I’m a writer for the iGaming industry. I don’t write about anything other than casinos or gambling. Not because I can’t, but because I don’t want to. This niche has plenty of ongoing work for the right writer, and it’s possible to make quite a good living by only reviewing casinos, writing a couple of game guides, and writing some short texts for bonuses, promotions and whatever else is going on in the industry in general. However, there is a but. I know a lot of writers who are struggling to find steady work within this industry, and that used to leave me gobsmacked. How on earth can it be possible for writers claiming to know anything about iGaming to not find steady work? I haven’t had an opening in my schedule for years. If I take on a new client I have to let another one go, and I haven’t even looked for a new client for the past four years.
What really made me wonder is the fact that I’m not a good writer. I know how to string a sentence or two together so it somewhat makes sense, but my articles aren’t exactly poetry. I’m also Norwegian, so I tend to get straight to the point without spending a lot of time worrying about the tone I’m using and all of that. I just write what I think – end of story. But then, a couple of years ago I started helping some clients manage their content, and that also meant helping them with quality assurance and basically checking other writers’ work, and then I got it. Of course, it’s nice when you can find a good writer who actually writes in a way that makes it enjoyable for people to read, but it doesn’t help at all if the content of the article is just … I’m looking for a nice word here … bad. I’ve come to realize just how many “iGaming writers” there are who don’t know the first thing about casinos or how they operate. Either people particularly struggle to understand how payments and account verification work, or those misunderstandings bug me a bit more than the rest since I worked with accounts when I was employed by an online casino. Also paylines and bets in slots; one would think that is fairly easy to learn and understand – it is more or less just simple math – but no. People who have been writing slot reviews for years still struggle with that for some, to me unknown, reason.
… I don’t understand why writers are shooting themselves in the foot by agreeing to write about things they don’t know.
I’m not saying that I’m an expert in everything related to gambling. Betting especially is my Achilles heel. I understand the basics of odds, and I can write a short article about it and sound like I know almost what I’m talking about, but if a client asks for an in-depth guide about it they’ll have to find a different writer. I can’t do it, and I’m not even interested in trying. I won’t even take on a translation job for anything related to betting or sports. I don’t know the terminology for that in any language, so I know for a fact that the article would not read well to someone familiar with the topic. That is also what I’ve realized sets writers apart. The ones that will take on absolutely any work are more likely to struggle to keep ongoing work, as some of what they write is just not correct. As soon as a client checks the work delivered they are likely to just let the writer go and find a better one that knows what they are writing about. That’s kinda how it works as a freelance writer. There is no such thing as job security. Also, I don’t understand why writers are shooting themselves in the foot by agreeing to write about things they don’t know. Stick to a narrow niche, make sure you know exactly how it works, and the success will come.
Now I’ll get off my high horse for a while and tell you something that I to this day am deeply ashamed of. As I’ve said, for a good while now I’ve had more than enough work, which means I can pick and choose a bit more who to work with and what to write. That wasn’t always the case though. When I just started out as a writer I had no idea what I was doing. Yes, I had been working at an online casino so I knew a lot about how casinos operate. That training I got for free by being an employee. However, working at an online casino doesn’t make one an expert in everything related to gambling. The first time I got an assignment to write about roulette I didn’t even know how the game worked. Seriously, I had never played roulette and didn’t know anything about the game. So I did some research, and then I got most of it right, I think, but there is one thing I remember that I got completely wrong, and it still makes me cringe just thinking of it. I wrote something to the effect that it’s only possible to bet on the red and black numbers, and the green one belongs to the house, so you can’t bet on that. Obviously, I had mixed up the fact that the green one is what makes the house have an edge when betting on either all red or black, or any other bet for that matter. It was an honest mistake, and one I obviously wouldn’t do now. As soon as I realized I made a mistake I properly read up on how roulette really works, and now I can proudly and without hesitation say that I know how standard roulette, and several other versions of the game, works – by heart. That’s not to say that I don’t make any mistakes, but usually, they are due to me being sloppy or having a brain-fart, not because I lack the knowledge.
