit" and play, but then later the casino finds out that the Credit Card Company is withholding the funds.
So the casinos are NOT GETTING ANY MONEY from these transactions - why should they pay affiliates?

I'm an affiliate and Rival is my main brand, but I'm getting sick & tired of hearing other webmasters bitching on and on about losing a few % here and there.
Hello people - casinos are a business; without income they can not survive.
What would you prefer - pay affiliates everything they are asking for and let the casinos go bust? :eek:
We are supposed to be partners with these casinos; partners have to share everything - the good times and the bad. To many webmasters want it to be a one-way street IMHO. :(

Their main priority should always be to the players first IMHO - without players you have no casino.
As long as Rival keep up payments to players, I will continue to list them on my sites.

KK
 

Charlie@FGP

Dormant account
Joined
Oct 12, 2009
Location
First Gaming Partners
From First Gaming Partners

Charlie here from FGP, just wanted to update you on the latest situation, easiest to post the email we've just sent to our affiliates:

Dear Affiliates,

We have been talking with some of you today about the issues we emailed about yesterday, and as a result have reviewed and revised our decisions in the way affiliate commissions are calculated - we do listen!

With regard to the recent changes in commission restructure (see yesterday's email) we have further decided not to go ahead with the progressive deductions as stated yesterday. Unfortunately we still need to implement the change that will class fund seizures as Fraud Charges - we have no choice here - but there will be NO progressive deductions.

Please also note that, when and if, the seized funds are released you will be fully compensated in your commissions.

We apologise for the previous lack of solid information about this issue, we opted to hold back from making a statement until we had reached a decision on how to proceed.

Above all, we remain fully committed to our players and affiliates on Slot Power and Vanguard Casino, and hope to move on to a much stronger future - with your continued support.

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns about any of the above, and be sure to have a good weekend!

Kind regards,

Charlie Brown
 

Simmo!

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
May 29, 2004
Location
England
On the Mastercard issue, I have to agree with KK, although the issue arises as what constitutes lost funds. Without proper report breakdowns, it is impossible to know what is right and what is wrong. This is why it's important to trust the casinos you work with.

Bottom line is that an affiliate earns a % of what the casino earns. Any reduction in those earnings caused by a situation outside the casino's control should IMO be borne by the affiliate too.

As KK says, this is business and it's in the affiliates interest to see the casino survive, with their player database intact, for as long as possible. Sometimes that means a short-term sacrifice, but as long as the TRUST is there and the casino is good at its job, long term it should benefit both parties. Of course, if you don't trust who you are working with to do this honestly, then you shouldn't be working with them in the first place. ;)

A little off-topic, but one question I have: what ultimately happens to the funds that are seized? Do Mastercard feather their own nest with those?
 

RobWin

closed account
Joined
Apr 24, 2004
Location
A Vault!
Not an affiliate, but after watching the various exchanges that have been going on regarding this issue for awhile it seems to me that (some) Rival operators are attempting to arbitrarily change their affiliate obligations in an attempt to pass on a risk to business that is actually their own.

What is worse is the clear fact that none of the Rival Operators ever bothered to promulgate the fact that a percentage of the progressive jackpot contributions were in fact being removed each and every month from the affiliates commission checks. I saw it damn near every month over the past year on many different Rival Affiliate Accounts as it would happen in the 11th hour of the last day of the month. At first I though it was just a player cashout adjustment but then later discovered when this issue was brought public that it had been progressive contribution adjustments being removed from my earned commissions.

It smacks of an attempt to squeeze a little more out of the system, because this is the sort of risk that should have been considered in doing the business plan, and it shouldn't be a 'survival' issue.

Absolutely agree Jetset, this was piss poor business planning at the very least!

Trying to pass on that risk to your marketers is quite cheeky imo, but more importantly if I were an affiliate I would be worried about what sort of industry precedent it could set if allowed to go unchallenged. Imagine if all the programs thought they could get away with this!

Exactly, and that is the very issue, point, that I think my friends KK and Simmo are missing here. This is about so much more than just a few dollars missing from our monthly commission checks in my view. This is about a contract that was entered into and a principle agreement that has been reneged on IMO. This was not the contract and agreement that I signed up for and partnered with here. Imagine your mortgage company coming back to you and saying that your 'fixed loan percentage' that was agreed to in the mortage loan that you signed would now carry the burden of the failed savings and loans that needed to be recouped!

