If you’re considering starting your online casino brand but are bewildered about where to start and the key things you need to look out for, don’t worry; we’ve got it covered.
Find out the most crucial steps and thinking points before embarking on your new iGaming journey and how you can pave the way for success with our helpful guide.
If you’re just getting started in the online casino scene, you’ve probably read two phrases being mentioned: turnkey and white-label. But what’s the difference between the two?
White-label solutions offer a fast turnaround but at a price. The price may not be literal; white-label options are cheaper than turnkey but for a good reason. They provide a limited scope for content creation and practically no customisation. You’ll receive a generic brand often indistinguishable from other offerings. It's hardly ideal for standing out from the crowd.
However, with a turnkey solution, you will get a far superior brand in every single way. You can customise each aspect to suit your needs, making your brand 100% bespoke. Choose your preferred verticals, payment options, design, and more – a unique brand for an individual client (you!).
But what are the main things you need to consider?
Launching your iGaming casino comes at a price. Before choosing your provider, you must assess your budget and create a business plan. Consider costs for staffing, operating costs, marketing, setting up your registered company, paying tax, and, of course, your licence.
You’ll need a licence for your chosen market to run an online casino. For that, you’ll need to be a registered company. Spend time considering the various markets, the relevant licence, and the costs and time constraints of applying for each. Each licence is different, and it can be a long process.
If you’re just starting, perhaps opt for a licence that will allow you to operate in an emerging market, like Brazil, rather than one of the longer established markets and licences that can be more costly (find out more about iGaming in Brazil in our blogs Brazilian iGaming Boom and Big Boost for Brazil's iGaming & Sports Betting Power). Consider the preferred game types, payment methods, the culture and attitudes towards gambling, internet and mobile connectivity, crypto popularity, the average age and sex of players in the region, and the general affluence of the people.
If you’re sinking a lump sum of your own or your investors' money into your new venture, you want to make sure the people you’re giving it to know what they’re doing. Research prospective providers thoroughly. Check out their current brands and read reviews. How successful are the other brands that they’ve created? What’s the uptime like on their sites, for example? How long will it roughly take before you ‘go live’? Look at the data with a fine toothcomb.
You also need to ensure the provider knows about your chosen market, ideally providing support in your and your players’ preferred language. The best providers will have managers who specialise in specific jurisdictions and have in-depth experience in targeting the demographic. Ideally, find a company that can supply you with a dedicated account manager to be your first point of call for any given situation.
Due to the nature of your burgeoning business, you must select a provider that knows safety and security inside out. They need to know how to follow all laws and robustly instigate Know Your Customer (KYC), Anti–Money Laundering (AML) and Responsible Gaming (RG) practices. Your team must complete all checks to keep you and your players safe. Payment and withdrawal methods and procedures must be secure. Any reputable company will have a fully qualified legal and compliance team handling security- and safety-related matters.
Consider your managed services requirements before entering any deal. If you’re new to the casino business, you will need an experienced team's help to manage your brand's day-to-day running. If you’re not new to the casino business, unless you already have a large group of experienced staff on your side and the finances to pay for extensive training, you’ll need to use a bought service. It’s a good idea to invest in quality managed services. Using the services available from your platform provider makes the most sense as they will have the best knowledge of the systems and how everything works.
Keep in mind the different services that are on offer. You’ll need support with IT, the everyday running of the brand, legal guidance, and customer services readily available for you and your players. It’s also important to consider a provider that can assist you in your first language and provide customer support to your players in their first language(s).
Your brand is your business; the design is more than just an appealing visual homepage. Even if you have the most visually stunning product, you won’t make any money if it doesn’t function well. If your site freezes, lags, is hard to use, and players struggle to find what they’re looking for, they’ll leave. If the loading time is over three seconds, most players will quit.
The back-end and front-end designs need to work equally well. Your chosen provider should have a talented UI and UX team because not only does your online casino need to be aesthetically pleasing, but it also needs to work swiftly and be easy to navigate. Quiz your provider about their uptime (it needs to be high). Check out their created sites and look for CTA buttons, menus, search engines, help stations, etc.
The first thing to consider here is ensuring your and your players’ safety and security. Whatever methods you choose, they need to protect you and your players. Invest time finding the popular payment methods for your chosen market and which ones are legal in that jurisdiction. Players will want something that works fast with low fees and robust security. They will also opt for places that offer a range of methods, such as credit and debit cards, bank transfers, e-wallets, and cryptocurrency. It is critical not to be tempted to skip in-depth verification processes such as AML, KYC, and RG and risk falling foul of the law.
Casino games come in all shapes and sizes. From your basic, one-armed-bandit style slots to mega, feature-rich video slots. It’s usually best to categorise your choices as well. Savvy sites make the most of personalisation and gamification by tailoring content to a player’s profile and offering gamer-style aspects like high scores, achievement trophies, and ‘My Favourites’.
