As we are all aware, the iGaming industry is super competitive – there’s no hiding it. Online casinos are chock-a-block in 2019, especially in the UK market where the competition to rank highly on Google is as fierce as it is difficult. For online casino players and gamblers however, the competition between casinos is a good thing; it ensures that standards continue to increase, and gamblers get more value for money as the casinos look to attract players to their own brand.
More competition equals more bonuses
The fact that there are so many different online casinos to choose from and sign up for is excellent for the thousands of casino gamblers out there. It ensures that the casinos must battle with one another to attract players to them; this means bonuses and rewards for signing up as well as further rewards for remaining loyal. Which casino games are being offered is no longer enough for a casino when it comes to attracting a player, anyone can put the top games on their own casino website these days, therefore more is needed. What online casinos must now do is offer players unique rewards/experiences.
99.99% of online casinos offer players bonuses for registering with them and then often, a second bonus if they make a cash deposit. These bonuses usually come in the form of free spins (nice if you are a slots player) and deposit match bonuses – if you deposit $100 then the casino will give you another $100 to play with, for example.
There are lots of players out there who will go from casino to casino utilizing all the sign-up bonuses they receive and for many, this is a profitable way of playing. These same players also get to check out various online casinos. This is useful. If these players ever want to remain loyal to a casino, they can pick the best one out of all the casinos they have tried out.
Does loyalty pay off?
Since there are so many different casino brands to choose from, online casinos have begun to reward players for their loyalty through the use of gamification. For example, the UK online casino PlayFrank has implemented a system called ‘Tracks’ where their players can ‘level up’. This is something that is completely unique to the PlayFrank brand.
“If you complete the first Track, this opens up the possibility to choose from new Tracks, states PlayFranks Project Manager in an interview with GameIndustry.”
“They’re basically player journeys which become increasingly elaborate and customized the more you play.
“For example, a player can choose a ‘Free Spin Track’, whereby if they level up, they get free spins. Alternatively, they can do a Bonus Track and earn deposit bonuses. We are constantly looking at ways to add more Tracks to our system for better value to the player, allowing them to choose their own rewards.”
Using gamification techniques in order to attract and keep casino gamblers playing at their site is something that a lot of online casinos are now having to do. Again, this is only good for the players; who reap the rewards gifted to them by the casinos to remain loyal.
Whilst several casinos offer similar reward programs to PlayFrank, what makes PlayFrank’s ‘Tracks’ extra special is that the progress of a player is saved forever, so even if the player logs out and doesn’t play for weeks or even months when they do come back they will not have lost out on anything and they will be able to carry on from where they left off without losing their progress on the ‘Track’.
The increasing necessity of brand marketing
Brand focus is another factor that is becoming increasingly important for casinos. Due to the ever-growing competition, casinos are having to make themselves memorable to players. A catchy name is one way to ensure that the brand is remembered, but the most important thing for an online casino is to create an identity for its site. In the past, many casino sites operating in the UK created their own brand mascots – mainly to make themselves appealing and memorable. However, a UK law change in 2018 meant that online casinos were prohibited from creating brand mascots that were in any way appealing to children (or anyone under the age of 18). This meant that many online casinos had to reshape their brands or risk having their licenses taken away.
Social media has also become a crucial way for many brands in the gambling industry to promote themselves. The sports betting industry utilizes social media to great effect. You only have to look at the recent story involving Paddy Power and their new shirt sponsorship (or lack of) with English Championship club Huddersfield Town to witness fantastic social media marketing skills in progress. Unfortunately, it is rather more difficult for online casinos to use social media to their advantage as the laws on promoting casinos are rather strict.
Television advertisements are another way in which online gambling sites can market themselves to audiences and increase their brand appeal. Sun Bingo, (a bingo site) was a long-time sponsor of the now-canceled Jeremy Kyle show, for example. Sports betting companies pay big money in order to advertise their brand on television sports channels.
Shirt sponsorship is also massive for both online casinos and sports betting websites. This sponsorship helps to increase trust in the brand and ensures that the brand becomes more recognizable which equates to trust.
What next for the iGaming industry?
The iGaming industry has gone through a variety of ups and downs over the past decade or so. The poker boom – which generated huge riches – came and went. The online casino segment took over the space left behind by the poker scene and more recently, a few other industries have made their way into space – cryptocurrencies, and esports.
Currently, the casino industry along with sports betting makes up around 80% of the revenue for the whole of the iGaming industry. Don’t forget, around a decade ago, it was poker that took up the lion’s share, so things can change quickly. What will the iGaming industry look like 10 years from now? It is almost impossible to say but with any luck, gamblers will continue to reap the rewards of this highly competitive industry.