How to Start an Online Casino: What do You Need to Know?

How to Start an Online Casino: What do You Need to Know?

Online gambling has always been one of the most lucrative and desirable domains for business owners regardless of whether they have experience in the field.

In order to open a successful online casino that will benefit its owner and bring joy to its players, a few key steps require your attention. 

As an online casino software developer and provider, SOFTSWISS is glad to share its experience. Hopefully, our expertise helps future online casino owners (operators) avoid common mistakes and start a successful online casino business.

Key Steps to Starting Your Online Casino Business

One of the most important things to begin with when launching your online casino business is proper and thorough planning. It is a great idea to write a detailed step-by-step business plan for a full year of operation.

Not only does it give you a clear agenda and strategy, but can also help with reducing stress – it is much easier to complete one step at a time and track your progress instead of having to focus on many tasks at once.

Here are four key steps you need to take to launch your own online casino successfully.

Analyse the Online Casino Market

Online gambling has grown significantly in recent years, particularly since the days of the pandemic. Both sports betting and online casino gambling have become increasingly popular lately, similar to many other sources of online entertainment.

The online gambling landscape offers significant revenue opportunities, even in the face of global economic and political shifts. Online casinos also show to be superior in accessibility when compared to traditional, land-based casino experiences.

Supporting this view, Statista’s data forecasts a user base expansion in the online gambling market to 233.7 million by 2027, with expected revenues reaching USD 124bn. This growth trajectory is a good glimpse into the potential of the iGaming industry and its market size.

how-to-start-stats-graph

Acknowledging its promising future, many governments are actively working to regulate and legalise the online gambling sector. For current and aspiring operators in the online casino space, these forecasts signal strong, affirmative market growth and expansion.

Even though most online casinos live in the dot-com domain, players are still very much located somewhere physically. And offering your online casino to players via electronic means still falls under certain laws and obligations, which leads to the next point.

Licensing and Legal Aspects

Like brick-and-mortar casinos, online casinos are subject to licensing. If you want to open your own casino, you need to think about choosing a gaming licence. These are issued by countries, or jurisdictions. The iGaming community distinguishes between national and international gambling licences. 

Each licence has its pros and cons – cost, application time, and reputation. Usually, it takes from a couple of months to a year to obtain a gaming licence, for example, at least 6 months in Malta.

In recent years, there has been a notable regulatory shift in the online gambling industry – a movement away from international gambling licences (like those from Malta and Curacao) towards country-specific regulation. 

This change motivates operators to consider adapting their brand and offer to regulated markets.

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International licences are adapting to these changes. For instance, Curacao is developing a new regulatory body and overhauling its system to enhance security and compliance. Similarly, Malta is revamping its operations, focusing on sustainable practices and responsible gambling.

How do operators choose an online gambling licence? Choosing the right licence for an online casino or sportsbook is more nuanced than ever. It’s not just about ticking boxes for operational requirements. It involves aligning the licence with your business’s long-term goals, target markets, and growth plans. 

Given the industry’s current trajectory, betting on a single licence for the long haul seems less practical. It’s crucial to assess risks, strategically plan your brand’s journey, and partner with software tech providers that align with the market’s specific needs and regulatory landscapes.

At SOFTSWISS, we understand these complexities and offer tailored solutions. The Online Casino Platform comes in several packages:

  • Turnkey (Standalone) Casino Solution: Suitable for operators who already hold licences and certificates, it offers the software, infrastructure, and iGaming support needed to launch a fully independent casino.
  • Crypto Casino Solution: A secure software solution tailored for casinos aiming to engage cryptocurrency audiences.
  • White Label Casino Solution: Ideal for a fast launch, providing everything, including an international licence.

The next step after choosing the jurisdiction is to register a legal entity – a gaming company, open a bank account and make agreements with payment system providers to complete the legal and financial infrastructure set-up.

Choosing Casino Software

As any other web application, an online casino is powered by software. Many technology companies, SOFTSWISS among them, develop the software and systems that power an online casino. While searching for a reliable casino software developer, it is wise to evaluate the software from the point of view of your business requirements. 

Besides providing an attractive casino frontend design and popular games for players, a quality casino product needs more than just great code. A truly robust casino software platform also has to be modular and adapt to different market requirements. Some of the mandatory casino software modules include components:

  • Content Management System (CMS)
  • Player account management system (PAM)
  • Bonus and promotions module
  • Game management tools
  • Payment system management interface
  • Reporting module
  • Admin role settings
  • Affiliate management software
  • Anti-fraud module and systems
  • Retention email strategy and tools

Regular software and game updates, hosting, and technical support must also be part of the provider’s package. Professional suppliers always take responsibility for the full technical support post-launch.

