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Interview with The Wizard of Odds


Earlier this year famed gambling analysis site was sold in 2014. At the time of the agreement, details were scarce on both sides of the table. Recently though, we were able to sit down with them both to discuss the agreement and how the duo will work together to further the success of the Wizard of Odds site. The Wizard of Odds is a well known website that offers a wealth of knowledge to players that love land based and online gambling. Michael Shackelford's contribution of strategies and guides on how to play casino table games has helped give players all over the world that extra edge. The photo shown in this article was taken when Mike was signing the final signature on the sales contract.

J - Why the vast interest in acquiring

The site is great, Mike has built what is the best resource for understanding and teaching people how to gamble on pretty much every casino game one can think of​, and google has given the site credit for just that.

J - Was it a difficult decision in purchasing WOO for the enormous price tag and is it true that it is the highest amount of money ever paid for a gambling affiliate site?

​It was difficult because usually when you value any affiliate site you give an ​earnings multiplier of between 18-36 months depending on factors like quality, seo and the current market place. And that is what we have done in the past with our other large acquisitions, but with the two big wizard sites & we had to look at things differently because they were not earning much money at all.

We would have loved to have paid 36 months earnings as a price tag but it just would not sell for that. So we valued the content and the traffic and we hope with some small changes to how the site promotes casinos we can see a much higher conversion rate.

M – How long did you contemplate selling your site?

The idea started to get seriously discussed in early August 2014. My sites were in financial trouble and I entertained various proposals to increase revenue as well as an outright sale.

J – How long were you in negotiations?

I contacted Mike when he was posting on the WOV that he was having trouble with the banks​ in Cyprus and finances were running low, I had never been in contact before then so it took some time before he took me seriously and then we negotiated for a few months.

The first time we met I offered him US$1.6 million and 3 years minimum employment and we went back and forth from that offer for some time, with changes in price and structure and other parties making different offers.

In the end another party entered the fray and outbid me by a fair margin and gave Mike a take it or leave it offer because they said did not want a bidding war. I had to think hard and bring in a business partner that runs to give me the confidence in the potential of the site before making a higher offer and purchasing the site.

Mike - Are you comfortable with the selling price for your site?

Yes.  I’m glad it is all over and I’m comfortable with the decision.  My indifference point was at about two million, so the extra amount above that made it a lot easier for me to let go.  

M – Were there other offers and was your decision to sell it to a network solely based on the highest bidder or did their integrity also play a part?

As J mentioned, another interested buyer came along at the last minute and made an offer.  There were also a lot of offers to outsource to sales on a revenue sharing basis.  However, both interested buyers were good groups and it pretty much came down to who wanted it more.  In the end, I’m pleased it went to the this particular network and so far the transition has gone smoothly.

J- Did you purchase the site on your own or do you have other partners who invested along with you?

Initially I was going to purchase the website on my own, however I chatted to my business partner J.R and N who manages operations for one of the other sites and they were both keen to invest in WOO. The 3 of us make a good team and we each have our own unique skills that we knew we could pool together and really get WOO to the next level. The ownerships stakes are 65%, 25% and 10% respectively.

J – What changes can we expect at WOO?

We will initially make small changes we hope will lead to increased monetization, Mike will now have more time to continue to produce the content on the site so expect more, not less great content.

But do not expect to be bombarded with ads and popups because that will never happen, we will be removing all the banners infact and replacing them with Mike's recommendations.

M – As part of the negotiations you were asked to still be a part of WOO. What will your duties be there?

I will concentrate on what I do best, writing content. You can expect more of an emphasis on iGaming content going forward.  

M – How long are you under contract to stay?

Three years.  However, I hope to stay with the site much longer than that.  

J – Will Mike assist in any other part of the network?

Yes for sure, Mike is a huge asset and I am sure he would add great value to any related site.​

​Expect to see Mike as an Author at the other netowrk websites writing about what is knows best, casino games.​

M – With more free time on your hands are there any other interests you will pursue?

When your office is in your own home, it seems like the work is never done.  Both before and now, I find I literally have to get out of the house to get away from work.  So, I plan to work and play just as hard as I did before.  My other interests that I will continue to pursue are unicycling, bicycling, hiking, traveling, and license plate collecting. I especially enjoy writing about the casino scene outside the US and hope to do more of such research going forward. 

It appears the two of you are more than business associates and have become great friends as seen in the tight rope competition video. Whose idea was it and was there any type of bet made?

You must be referring to the rope climbing contest.  Both J and I share a passion for staying in shape, J evidently more than me, judging by the video.  We’re both outdoorsy people, enjoy traveling, and have a close connection to the Los Angeles area.  So far we’ve hit it off great and I look forward to many years of calling J my boss and my friend.

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    Just like to say thanks for the interview and that things are going great on the site, here is a link to that rope climbing content.