It's the same principle here KK and Simmo, think about it a little deeper guys. These changes here by these Rival programs hit at the very core of business ethics and integrity. I really don't see how you can not see this issue. Where was the "contingency planning", the "fail safe" planning here by Rival and these programs?

The obvious way to respond is to resign the account - if enough affiliates do that it will be a clear and I assume effective message for anyone contemplating similar attempts to pass on the e-processor etc risk.

Agreed, but then again we can not even come together as a group of affiliates that can whole heartily agree that the likes of the "Virtual Group" are truly "Rogue"! So there you go on that one, sorry to say.

Unless of course these operators think they can get by without affiliate marketing!

Well, apparently Grand Prive has now in fact proved that point.
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Pinababy69

RIP Lisa
Joined
Oct 15, 2004
Location
Toronto, Ontario - Canada
These changes here by these Rival programs hit at the very core of business ethics and integrity. I really don't see how you can not see this issue. Where was the "contingency planning", the "fail safe" planning here by Rival and these programs?

Hark, hark....what's that sound I hear? Ahhhh.....enlightenment!! :D
 

RobWin

closed account
Joined
Apr 24, 2004
Location
A Vault!
Bottom line is that an affiliate earns a % of what the casino earns. Any reduction in those earnings caused by a situation outside the casino's control should IMO be borne by the affiliate too.

I disagree Simmo, we are only marketing partners with these programs. We have absolutely no say or rebuttal in how or who they choose to properly vet for their processors. Again, as I stated above in my reply to jetset, where was the "contingency planning" here. Surely a company the size of Rival should have a "contingency plan" in place for situations such as this very one regarding the "processor seizures".

Why should we as marketing partners bear the total brunt of failed processors when we as only "marketing partners" had absolutely no say so at all in who they chose to do business with?

As KK says, this is business and it's in the affiliates interest to see the casino survive, with their player database intact, for as long as possible. Sometimes that means a short-term sacrifice, but as long as the TRUST is there and the casino is good at its job, long term it should benefit both parties. Of course, if you don't trust who you are working with to do this honestly, then you shouldn't be working with them in the first place. ;)

Trust, now that is the "key word' here in this partnership relationship isn't it. Rival is making it harder and harder each and every day for "that word" to have true, and significant meaning in more ways that one. Hell, most of us would have never even known about the progressive deductions that have been mysteriously disappearing from our monthly commission checks for over a year now had not one of the affiliates dug deep as he did into the reason why.

There was never a formal announcement of this and it was also never mentioned in any part of the contractual agreement that we all signed up for at any Rival Program either! So there you go with the "trust factor". Personally, I don't really see a lot of difference here in the same analogy that was applied by so many affiliates to the Grand Prive program in the sense that was stated by so many affiliates...."How will they treat their players if they treat there marketing partners like this"...remember that line regarding "Grand Prive"?
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Simmo!

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
May 29, 2004
Location
England
Point of note: I agree the progressive contributions point is down to the casino.

I see your point on Mastercard seizures: it's certainly not ideal. But...

Here's my point: The rights and wrongs of the decision to charge affiliates are almost irrelevant. You have players invested in a business that clearly needs your help and understanding to weather the storm. Your decision is: do I fight to get every penny now and risk the casino going under? Or do I take the hit now for the longer term potential?

If they were bigger operations with strong financial backing then it's worth fighting. But Rival casinos are going to be small outfits by and large with limited resources. It's the risk you may choose to undertake as an affiliate to get the US players.
 

RobWin

closed account
Joined
Apr 24, 2004
Location
A Vault!
Point of note: I agree the progressive contributions point is down to the casino.

I see your point on Mastercard seizures: it's certainly not ideal. But...

Here's my point: The rights and wrongs of the decision to charge affiliates are almost irrelevant. You have players invested in a business that clearly needs your help and understanding to weather the storm.

And that is exactly the more worrisome aspect of this entire situation in my view as well. Without having a proper contingency backup plan, how can we, as affiliates assure our players and customers that they will have no future worries regarding their cashouts and payments being paid on time.