The software package that includes all of the above components might be higher in terms of costs, but modular software is a worthy investment. As a result, you get a reliable partner ready to support you during the whole project life cycle. Buying a cheaper solution, like a one-off casino script, might result in more spending in the future.

Casino Marketing Plan

An effective marketing strategy is an absolute necessity to run a casino. This is where competitor research will be a crucial step. It will provide you with an overview of what the leading casino brands are, what user acquisition and retention strategies they use, and what opportunities you have to be as good as them or better.

Knowing whom you’re up against and creating a unique offer that players won’t be able to decline are keys to success. Benchmarking against competitors plays perfectly for the good of online casino success, and what is more important, it is free. In terms of budget, plan your marketing strategy by adopting the best practices of promotion, advertising, and brand development.

If a company starting an online casino is operating a land-based gaming business, it might be crucial to bring the existing clients to play at the online version of the casino. Using an integrated marketing strategy for the online and offline brands can be a win-win. 

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If you come from online marketing, user acquisition, growth marketing, affiliate marketing background – you probably know where to start with your online casino marketing strategy. If not, consider sourcing companies, agencies, and individuals who have that kind of experience and expertise.

Last but not least, think about your future bonus policy and affiliate program. These will drive player acquisition and retention and must not be ignored. And, of course, check if the selected software provides the appropriate technical opportunities to bring your strategy to life.

How Long It Takes to Launch an Online Casino

The time frame for an online casino launch depends on both the business owner and the software provider. Usually, it takes up to 3 months for the provider to set up the software and create a unique casino website. This includes setting up the games, adding the bonus policy settings and possible individual features, as well as designing the look and feel of the brand. 

Your online casino website should, first and foremost, be informative and visually appealing to visitors. Make sure the site is carefully designed in a way that is easy to navigate for anyone. 

The business owner and their team can speed up the launch process by providing timely feedback to the casino setup team. Remember, your requirements can be taken into account more quickly if they are discussed in time.

Apart from that, the business owner must timely address the important issues discussed above:

  • Obtaining a gaming licence
  • Opening a corporate bank account and merchant account
  • Making agreements with payment system providers

Some online casino software providers can offer a white label casino solution that covers all the checkpoints. This option lets operators launch to market in a short timeframe. 

For iGaming business owners who already have a casino licence can simply use the software and hardware infrastructure to launch their online business.

Operating an Online Casino

The secret of the most popular and successful online casino is not about the top-notch design or thousands of games. The best online casinos are often simple in design and contain 500 games on average at the beginning. The secret is in a responsible marketing strategy. 

The online casino market is an extremely competitive one: first, it is very hard to break into, and then it is even harder to take a firm stand. As a rule of thumb, a company has to go the extra mile to get ahead of the competition. Below is a list of points that are vital for any online casino that is planning to be prosperous.

Positioning

Gather a professional marketing team and develop strategy for your goals (business, company, brand) and mission. Determine how you are going to be different from the competitors, what unique features your casino will have, and what steps you are going to take further.

Quality Games

You can start your casino with a limited number of game providers, with a focus on games based on HTML5 technology. This technology allows users to enjoy rich graphics games and enhance the overall experience of playing casino games on mobile devices.

SOFTSWISS offers game content from well-known providers, such as Evolution, Pragmatic Play, Games Global and more. Learn what the best casino games are for the markets you plan to work in.

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Pre-launch Advertising Campaign

Before you even start a casino, you need to advertise it to inspire your potential customers to wait for its launch; use all the channels at your disposal: affiliate networks, online ads, offline presentations, media publications, etc.

Ongoing Promotional Support

The exceptional growth that online casino providers experienced during the pandemic, where they attracted audiences with minimal investment, is no longer the norm. In today’s market, continuous player acquisition is essential for growth. It’s crucial for operators to implement ongoing promotional strategies to ensure this steady influx of new players.

Make sure to experiment and see what works best for your player base. Be sure to plan ahead and always try to offer something new to your players.

Player Acquisition, Support, and Retention Strategy

Establish an efficient support service or 24-hour call centre which your players can address at any time. Take care of your players by making navigation through the website: create ‘How to’ sections or FAQs, write manuals on how to play the games, provide demo versions, and make everything clear and understandable.

Develop a bonus system, make auctions and entertain and reward your players for their engagement.

