Guest Blog: To be or not to be (online) – Part Three, by Jonathan Strock

Guest Blog: To be or not to be (online) – Part Three, by Jonathan Strock

Friday, February 20, 2015

In the final part of a three-part guest blog, Jonathan Strock, the director of casino development at Lucien Barriere, tells TotallyGaming.com about the challenges and opportunities of moving online.

To read Part 1 of this feature, click here.

To read Part 2 of this feature, click here.

 

Whatever choices you have made on software, product and suppliers, the competitive environment is going to be very challenging, writes Jonathan Strock.

A few years ago, there were just a handful of legal operators and there was enough markets around for everyone to take a slice of the pie. Today the size of the pie is truly gigantic but it is now shared between a multitude of operators, all trying to gain market share with similar products.

There are opportunities however, but not too many, and patience is often required.

To avoid fighting strong incumbent operators having high market share, it is clearly interesting to look at markets that are opening or at least changing their licencing regimes.

This does not necessarily mean that all the players are going to start from the same clean slate but it does have the effect of reducing the power and market share of those companies who have been operating in the grey market that existed before legislation.

It is not always possible obviously to wait and enter new markets but if you have the choice, it is well worth looking into.

The creation of a new innovative game or offer allows for a lot of publicity that can be leveraged to gain a piece of market share. With this, it is important to rapidly make contact with the new customers.

A loyalty scheme is a strict minimum that you should offer. A one-on-one communication is paramount and this clearly requires dedicated, trained professionals inside your organisation. This is not a task that can be improvised if you are serious about your business.

Rather than outsourcing all of your games to one supplier, it can be of a great competitive advantage to use several suppliers of games thus, by following closely the market, you can deal with smaller or lesser known suppliers of content to give you and the supplier some valuable publicity. You can also have exclusivity on the product for a certain time period.

These same suppliers will often give advantageous rates for operators in order to promote their offerings, in all it is very much a win-win situation.

The main challenge will probably be financial.

There are numerous essential costs for an online casino and it is all too easy to overlook them at the business plan stage and then find out that there are some expensive people that need to be hired rapidly in order to bring the operation to break even.

As mentioned previously, an online casino is not the same business as a land based casino, it is more like eBay or Amazon than it is like any casino that you know; this is an essential point to understand.

All this advice might sound a little off-putting. It is not meant to be – it is just a reminder that online and offline casino activities are different businesses with different economic models. With enough thought and planning, it is possible to make a success of your online casino.

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