If you’re short in time and just want to see the list of the most popular casino sites ranked by referring domains (domains that link to the casino sites) skip down.
If you’ve got a few minutes to spare, read on how we assembled the list, why we think that links are a super way to measure popularity online and what, if anything, can be learned from this data.
So here we go. First thing – a few words about online casinos.
A Few Words about Online Casinos
If you’re reading this from the US, your perception of online casinos is quite different from that of folks from the UK, Germany, Denmark and a heap of other countries where online gambling is legal and, immensely popular.
Online casinos are immensely popular. The gambling tradition goes back centuries, crosses cultures and its expansive adoption online is everything but surprising. Questioning the logic behind online casinos is like asking, “Who needs Netflix? There are movie theatres!” Folks used to do stuff outside that now they’re OK with, even prefer sometimes, doing at home. Gambling is one of them.
Now, let’s talk links.
What’s the Big Story with Links?
Popularity can be measured in different ways. Online, one way to measure a website’s popularity is by the number of links that refer to said site. It’s a clean cut, analytical way of measuring a site’s popularity.
The famous saying “There is no such thing as bad publicity”, attributed to Phineas T. Barnum, a 19th century American circus owner, is so much truer on the web. Search engines don’t distinguish between good links to bad links; in the search engine’s mind, there are only links. You can write “it’s the best brand in the world” next to the link or “it’s the worst brand in the world” – for the search engine, it’s the same.
So what are links? In the online universe, links are like recommendations, or in a more colloquial language, shout outs. It’s like saying, “Hey, check this site out”; or “check this article” or “check this game”. It’s a great method for search engines to gauge popularity.
Links are the ultimate Wisdom of the Crowd. If a lot of other sites link to a particular website, it means this website is of interest. Like we said, clean cut.
How We Got the Data
We got the referring domains data using Ahrefs – here! A link! – a “toolset for backlinks and SEO analysis”. We used Ahrefs to assemble the list of the 20 most linked-to casino sites. We also used Ahrefs to check the number of referring domains added in the last 60 days for each of the casino sites (more on why we did that later.)
We used Whois, a domain registry, to get the year each of the casino sites went live (we’ll explain this as well.)
We used Excel (you don’t get a link MS!) to organize the data.
Site Seniority & Current Popularity Explained
The correlation between the span of time a site is online and the number of referring domains it gets is quite obvious. The longer your site is live, the more time other sites have to link to you. So comparing the number of referring domains of a site that is online for 19 years to one that is live for mere 4 years is objectively problematic.
With that said, the web is age-blind. You don’t get extra points for seniority. And so is our ranking. It is based on the number of referring domains. Period. (The is a difference between “referring domains” and “incoming links”. A domain can have a number of different links referring to a particular site. We feel more strongly toward the referring domains metric.)
We did include, however, the year the site was established because it does matter.
The reason we mention the number of domain referrals created in the last 60 days is because we think it provides a strong indication of current popularity. If a site gets a lot of new links it means it is hot right now. It might be a passing fad, or a newfound trend, but it is definitely a snapshot of the current competitive landscape.
A Bit of Perspective
Pornhub.com has 56,002 domains linking to it. Nike.com has 127,711 domains linking to it. Apple.com has 4,092,143 domains linking to it.
Now here are the most popular casino sites ranked by referring domains.
*We left out sports betting sites
What Can be Learned from this Data
888casino takes the lead by a landslide; it has almost double referring domains as second place, Mr. Green. Now if you’re thinking, hey, it’s been around since 2001, we have two things to say: First, only 5 of the 20 listed casinos went life later than 2001. Second, 888casino also holds the most impressive per year average – 726 new referring domains created every year since its inception; it’s been going strong the whole time, hence the hefty lead.
Speaking of ‘almost double’, Mr. Green in the second place had almost double the amount of new referring domains created in the last 60 days than 888casino. This indicates that at the moment Mr. Green is getting a lot more attention than 888casino. We can’t even speculate whether this attention is momentarily or will go on.
Continuing with current popularity, another two stars of the moment are Jackpot City Casino and Royal Panda with 471 and 508 new referring domains created in the last 60 days, respectively. Since Royal Panda is relatively new – went live in 2008 – we can expect it to rise up the ranks taken it will keep up the paste. Jackpot City Casino on the other hand has been around since 1998, so it’ll be much more difficult for it to improve its ranking.
Winner is a fine example that going at it continuously pays off. As one of the oldest sites in the list – 1994 – it kept a steady stream – 192 new referring domains per year on average – even though it is one the lowest averages among the top 10. It might be slowing down though. In the last 60 days it gained just 145 new referring domains (72.5 per month) way below its average.
We’ll wrap with the casino site to watch, Playojo, the baby of the bunch, created in 2016. It is in number 19 but – it has the third best yearly average, and is the 11th one in new referring domains in the last 60 days. Playojo seems like a safe bet; it stands to climb up the list quickly.