Start an Affiliate Program

Develop contacts with affiliate partners, who can use their online resources to promote your online casino. `To manage such partner relationships, operators use affiliate management software. An affiliate platform is undoubtedly the best tool for expanding your affiliate partner network.

how-to-start-online-casino-marketing

Additional Features

Modern online casinos often come as multi-functional platforms that not only offer casino games but also sports betting and other features. Here are some of the most popular additional features that you can think about adding to your online casino platform. 

Crypto Casino

Forward-looking online casino software providers offer cryptocurrencies as well as fiat currencies. Payment systems are key for high-quality player service.

Online casino owners all over the world appreciate the advantages of crypto casinos, such as increased player loyalty, fast payment processing, and many more.

As an acknowledged crypto casino expert, SOFTSWISS would like to recommend all potential Bitcoin casino owners to get a clear understanding of the cryptocurrency, research the peculiarities of crypto gambling, and learn how transactions work by making a couple of bets at an existing casino. 

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Jackpots

Jackpots have always been closely associated with casinos in one way or another. They are no exception when it comes to online casino games. They are loved by players for the potential of big rewards and by operators for the engagement they drive.

Players get the chance to compete for bonuses, physical prizes, and loyalty points. Running jackpots can be done through custom tournament tools or additional jackpot modules that are integrated with the casino platform.

Some of the advantages of jackpot implementation include:

  • Increased player LTV
  • Increased bet amounts
  • New player acquisition
  • Existing player retention
  • Increased revenue

Sports Betting

In the past few years, a considerable number of online casinos integrated sports betting into their platforms. It has been proven that the combination of a casino and a sportsbook is extremely beneficial, as it boosts the overall project performance and greatly increases user engagement. 

Integrating a complete sports betting platform, like the SOFTSWISS Sportsbook, has many benefits. With this feature, players are able to place bets on multiple sports like football, basketball, tennis, hockey, and many more. It also lets them watch live sports broadcasts on your website, get a chance to receive special bonuses, and build loyalty with your brand.

how-to-start-online-casino

In general, players are more likely to stay loyal to a platform that meets all of their needs and allows them to do everything at once – play casino games, win jackpots, and bet on their favourite sports. 

How Much Does It Cost to Open and Run an Online Casino?

Once the costs for legal matters, software, and marketing are defined, it’s time to plan your budget. The best option for startup companies is to set the budget at least for the first year of operation. Experienced companies can define their budget for several years in advance. 

Don’t plan your budget after setting up the online casino website – plan it beforehand. For new entrants in the market, setting up a business typically involves higher initial costs compared to seasoned operators. This difference is largely due to the advantages that established companies enjoy – like an established customer base and a recognisable brand identity, particularly for those transitioning from a brick-and-mortar to an online model. 

For a fledgling business, this underscores the importance of thorough financial planning. Before taking significant steps, such as launching a website, it’s vital to carefully balance your finances (P&L statements are a good start). This risk management step ensures a more successful and informed launch.

While there is no simple and definitive response to the question of how much you will pay for your online casino launch, SOFTSWISS has surveyed operators about how they divide their budget.

In general, your expenses will fall under two broad categories: the pre-launch and the post-launch stage expenses. 

For example, the largest pre-launch stage expenses include software purchase and setup (25-35%), marketing spend (15-20%), and licence acquisition (10-30%). This early stage of development requires more attention and, as a result, more investments.

During the post-launch stage, it is vitally important to address half the funds to casino marketing and promotion to attract new players.

Below is an approximate expense separation a future casino owner needs to have in mind while developing a detailed budget to open and run a casino.

how-to-start-online-casino-costs

In general, players are more likely to stay loyal to a platform that meets all of their needs and allows them to do everything at once – play casino games, win jackpots, and bet on their favourite sports. 

How Much Does It Cost to Open and Run an Online Casino?

Once the costs for legal matters, software, and marketing are defined, it’s time to plan your budget. The best option for startup companies is to set the budget at least for the first year of operation. Experienced companies can define their budget for several years in advance. 

Don’t plan your budget after setting up the online casino website – plan it beforehand. For new entrants in the market, setting up a business typically involves higher initial costs compared to seasoned operators. This difference is largely due to the advantages that established companies enjoy – like an established customer base and a recognisable brand identity, particularly for those transitioning from a brick-and-mortar to an online model. 

For a fledgling business, this underscores the importance of thorough financial planning. Before taking significant steps, such as launching a website, it’s vital to carefully balance your finances (P&L statements are a good start). This risk management step ensures a more successful and informed launch.

