The landscape for the iGaming and sports betting sectors has been shifting constantly over the last few years. Changes in regulation, new products and innovations, frictionless onboarding processes or offering varied customer retention options all play key roles in how operators determine and implement their commercial strategies. And the commercial aim is to keep as many active players as possible.
Enteractive works with iGaming brands around the globe to help drive active players for operators, so we have a unique vantage point into what players want. We speak to them on behalf of operators to keep them enjoying the entertainment, so we understand how changes in the iGaming landscape affect their relationship with brands.
User experience, customer journey, onboarding; whatever the term being used, what we call UX probably plays the biggest part in whether players deposit and play on their online accounts. An onboarding process that is slow, unsteady or experiences technical glitches is near certain to result in players abandoning the process and searching for an app that works more efficiently.
Along with UX, whether players can deposit or withdraw funds with ease and speed is another big reason whether customers will keep their online accounts active. Any disruption to the payment process, especially when it comes to withdrawing winnings, will have significantly adverse impacts on operators database numbers.
As time marches on, emerging new audiences and demographics demand exciting new products and gameplay, leading to exciting innovations across the sector. In the US, the focus is very much on single game parlays, micro-betting and the gamification of sports betting, while in online casino the rise of live gameshow-style casino play via Twitch or Youtube is proving highly popular worldwide.
Operators must keep up to date and offer players the latest products and innovations to ensure they continue playing with them. But they should also strive to keep existing audiences engaged with their preference of established products. Keeping everyone happy across diverse demographics is key to a healthy active player database.
Regulations and RG measures
Legislative and regulatory changes in recent years have had the biggest impact on how operators can maximise returns on investment and grow their businesses. From advertising channels to stake limits or affordability levels, the number of new rules, responsible gambling measures, and regulatory restrictions has been hard to keep up with, in Europe in particular.
While not directly part of the player experience, the variety of reform and regulation in different markets has made it difficult for operators to navigate the marketing environment and gain traction with audiences. Restrictions on how to approach players due to responsible gambling commitments can be limiting, although Enteractive has found that calling a registered player directly to see how they’re doing is the safest way to avoid regulatory pitfalls.
Affordability checks, monitoring players to look out for signs of problem gambling, and identifying vulnerable customers are welcome developments for an industry keen to promote healthy entertainment offerings, but it affects operations and limits how brands can approach players commercially. The key here is to remain flexible and maximise ROI from as many available channels as possible.
This means online operators are having to adapt their offers, modes of operating and working practices to these new settings and some would appear to be achieving this with more success than others.
But recent changes, notably to advertising and sponsorship opportunities, have been noteworthy. In 2018, Italy adopted what is known as the Dignity Decree, with the aim of fighting problem gambling and addiction. The new regulation introduced a ban on gambling and betting advertising, which spreads across media, sport teams and jerseys and stadia.
In Spain, a temporary pandemic-led ban on gambling advertising and sports sponsorships, as well as bonuses and promotions, has now been implemented as an all-out ban since 2021.
And in the Netherlands, delayed online gambling regulation finally arrived in October 2021, but the resulting environment for operators is highly restricted with many pre-regulation market leaders still not licensed to operate.
Engaging the future
Operators are fighting a war on all fronts just to keep the gains made, and this is the new normal for the iGaming landscape around the world. Each market is literally a law unto itself, so pivoting swiftly to new ways of marketing to and communicating with customers is paramount.
Changes can largely be expected, or at the very least, will be signposted in advance by regulatory bodies, so having a flexible approach to marketing strategy is an approach that Enteractive has seen successful operators apply with careful consideration. Think ahead, plan ahead, and you’ll stay ahead! While acquisition of new audiences is always commercially important, by keeping players active in whichever ways are possible and effective, the bottom line revenues will keep growing.
Andrew Foster is the chief business officer of Enteractive. He has been with the company for nearly six years.