This current situation with affiliates is troubling for sure but players must also feel confident that future issues such as this one will not delay their cashouts and the only true way that I could see this happening is with Rival having a "true contingency plan" in place and allocated to kick in, in the event this type of situation occurs again. Without that, the players will be no more "safe" than we as affiliates are.
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Simmo!

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
May 29, 2004
Location
England
Without having a proper contingency backup plan, how can we, as affiliates assure our players and customers that they will have no future worries regarding their cashouts and payments being paid on time.

You can't. But then could you ever? Unless you are showing the player a door into a big heavily backed casino you can't offer players this assurance and I doubt too many affiliates representing Rival casinos have looked into their contingency resources.

Slotocash aside, I don't represent Rival casinos myself but I'll readily admit contingency is an area I've often taken for granted with Sloto and the few RTG groups I'd recommend. With the benefit of hindsight, I shall be paying more attention to this in future.

If you remember, the Casino Action casinos lost their licence because the new owners ate into the substantial reserves which Microgaming insist are in place as contingency. Maybe Rival do too, but this Mastercard pass-down that *some* Rivals are doing suggests that they probably leave it to the individual businesses.
 

NASHVEGAS

Banned User - flamming, disrespecting admin,
Joined
Dec 10, 2006
Location
MERS
These changes here by these Rival programs hit at the very core of business ethics and integrity. I really don't see how you can not see this issue.

Rob, some saw it and kept seeing it but not enough I suppose including most all affiliates and webmasters.
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LINK-[post=232779]THIS IS BREAKING NEWS,YES? OK, LIKE TWO YEARS AGO[/post]

NASHVEGAS'S(IN RED) REPLY POST TO BONUSTREAK(IN BLUE) ON 25th April 2008

Originally Posted by bonustreak
May I suggest that if you feel that strongly about your case then maybe you should take the right procedure and pitch a bitch and let it be solved in that way.

CM asked for clarification and as posted I will clarify factual inaccuracies and then assuming no other clarifications required or defending the truth, I may be done......That said this is not a pitch a bitch issue, at least for me, although it may be for others in regards to slow or non-payment. IT IS MORESO AN ISSUE ABOUT QUESTIONABLE BUSINESS ETHICS AND PRACTICES INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO DELAYED PAYMENTS CONTRARY TO THEIR TandC'S, THEIR PAYMENT WITHDRAWAL T&C'S BEING CONTRADICTORY, POOR CS AND PATRONS BEING TOLD BY MANAGEMENT NOT TO ESSENTIALLY RELY ON CS , ONGOING SOFTWARE and TECHNICAL PROBLEMS, LACK OF COMPLIANCE WITH RESPONSIBLE GAMING STANDARDS IMO, AS WELL AS PLAYER QUESTIONS,CONFUSION,RESPONSES NOT BEING PROPERLY AND ACCURATELY ANSWERED OR IN SOME CASES RESPONDED TO AT ALL...I BELIEVE RIVALS/TIV SHOULD BE CHALLENGED TO ADDRESS THE ABOVE....Then it becomes CM's call if any of the above is or borders on rogue or maybe better said poor and/or questionable business practices and ethics. Also others can then agree or disagree with CM, me, you or others!!

This thread has taken so many twist and turns it is getting out of hand and confusing

Agree it is very confusing but it takes 2 to tango!!

and also posting private emails and chats means nothing to me, how do I know words are not being changed to suit you?

That is your right and technically I guess you do not know but I can and will post the support documents of all types (if some of which as you assert in regards to changing to suit had occured, it seems some would be provable with as many parties involved but you can exercise whatever right you wish in regards)

I am just saying at this point your still not happy so many pitch a bitch and go that route.

Not applicable,see above!!


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The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to NASHVEGAS For This Useful Post: anniemac (25th April 2008), RobWin (25th April 2008)
 

Simmo!

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
May 29, 2004
Location
England
Robwin said:
These changes here by these Rival programs hit at the very core of business ethics and integrity. I really don't see how you can not see this issue.
Rob, some saw it and kept seeing it but not enough I suppose including most all affiliates and webmasters.

Just for clarity, let's not confuse the two recent affiliate issues here: Progressive Contributions and the subject of this thread, the Mastercard defaults. I agree that the retroactive change to the PC do, as Rob states "hit at the very core of business ethics...", while the Mastercard issue - the issue this thread deals with - is IMO a different beast.
 

