This is an issue that has been building for about three months for me. So, please forgive me if, despite my best efforts, this turns into a rant.

I run a tape every morning of what each affiliate program owes me. I save them.

I noticed how on the very last day of November 2009, the commissions due to me from 400 Affiliates dropped by about $1,300. As I had a large player at Paradise 8, I asked Jax about the reduction of the amount due me in commissions and was told that the player in question had hit a jackpot and cashed out.

On the last day of December 2009 I experienced another drop in the commissions due to me from 400 Affiliates. This time the reduction was a little over $1,100. Again, I questioned the decrease in my monthly commission. Again, I was given the same answer. Player won and cashed out at the end of the month.

On the last day of January 2010, the same thing happened again. My commissions due took another hit. This time the damage was only $450. At this point, after three months in a row, my suspicions had been aroused. I told Jax that I did not feel it likely that someone would hit a jackpot on the last day of the month - three months in a row.

After a few days, I was told that the reductions in the amount of commission due to me for the last three months - on the last day of each month - were not due to a player winning a jackpot and cashing out after all. Instead, I was being charged for contributions to the progressive jackpot pool.

What? I had never heard of such a thing. Apparently, 5% (or 10% - it varies by game I am told) of every dollar played by my players on progressive slots is contributed to the progressive slot pool. My share is my affiliate percentage of that 5%, or approx 2%. And this is deducted from my affiliate earnings at the end of the month.

I have a number of problems with this.

First, I was never notified of this. My agreement with 400 Affiliates is 40% of player losses. I checked their affiliate website and could find no mention of this charge to affiliates. Not in the commission agreement, not in the FAQ, not in the legal baloney. From where I stand, they have no right to subtract these amounts from my affiliate earnings and they now owe me almost $3K. If they want this kind of arrangement going forward, they should notify me so that I can decide for myself if this is something I want to be a partner to.

Second, I can operate all month thinking I have a fairly decent sized payday coming from 400 only to find on the first of the following month that a large chunk of my commission is gone to a calculation I have no way of anticipating the impact of. I also feel uncomfortable to be expecting my commission to drop at the end of every month.

Third, this has the potential to be a big downer for the affiliate. Let me explain:

I have been told that 5% of every dollar played on a progressive game goes to the progressive jackpot pool. For the sake of simplicity assume that the affiliate portion is 2% - I am told that the affiliate program pays the other 3%. If your player wins a progressive jackpot, you the affiliate are credited back with all of the contributions which were previously deducted from your affiliate earnings - for that one player only.

Suppose a player deposits $20K and plays progressives and never wins anything. To make the calculations easier assume a 40% commission rate. After the player loses their $20K, the affiliate commission is $8k, but, 2% of the $20k played thru the progressive games is deducted from those commissions. This amount would be $400. The net commission is $7,600 - 38%. Nothing to cry about there.

However, suppose this same player, on their very last spin before they have exhausted their $20K deposit hits a $100K jackpot. Now, the player is up $80K. The affiliate has contributed $400 to the progressive jackpot, but they have been credited that same amount back. The affiliate is effectively even. Now the player plays $80K on progressives, wins nothing and cashes out with their original $20k.

The player is even. However, the affiliate has had their account charged for 2% X $80K in progressive play or $1,600. Since the player is even when cashing out, the affiliate makes no money on that player, but, they will have $1,600 charged against commissions earned from other players. Doesn't sound that great, does it.

In my case,I finally get a big player who deposited $22K and lost it all. You would think I would be making somewhere around $9k as my commission. Not even close. I have been told that this player wagered a little over $138,000 on progressive slots. I have been charged almost $3k for contributions to the progressive jackpots. My question to 400 is how can the player have played $138,000 if they only depositd $22K unless they won at some point. And, why have I not been given credit for those wins as I was told the program is supposed to work.

400 and I have been talking about this since the first of February. Three days ago I was told that that my account was going to be audited to determine how everything was calculated and get to the bottom of things. Jax assures me that numerous messages have been sent to Rival. Jason too has told me he would contact Rival about this. To me, this should be easy to figure out. I sat in on an IRS audit with a client of mine all day yesterday and I can guarantee you that we thru calculations much more difficult than this. I cannot see why it would take more than an hour to figure this out, let alone three days. Frustration is starting to set in on my part.

I have been told by other Rival affiliate managers that the deduction for contributions to progressive jackpots are deducted in real time from the affiliates earnings. This would seem to contradict what I am being told by 400. I have also been told that is an option as to whether to charge the affiliates for the contributions to progressive jackpots. This again would seem to contradict what 400 has told me - effectively that this is a Rival-wide policy.

Again, I feel strongly that I should have been notified before they started making these deductions. If they did notify me and I missed it - then bad on me. However, I really do not recall receiving an email to that effect nor did I see any evidence of any kind of notification on their (400) website.

What I would like - other than the return of the amounts deducted from my commissions - is to know if anyone else has experienced the same thing?

Just how exactly are these deductions supposed to be handled by Rival affiliate programs? Are they all the same?

If there are Rival affiliate programs that do not charge the contributions to the progressive jackpots to affiliates, I would like to hear from you as I may have an opening for a Rival casino to promote.