With the recent lock down of land-based casinos all over the world, the search for alternative revenue streams intensified. People and businesses as well mostly like to stick to what they know or what they think they know, so they search for these revenue sources in gaming alternatives such as online casino, sportsbook, lottery and all other online products that have to do with gambling. We at Sense 4 Gaming in the past 2 months have had quite a few inquiries and requests from land-based operations to investigate ways their business could be taken online. Most casinos have a very simplistic approach to this, thinking, that it’s an instant money maker and anyone can do it. In fact, land-based casino management mostly think of the online world as a light version of themselves, kind of like a little brother. The truth as always is a bit more complicated. That little brother has been growing fast in the past years, has developed his own distinct personality and traits, thus relating to him and understanding him is not as simple anymore as you would think. So, how do we bring these estranged brothers closer together and eventually make them work in unison for the family business.
What do land based casinos have that would give them a competitive advantage over an online gaming business starting from zero. To do this comparison, we are going to look at a single licensed jurisdiction and ignore for the sake of this exercise grey and black markets, that more or less anyone could operate in.
When starting a land-based business, your single most important factor to driving customers to the property and thus to success used to be location. With the emergence of online, location lost some of its luster, but in the case of regulated online gambling, while you’re not looking anymore at a 90 kms radius as your catchment area, borders of the country you are licensed in will be your barrier to recruiting players.
You will have three important advantages over your competitor starting from zero:
- Your database of players
- Your brand
- Your trustworthiness
In general, your biggest expanse when starting your online operation will be recruiting players to your site. CPA or cost per acquisition is a dreaded number that can easily determine together with other cost factors like taxation, supplier shares and affiliate percentages how profitable your online gambling business is going to be. Having a well-maintained database of your players will simply kickstart your business and will give it a financial base, that your competitor can only replace with serious up-front investment. When we are talking about using your database, it’s not only offering those regular players of yours extended time on device, but also recruiting all those casual visitors you signed up during the years, who did not have the funds to gamble at your expensive casino, or for other reasons stayed away from publicly showing their interest in placing a bet on tables or slots. Online gambling is a lot more democratic, a lot cheaper and a lot more anonymous. So, if you did a good job at signing up everyone that went through your door to your loyalty club, now it’s time to reap the rewards of your good work and foresight. Let’s just hope, your marketing people kept the database relevant with up to date phone numbers and email addresses.
Building brand awareness is another costly and time-consuming exercise. If once again your casino is successful in the territory, and has been around for a few years, most probably your brand is known to most people even if they are don’t have a propensity to gamble. That brand awareness will make it so much easier then for you to recruit new players to your online gambling business. Easy to imagine, that a new player to be will click on the banner with the name that sounds familiar when presented with the choice.
When a player walks into a land-based casino, they would never expect not to get paid when they win. This scenario is simply out of the question. Land based casinos have created during the decades a certain trust in the public eye. Not necessarily the case in the online world. One of the most important factors when judging an online operation is its trustworthiness. There are zillions of player forums dealing with the subject and trying to guide players towards well tried out casinos and sports books, that actually pay them and in a timely manner. There is a long history on why this stigma hunts the online industry which could be the subject of another article, but suffice to say, that your land based history will give your players a serious reassurance, that their play dollars are going to be in good hands.
There are of course a dozen other factors giving you a competitive advantage when you have a land-based background, but here we covered the three most important ones. If and when you decide to take your casino online, one more serious consideration would be, not to do it only as the extension of your existing business, cause then you are destined to a slow and frustrating death. Also, the people that run your existing business, however professional they may be they are strangers to the online world and simply don’t have the knowledge you need to succeed in the online sphere. Trust the future of your business to professionals with a proven history in successful online operations. In the long run, if you play it well, both teams will learn from each other and eventually create a bond that will benefit both sides of the business. For a painless and smooth start and transition, we at Sense 4 Gaming offer our services with relevant knowledge of both sides of the gambling industry and with a proven track record in taking land based operations online.