Recent research shows that online casinos occupy a significant share of the global gambling market. The online boom during the global pandemic boosted the growth of the online casino gaming industry and put it prominently on the map.
While brick-and-mortar venues were shuttered, players enjoyed the thrill of betting without leaving their homes. If anything was clear, it was that the online casino segment had been put on the map with greater prominence than before, and it was not going away.
Many of the land-based casinos don’t ignore the tendency and, instead of competing with online gaming, start penetrating this highly lucrative market and looking for an opportunity to combine both directions in one successful business.
Indeed, having a named land-based casino provides valuable experience in gambling and some important adds-on, such as a ready player database, various marketing channels, sometimes a ready legal database, and last but not least, the reputation of an established market player. Compared to an online casino start-up with no prior experience in the business, a land-based competitor exploring the possibilities of the internet has a very good chance to take its market share.
However, it’s not as simple as it may sound. Experience in land-based business is not a guarantee of online success. The two markets still differ from each other in many aspects and there are quite a number of factors that the operator shall take into account in order to plan effective entry online.
These are just several things an operator of a land-based casino shall consider first:
1. Make Sure Your Legal Base is Ready
Before starting an online casino, an operator of a land-based casino shall ensure that the existing license for land-based gambling activities would also be valid for online business. Not all countries and gambling jurisdictions offer the same licences for offline and online gambling, so it’s better to get a qualified legal consultation to ensure you are fully prepared.
2. Prepare for New Casino Accounting Terms
The financial operation of an online casino differs from that of a land-based one. A land-based casino gets Net Profit.
Net Profit is calculated as Total cash in minus Total cash out.
This means that all money spent by players for chips at the beginning of the day minus total winnings that players take out of the casino cashier at the end of the day make the profit of the casino. As simple as that.
In an online casino, the scheme is more complicated. A player may have a certain amount on his account, but the amount doesn’t automatically belong to the casino. It may stay on the player’s account for quite a while before it is actually spent on bets, lost, or won and withdrawn.
There are two main notions showing an online casino profit:
GGR (Gross Gaming Revenue) = Total Bets minus Total Wins.
NGR (Net Gaming Revenue) = Total Bets minus Total Wins minus Promotions minus Chargebacks minus Payment Processing Fees.
Payment processing fees are charged by payment providers and banks for processing electronic payment transactions between the casino and the player. The percentage differs depending on the type of transaction (cash in or withdrawal), means of payment (type of credit and debit cards, prepaid cards, e-wallets), the currency of the transaction, the transferred amount, etc.
Chargebacks are claims by players that they have not deposited funds in an online casino, so the money should be paid back.
Promotions are the bonus policy practically every online casino uses to attract players. It normally includes a no-deposit welcome bonus and a number of deposit bonuses that a player needs to wager to get the money the casino gives. One needs a profound understanding of the bonus policy to correctly calculate casino spending and profit.
Other aspects that greatly influence online casino financial operations are affiliate programs, fees paid to third-party software and game providers, etc. None of them exists in land-based casinos, which makes their financial operation and statistics simpler to some extent.
3. Do Not Neglect Proper Marketing
Marketing is essential in every business, whether it is new or established. Having a reputable land-based casino brand does not automatically guarantee that the same brand will be popular in the Internet. Large land-based casino networks do not necessarily succeed online.
Only 20 – 50% of players from land-based casinos join the online part of the entertainment. This means, that without a proper marketing strategy and a sufficient marketing budget in place, a land-based operator can hardly hope to immediately have a large number of players bringing their funds to try out all the online fun.
The good news is that a land-based casino has plenty of resources for successful marketing. The following proved to be the most effective:
– Advertising of an online brand in the land-based casino, publishing promotional flyers, and putting up visual ads.
– Organizing a learning centre in a land-based casino where qualified employees will show on a tablet or a PC how to use the website and explain its possibilities.
– Offering players at land-based casino tablets connected to the internet with easy access to an online casino and a bonus for trying it out.
While using wide possibilities of land-based marketing, the operator shouldn’t neglect the most effective means of online promotion, such as SEO, publications and reviews in the relevant Internet media, networking, affiliate programs and others.
4. Offer a Variety of Games for all Tastes
It is important to remember that the goal of an online casino is to cover both segments of players – its existing land-based visitors and new players from the online world. Games enjoyed by these segments are different: gamblers who regularly visit land-based casinos are used to traditional varieties such as simple slot machines, whereas online players require something with more appealing visual effects.
Keeping this in mind, an operator should offer a diverse casino game provider portfolio. The demanding players will always appreciate eye-catching graphics and cutting-edge animation of cinematic 3D slots.
5. Take Care of Your Online Customers at all Times
Any land-based casino has administrators, cashiers, croupiers, and other staff always available to answer any question and provide qualified help to a player. In the world of an online casino, a player is totally left to himself.
It is okay for experienced gamblers who actually appreciate the anonymity, but for novice players, it can be quite frustrating to wander through the world of electronic payments, registration forms and bonus offerings. Wise operators use a variety of methods to comfort their users and accompany them through the whole process of play:
– Create pages like FAQ, Help, How to Play, Terms and Conditions with step-by-step instructions and easy explanations of how depositing and withdrawing works, what payment options the casino offers, how the user’s personal information is handled, etc.;
– Make sure your casino has an intuitive design and such buttons as Deposit and Casino Games are easy to find;
– Organise first-line customer support: invest in a 24/7 live chat and a call centre where qualified employees will answer players’ questions. The more languages will be supported, the better.
6. Use Cashier to Credit Online User Accounts
When players come to a land-based casino, they immediately follow the cashier to buy chips. Online casino players on the other hand make all deposits and withdrawals online.
Without the right payment methods, or payment services providers (PSPs), an online casino can easily fail. It is crucial to offer a range of payment provider to cater to player habits and possibilities based on where they are localted.
Modern omni-channel technology allows for seamless player account management across offline and online channels. This extends as far as creating a single user profile for a land-based and an online casino.
7. Use the Most That Online Gaming Can Offer
When it comes to the internet, games of chance go beyond online casinos. One of the more popular iGaming activities is online sports betting. Sportsbooks do well when integrated with online casinos.
Players can have the same account and balance and enjoy the most of both worlds. Bored with slots, they eagerly switch to sports, bet on their favourite events, and then return to casino games.
For a land-based casino that has not yet been involved in the bookmaker business, adding a sportsbook to their online casino is a perfect opportunity to attract more players. There are multiple ways to bring the two together. For instance, you can provide players at a land-based casino with tablets that they can use to make bets or even put special terminals for betting.
In conclusion, land-based casinos should definitely pursue the possibilities of online gaming business, but they should not be overly self-confident and take their success for granted. With all the similarities, online and offline gambling are two different worlds, each with its opportunities, peculiarities and bottlenecks.
Careful research and planning allow the creation of an effective strategy for uniting these worlds into one. Having qualified internal resources responsible for the technical part and for promotion will also be an asset and help create an efficient working infrastructure.
Coupled with external assistance from companies and agencies who have already performed a number of successful launches, it will guarantee a high return on investment and make a popular online brand out of the land-based one.