Joonas Karhu, chief business officer at Bojoko, says that online casino will be a significant market in the US and suggests ways operators can offer a superior player experience
The roll-out of legal online sports betting in the US continues to dominate the headlines, but online casino is also performing incredibly well and in some states is generating the largest revenues.
In Michigan in February, the state’s 11 online casinos tallied gross receipts of $75.2m while mobile sports betting tallied gross receipts of $9.5m leading to a loss of $10.8m.
This poses the question whether operators should allocate resources to launching online casinos in the states where they are permitted to do so instead of doubling down on sports betting.
But what online casino experience are US players seeking and how can operators ensure they deliver a superior player experience and stand out from their rivals?
To help guide the online casino experience they create and provide players, it is worth looking to established markets such as the UK and the trends that have emerged in recent months.
Here at Bojoko we recently analysed three years’ worth of data to get a clear understanding of the factors that players prioritise when deciding where to sign up and play.
We used this data and analysis to compile suggestions for what operators should offer players if they want to increase new player sign-ups and first-time deposits.
While this data relates mostly to the UK market, US online casinos looking to provide their players with the best casino experience in the state would be wise to implement some of our suggestions.
Offer low minimum deposits:
As online casino is relatively new in most US states, players remain uncertain about whether it is safe to play online and are unlikely to want to make large deposits into an online casino.
As players become more educated about the legal nature of online casino in their respective state this will change, but in the early days offering low minimum deposits will help to build trust.
Bojoko data shows that online casinos listed on our sites that offer a low minimum deposit of $1-$5 can enjoy an additional 3-10 FTDs per month so it is well worth doing. Of course, players that are more comfortable with online casino can still make larger deposits.
Welcome new players with a no deposit bonus:
Another way to build trust with players is to allow them to try your online casino without having to deposit and play with their own dollars and the best way of doing this is with a no deposit bonus.
Not many casinos in the UK or other mature markets offer no deposit bonuses, but those that do and are listed on Bojoko enjoy an additional 5-15 FTDs per month.
No deposit bonuses can take the form of bonus cash or free spins, and you can recover some of the cost of offering them by imposing wagering requirements on winnings players accrue.
The offer doesn’t need to be overly generous either - $5 in bonus cash or 10 free spins will suffice.
Don’t impose wagering requirements:
PlayOJO has quickly become one of the most popular online casinos in the UK by not imposing any wagering requirements whatsoever. The money players earn, they keep.
While you do not have to embrace PlayOJO’s philosophy wholeheartedly, it is certainly worth offering bonuses without any wagering requirements.
Wagering requirements and bonus terms and conditions often cause confusion among players and especially if those players are experiencing an online casino for the first time.
No wagering bonuses are now hugely popular in the UK market and online casinos listed on Bojoko that offer them can enjoy up to 40 additional FTDs per month.
Offer alternative payment options:
Payments have always been an issue for online casino operators in the US, but now more than ever it is important to provide players with choice when it comes to depositing and withdrawing.
While Visa and Mastercard were once the payment methods of choice, alternative payment methods like PayPal, Boku and Neteller now account for a high percentage of transactions.
This is because they are convenient, easy to use and often provide much faster withdrawal times than debit cards and credit cards (in the markets they are permitted).
Online casinos listed on our site that offer a selection of alternative payment methods can enjoy up to 10 additional first-time depositors per month.
These are just some of the ways that operators can offer US players a best-in-class online casino experience, but they must also consider factors such as:
• Casino design and layout • Games and providers offered • Bonuses and promotions • Customer support • Security
The operators that can bring all of this together and deliver a seamless and entertaining casino experience will be the ones that ultimately dominate the US market.