Offer an excellent range of retro three-reel classics for old-school lovers alongside an eye-catching selection of video slots with many bonus features and modifications for thrill-seekers. Ensure you provide games with a twist, like cascading slots, and those with progressive multipliers and jackpots. A few simple scratchcards thrown into the mix also work well.
Crash games are hot in 2023 (learn more about those in our blog, Six Reasons Why 2023 is the Best Year to Launch Your iGaming Business). Crash games are crypto-based and work differently from other games. Players bet on a multiplier. The multiplier increases steadily. Players can cash out anytime but wait too long, and the game crashes without a win.
Of course, no good casino would be without a Live Casino section. Provide a wide range of live dealer table games alongside virtual tables and live game shows. Expand your capacity with unique variations and games with a twist. Don’t forget to add country-specific games, even if they don’t originate in your chosen market, as they are growing in popularity worldwide. Games like Teen Patti, Andhar Bahar, and Sic Bo have global appeal.
Importantly, question your provider about which game providers they use. Big studios and small indie studios each have their positive aspects. Some game providers are well-known for certain types of games, live game shows, or live casino options. Research which games are popular in your market and find a provider to give you access to their game catalogue.
Casino sites will usually work well on their own but offer added verticals, and you’ll quickly attract a much bigger audience to your business. The first choice for any extra vertical is almost always a sportsbook. Sports betting and casinos are the twin stars of iGaming. They provide multiple crossover options and can bring in big crowds, especially during famous league finals and world sports. Visitors to your casino may visit the sportsbook for a quick bet to learn more and vice versa.
Provide betting options for the biggest sports for your chosen location. Add things like pre-match events, live events, real-time scores, video streaming, and more. Multiple bet options and sports promotions will also work well. Find out more about Sportsbook in our blog Choosing a Sportsbook Provider: Top 20 Tips for Success in 2023.
Betting on virtual sports and eSports has also risen in popularity over the past few years and is worth considering. Virtual sports allow players to bet on their favourite sports 24 hours a day when they’re out of season in real life. ESports are popular with gamers who wouldn't necessarily visit your site otherwise but may hang around to find out more. Read more about eSports in our article eSports Epic Rise to Success.
It’s also highly recommended that you contemplate adding fantasy sports to your offerings. Fantasy sports are so versatile. They can be enjoyed individually or in communities, like workplaces. Players learn more about management and aid retention, returning regularly to check results and plan their next move. They’re real brain food as they get players to use their intellect. Players often bet on the same sport or team in your sportsbook or play related slots. It's a win-win with fantasy. Find out more in our article Expand Your iGaming Business Profit, Popularity & Potential with Fantasy.
If you’re looking for added value to your site with a vertical that has a comprehensive and far-reaching appeal, look no further than lottery. Lotteries are available in many markets where other forms of gambling aren’t. They’re simple to play with big jackpots to be grabbed for the low cost of a single ticket. They appeal to a much broader demographic. Millions of people partake in lottery games worldwide that don’t engage with other forms of gambling. These days, numerous global lotteries are available, widening your options. Some providers can also create exclusive lotteries for a unique experience made just for you. Like fantasy, people return to check results and may visit other areas of your site while they’re there. Understand more deeply why lotteries are so versatile in our articles How to Create a Winning Lottery Brand and How to Grow Your Casino or Sportsbook With Lottery.
Of course, many more options can also boost your business. Think about things like bingo, which is making a comeback in the mainstream, or, if they’re available in your chosen market, free-to-play (F2P) games, which are a perfect draw to get people playing and trying different games before parting with their cash.
If you don’t have marketing, you don’t have a business. Your marketing strategy needs to be well-planned, targeted and flexible. If using your chosen provider’s marketing team, scrutinise their experience and the methods they’ve used previously. The strategies must be creative and follow compliance laws, so make sure any team you use knows what is and isn’t allowed.
A quality customer relationship management (CRM) system will be able to analyse data of key performance indicators (KPIs). It will assess things such as net gaming revenue (NGR), gross gaming revenue (GGR), churn rate, active/non-active players, and customer lifetime value (CLV).
Look at affiliate marketing and speak to your marketing team about value affiliates. Ensure your team monitors your affiliates to ensure they follow all the applicable rules and regulations.
You’ll need enticing bonuses, welcome offers for acquisition, and clever schemes to improve engagement and retention. Player journeys should treat different groups of players differently, for example, by offering better rewards for verified VIPs. Some sites use loyalty schemes and even branded merchandise. Seasonal activities like advent calendars, cultural events and tournaments will draw people in.
Study competitors and see what they do, sign up for mailing lists, join other platforms and hone your craft. Marketing can be anything from a simple banner on an affiliate site to email campaigns, SMS, push notifications, social media carousels, or snail mail. Start small. Don’t try to run before you can walk by planning big video or radio adverts until you’ve established your site. Think big but straightforward.
The key is to take time, plan, and don’t rush. Weigh up all your options and do your research. If you want your brand to succeed, you must put in the hours and money! Once you’ve found your ideal provider, they will work with you to make your dream a reality. And whatever you decide, good luck!
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