… someone “selling” themselves as an iGaming or casino writer, especially freelancers, should know what they are writing about …
The thing is though, if my client would have actually read my article (which I don’t think he did; I think the articles I wrote just got uploaded without a second look) and told me about my mistake I would have been really happy. Free training! My reaction would have been that I get to learn something new, which will help me going forward. Not all clients do this, of course, since it is very time consuming, and frankly someone “selling” themselves as an iGaming or casino writer, especially freelancers, should know what they are writing about and shouldn’t require any training. However, I think there is another reason why most clients don’t bother with this, and that’s because it’s not appreciated by the writer. In many cases it’s also just a waste of time as the writer might adjust that article accordingly, but they’ll come up with the same wrong information in the next article.
In recent years I’ve been managing some casino affiliate projects, where it’s been my job to make sure that what the writers write is actually correct. Very few writers know the industry and the topics well enough that they never make any factual mistakes, so there is almost always something that’s lacking a bit. In these cases I do not just say “this is wrong”, but also spend a lot of time explaining why it’s not factually correct, how it really works, and in general try to teach them how the game or casino process or whatever works. Hoping this will mean that they learn something so they won’t make the same mistake again. Some have the same approach as me, that this is appreciated, but I would say the majority of writers actually don’t like this. They would be happier never knowing how it works. Earlier this year I even had a writer tell me straight out that he preferred working without an editor as he didn’t want to make any adjustments to his text. So he was let go, obviously. On one project I even took it so far that I offered everyone one-to-one training in whatever aspect of the iGaming industry they had any knowledge gaps in. The response was underwhelming, to say the least … What’s sad is that a lot of these writers who got the offer of free training were let go later on, as they simply made too many mistakes and never adjusted according to the feedback they received. I really don’t understand that mindset.
Luckily for me though, clients tend to keep me around for the knowledge I possess, not for my extraordinary writing skills.
I don’t have any numbers or facts to substantiate my next claim, so this is just based on what I think and how I see writers evolve. I’ve been mentoring several freelance iGaming writers over the past few years, and I’m happy to say that most of them have been doing very well! That makes me so glad! However, there are also some who have not succeeded. Generally speaking, and this is where my claim comes in, the ones who succeed are the ones who are able to adjust to constructive criticism, and actually spend time properly learning about their assigned topics, especially when a mistake has been pointed out to them. These freelancers end up with long-term and well-paying clients, and they usually have more work than they can handle. The other group, those who don’t succeed, take any form of criticism as a personal attack and refuse to listen to anything that might mean that they need some more in-depth knowledge. Keep in mind I’m not talking about the actual writing skills; I’m not the right person to teach anyone anything about that. I’m talking strictly about facts. So not something that’s up for interpretation at all.
Yet again I started out wanting to write about something, and then it just turned out to become a lot of rambling. That tends to happen in this blog of mine. Another reason why no one should take any writing tips from me … Knowing what you’re good at and what you’re not so good at is perhaps the best qualification any iGaming writer can have, and that I think is probably the point I have been trying to make all along. Luckily for me though, clients tend to keep me around for the knowledge I possess, not for my extraordinary writing skills.
Great post Eve! I agree with just about everything you say. Except the part about you not being a good writer. 🙂
[…] For a long time, I found it really weird and quite unbelievable that clients would actually pay my rates. It wasn’t like I was an experienced writer, and, in my opinion, writing about online casinos and gambling isn’t exactly difficult. In general, casinos aren’t looking for poetry for their landing pages or guides and neither do casino affiliates. To me, writing this kind of content is almost like working with customer support: explaining to players how something at online casinos works. Why so many casinos and affiliates were paying me what they did I only found out after I started to also manage other writers and translators for some clients. This whole thing I made a separate blog post about a while back, so I won’t get into that now. You can read it here: Thoughts About “iGaming & Casino Writers” […]