While there is no simple and definitive response to the question of how much you will pay for your online casino launch, SOFTSWISS has surveyed operators about how they divide their budget.

In general, your expenses will fall under two broad categories: the pre-launch and the post-launch stage expenses. 

For example, the largest pre-launch stage expenses include software purchase and setup (25-35%), marketing spend (15-20%), and licence acquisition (10-30%). This early stage of development requires more attention and, as a result, more investments. 

During the post-launch stage, it is vitally important to address half the funds to casino marketing and promotion to attract new players.

Below is an approximate expense separation a future casino owner needs to have in mind while developing a detailed budget to open and run a casino.

Frequently Asked Questions: How to Open Your Own Online Casino

1. How can I figure out if a business like an online casino is right for me?

While the idea of starting an online casino can be appealing, it’s vital to approach this decision with a realistic mindset. The iGaming market is dynamic and holds great potential, but it’s also highly competitive. It’s a hard truth that many projects in this field don’t survive.

If you’re uncertain about venturing into this industry, it may be wise to delay your launch and invest more time in understanding the niche. Here are some key considerations:

  • Market Research: Understand the dynamics of the iGaming industry.
  • Realistic Expectations: Be aware that while the market is promising, it is also fraught with challenges.
  • Team and Partnerships: Ensure you have, or can acquire, an experienced team and reliable partners.
  • Effective Promotion: Learn about various online marketing strategies that can help promote your project.
  • Risk Assessment: Be prepared for the high level of competition and the possibility of setbacks.

Embarking on this venture requires a sober assessment of your budget, experience, and resources. With thorough preparation and a strategic approach, you can increase your chances of successfully establishing your presence in the market.

Remember, be pragmatically optimistic.

2. Do I need to hire staff?

As said earlier, absolutely. For efficient project management, your core team should include:

  • General Manager/Project Owner: The linchpin who steers the entire project.
  • Partner Manager: Nurtures and manages partner relations.
  • Content Manager: Directs all content-related initiatives.
  • Marketing Analyst: Dissects market trends and casino data to inform marketing strategies.
  • First Line Support Team: Fundamental for player support (SOFTSWISS offers this service).
  • Retention Manager: Dedicated to cultivating player loyalty (also provided by SOFTSWISS).
  • Anti-Fraud Team: Safeguards against fraudulent activities (provided by SOFTSWISS).

This foundational team structure is crafted to propel your project towards effective launch and management.

3. How do I draw traffic to the online casino?

The traffic acquisition strategy is multifaceted and can include, but is not limited to:

  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO): Optimising your website to rank higher in search engine results.
  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM): Harnessing the power of paid search engine ads.
  • Affiliate Marketing: Collaborating with affiliates for promotion and broader online reach.
  • Collaboration with Influencers: Connecting with popular personalities (for example, streamers) to reach a wider audience.

4. What is the difference between the Turnkey and White Label solutions?

The SOFTSWISS White Label Solution is a comprehensive package that includes the hardware infrastructure, software platform, and licensing, allowing you to quickly enter the market. Ideal for those seeking an out-of-the-box casino solution.

At the same time, the Turnkey (Standalone) Casino Solution is best suited for individuals with experience in running online casinos and holding their own licence. We provide the software platform, hardware infrastructure, and essential support services. 

Launching Your Online Casino With SOFTSWISS

SOFTSWISS focuses on developing innovative software for online casinos, providing a wide range of solutions from a robust Casino Platform, games hub, affiliate marketing software, and 24/7 support. 

SOFTSWISS is all about:

  • Expertise: 15 years of experience in iGaming, supporting 860+ online gambling websites.
  • Service: Award-winning account management backed up by accolades for Best Customer Service.
  • Innovation: #1 in crypto betting.
  • Security: Focus on cybersecurity and data protection; ISO 27001 compliant. 

The SOFTSWISS Casino Platform includes a variety of modules, features, integrations, and licence options. 

The Casino Platform’s dedicated back office with a set of innovative technologies gives you complete control over all areas of your online casino business. It is integrated with the SOFTSWISS Sportsbook, Game Aggregator, and Jackpot Aggregator, which can make your online casino stand out among competitors. 

As a Final Note

Managing an online casino is hard work, but with all legal and financial issues resolved promptly, quality software chosen, and a strong marketing strategy in place, it can be a successful and encouraging experience both for the operators and their players. 

Following all the steps described above will help a newly made online casino to develop sustainably and outweigh the competition. Good luck!

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