NASHVEGAS

Banned User - flamming, disrespecting admin,
Joined
Dec 10, 2006
Location
MERS
Just for clarity, let's not confuse the two recent affiliate issues here: Progressive Contributions and the subject of this thread, the Mastercard defaults. I agree that the retroactive change to the PC do, as Rob states "hit at the very core of business ethics...", while the Mastercard issue - the issue this thread deals with - is IMO a different beast.
I see your point but can I say AAAAAAAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHHH!:p
 

Simmo!

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
May 29, 2004
Location
England
I see your point but can I say AAAAAAAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHHH!:p

LOL yeah..Ok then - just this once ;)

Erm...to clarify my clarification (!), "different beast" as in the initial incident that triggered the issues we discuss was outside of Rival's control, whereby the PC one wasn't.
 

Pinababy69

RIP Lisa
Joined
Oct 15, 2004
Location
Toronto, Ontario - Canada
Rob, some saw it and kept seeing it but not enough I suppose including most all affiliates and webmasters.

Put me in the saw it group. Rob, KK....I'm sorry to lump you in there with the others...but honestly, I don't know how you couldn't see this coming. All the signs were there....delayed payments on several occasions, stalling tactics ie. using the documents thing, and then starting the pending period all over again, bonuses that can be classified as nothing but predatory (max cashouts to laugh at, time limits where it's impossible to meet WR, and so on), refusal by the large majority to pay progressive wins in one lump sum, small weekly and/or daily cashout limits (but no deposit limits), horrible centralized support, the Irish Luck fiasco (does anyone really think they didn't try to snafu that money for themselves? I still "think" they did...as I don't think that Jeff whoever even exists)...and last but not least, that lawsuit.

How can anyone who read the specifics of that case not see that these guys just ain't on the up and up, business wise. They screwed those business partners too..so why wouldn't they screw their affiliate business partners, and their players?

And let's not forget that for the most part...they are just one huge white label operation. Who knows who their white label "partners" are? Do they even know? How much investigation was done before allowing 20 some odd different entities to launch another skin, and run it? How many of them have or had any business experience, or more specifically, experience in the industry itself? Or is it just one of those operations that say, even I, if I had a small amount of capital...I could open up my own casino? These are questions that not only affiliates, but players should be asking too...anytime they are dealing with a huge white label operation such as this.

The fact that some of these places have been operating on a shoestring budget from day one, has been so obvious to me. And now it has come to a head, and they are having to rely on affiliates for their very SURVIVAL? My God, what a sorry state of affairs. It's like a house of cards...one big puff of wind..and poof!! All gone.

I'm sorry for the good affiliates (and friends of mine) who may get caught out by this whole mess, but IMO...all the signs were there. I realize people see things differently, and there is a certain amount of speculation involved...but I really think there have just been too many issues to ignore over the last couple years. JMO guys.
 

NicolasJohnson

Dormant account
Joined
Feb 19, 2009
Location
A Place
I didn't want to post in this thread due to the title. But since the conversation has basically turned to talking about Rival as a whole group, I'd like to make a clarification:

We have not charged our affiliates for any of these issues. All our players are treated fairly. We have had a very small number of delayed payouts, especially considering the number of payouts we process. These delays were accidental and are unrelated to our overall funding.

Vegas Regal Casino and Regal Affiliates are well funded brands, we are not going anywhere. We hope our stance on affiliate and player issues backs my claim.

Kind Regards,
Nicolas Johnson
Regal Affiliates Manager
 

jetset

RIP Brian
Joined
Feb 22, 2001
Location
Earth
Glad to see that FirstPartners have backed off on that ridiculous demand that affiliates help fund their progressives!

The attempt to penalise affiliates with e-processor or other financial risk charges is imo not sufficiently thought through and clearly specified.

There needs to be much clearer definition here and transparency so that affiliates know exactly what they're being hit with, how it's been calculated and why.

If affiliates are supposed to be in 'partnership' with the casinos this should be a consultative process and not one arbitrarily announced and imposed as it appeared to be here imo.

Affiliate marketers are running (in the main small) businesses too, and they are entitled to know exactly what circumstances render them liable for unsupported or insured losses incurred by the casinos.

I believe that companies like First trying to impose these sort of 'survival' charges need to integrate the wording and spirit of their affiliate agreements into the equation as well.
 
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