The US iGaming industry is highly competitive, which is why direct communication with customers based on strong responsible gambling policies can be a key differentiator.
The US online gaming and betting market is on a growth path that is set to continue into 2021 and beyond, with industry expansion and the demand from US customers for iGaming products rising as more states bring forward online betting and gaming regulation.
The monthly revenue figures published by regulated states prove the point, with turnover and gross gaming revenues growing consistently.
After the repeal of PASPA in 2018 New Jersey was first out of the blocks in regulating sports betting. It had already regulated online casino in 2013 and its historic ties to the gambling industry partly explain why it was one of the pioneers in reforming its regulatory iGaming structure .
Some smaller states joined the fray, but in terms of population size and market potential they weren’t close to states like Illinois or Michigan, never mind California or New York.
The past 12 months have changed all this in dramatic fashion. The closures of many land-based gambling outlets across the U.S. and the resulting loss of income have shown the value of online and mobile channels.
As a result New York is now assessing how it will regulate mobile betting and Michigan became the first state to launch online betting and casino at the same time. Illinois regulated sports betting in 2020 and has tabled an internet gambling law that means it is likely to regulate online poker and casino during this legislative session.
While this is very exciting for the industry, it also means that competition is ferocious and every cent and dollar spent must drive return on investment.
Market share and acquisition drive
Marketing, promotions and bonuses play key roles in driving acquisition and volume levels, but once customers are onboarded operators need to optimise their customer retention and management to maximise value.
Michigan’s initial set of figures proves the point. If we look at the table below, operators recorded losses of $5.2m on gross revenues of $13.3m during the state’s first 10 days of activity from 22 to 31 January. This means they deducted $18.5m in promotions during the period.
This is because the US market is at the stage where iGaming brands are focusing on market share and acquisition, but eventually they will want to increase their margins and become profitable. The data also clearly shows how optimising player lifetime values will become a key aspect of operators’ work.
In addition, the popularity and exposure sports betting receives will at some point attract industry critics and lobby groups concerned about players gambling responsibly and operators living up to their corporate responsibilities.
In this respect, Kindred Group recently announced that all US customers will be offered specialised software giving them the ability to block online gambling sites across devices. This is a clear sign of an operator wanting to behave responsibly, but also of the scrutiny much of the industry is likely to be under as it grows and develops stateside.
Sustained customer contact
How do all these elements fit in with Enteractive’s reactivation expertise? Mikael Hansson, founder and CEO of Enteractive, explains: “Expectations are high when it comes to personalisation and user experience and currently iGaming operators’ CRM is mainly data-led and done on a digital basis, with customers contacted by email or text to reactivate their accounts or use up their promotional credits.
“By comparison, our one-on-one communications with customers mean more engagement alongside effective, personal monitoring of gambling patterns. This ensures they gamble responsibly and drives loyalty as we ensure our staff are fluent and knowledgeable of the local variations and preferences of players.”
In 2020, Enteractive had total conversions across all clients exceeding 13,000 per month. In our own surveys conducted with players, more than half (51%) said they preferred to be contacted by phone, compared to email (13%), SMS (12%), and live chat (24%). Four out of five players said they’d be happy to be contacted at least once a month to hear about new updates, promotions and offers.
Betting trends in US markets
In all scenarios, research data points to growth for US iGaming, but also to the importance of regulated and responsible gambling. Prior to this year’s Super Bowl, the American Gaming Association found that 65% of Super Bowl bettors said it was important to use a legal and regulated sportsbook and 35% of them remembered seeing responsible gaming messaging in the past year.
In addition, the redirect towards online channels caused by the closures of so many land-based premises is clear. AGA data prior to this year’s March Madness college basketball events revealed that 17.8 million Americans planned to place a bet online, compared with 5.8 million in 2019.
Being able to communicate directly and regularly with your players and at scale is key; it also offers differentiation in a space where it is not easy to come by. As an approach to customer interaction it can also have significant positive impacts on how consumers respond to your brand. Enteractive’s track record of building relationships that produce long-term benefits through sustained customer contact is our way of showing this.