Gamification Casino Promotions

by GambleScope Research Team

Gamification Casino Promotions: How Player Engagement is built Over Time

The online casino industry is easily one of the most competitive industries on the web, with literally hundreds of casino brands competing to target more or less the same demographics. To compound matters, new online casinos are launching every month to get a slice of the pie. While it appears that the most critical consideration any online casino operator has is to supply casino games to an eager public, the reality is entirely a bit more complicated.

There are a number of tricks that online casino operators have developed over the years to not only entice new players to their casino but to also retain the customers that they have already successfully attracted. This article discusses the various methods online casino use to attract and retain their customer base and compares that with gamification casinos, the latest trend in online casino gambling. Gamification casinos have an entirely different approach to how their players interact, not only with their games but also with their entire platform. We look at how these "new breed" casinos use innovative promotional techniques to build and sustain player engagement over an extended period.

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How Standard Online Casino Promotions Work

When one considers that online casino platforms are now entering their third decade on the web, one would expect to see a vast difference in how online casino promotions looked at the beginning of the industry, and how they look now. However, you may be surprised to learn that they haven’t changed all that much since the mid-nineties. The basic structure of the casino welcome bonus, for example, has remained largely the same, with the only real difference being in the amount of reward a casino offers new players.

While the welcome bonus is all about getting people to sign up for an account in the first place, online casinos are well aware that they have to do a lot more than just that. Motivating new players with additional rewards is an excellent way to keep players from exploring other enticing casino options. One of the most effective reward schemes has been the loyalty points program, along with referral bonuses for anyone that manages to convince their friends to sign up for an account and make a deposit. Of course, all of these options have downsides too, but let’s take a closer look at how your standard garden variety casino bonuses work.

The Welcome Bonus

The welcome bonus is probably the most well-known of all online casino bonus types and is offered by virtually every online casino in existence. The idea behind the welcome bonus is to attract and entice as many players as possible with a great offer right out of the gate. The welcome bonus is usually sold as a great way to get a solid start with the casino since you get a cash boost on a reasonably small deposit instantly.

For many casino gamers, particularly those that are newbies, the welcome bonus seems like a great opportunity to have a bigger bankroll right away. To a certain extent, this is true although, as they soon discover, every bonus offer or promotion made by ‘regular’ online casinos always come with terms and conditions. In an effort to outdo their competition and entice potential new customers with a seemingly enhanced offer, some online casinos will also throw in free spins or free points to use at the casino.

The No Deposit Bonus

The no deposit bonus is often the first thing new players see when thinking about signing up with an online casino or indeed, shopping around for the online casino with the best-perceived value. The no deposit bonus is extremely effective and is a favourite marketing tool for many online casinos since players do not have to use their own money to get the benefits of a bonus.

However, the no deposit bonus is not without its drawbacks. For one thing, most no deposit bonuses are relatively small since the online casino doesn’t want you to get too much use out of them. The idea is to get your feet wet and have a little look around the casino. If you like what you see after spinning a few slots or playing a bit of roulette, you will then be encouraged to spend some of your own money by taking up their welcome bonus offer. Be warned that the no deposit bonus also comes with terms and conditions and, if you happen to win any money when using it, will have to meet specific wagering requirements before you would be able to withdraw those winnings.

Free Spins, Player Points and Other Promotions

Free spins are almost like an online casinos multi-tool and can be used to significant effect in some different ways. Since free spins don’t technically cost the casinos anything, they can add them arbitrarily wherever they see fit. For example, you may find online casinos that offer free spins as a bundle deal with their welcome bonus. Free spins can also be provided in place of a no deposit bonus, and can even be offered as part of a rewards program or other incentive.

Loyalty and Player Points

Player points, also known as loyalty points, are offered to every player that signs up for an account and makes a deposit. For every wager or game that the player engages in, the casino will issue points (usually somewhere around one point for every ten dollar bet). This is one of the most popular ways in which an online casino tries to retain its player base and encourage new players to sign up.

The Cost of Wagering Requirements

One of the more significant drawbacks to taking any online casino bonus, be that a welcome bonus, no deposit bonus, free spin bonus and so on, is the fact that all of them come with terms and conditions. Among the most important of these terms and conditions is the wagering requirements. Wagering requirements, if you’ve never heard of them, require players to wager their bonus amount a certain amount of times before being eligible for a withdrawal of their winnings (if any). Wagering conditions are set by individual casinos and can vary quite drastically. For instance, one online casino might only require you to wager your bonus amount twenty times (20x), but offer a smaller bonus amount, while another online casino might provide a more substantial, more enticing bonus amount but with higher wagering requirements, up to fifty times (50x).

Gamification Casino Promotions – A New Approach to Optimising Player Engagement

With so many online casinos offering virtually the same services and features, picking a top online casino to play at can be quite a bore. This has led to a noticeable decline in new sign-ups at top online casinos, as well as a marked decrease in players willing to stick around for the long haul. In an effort to reignite a spark in online casino gamblers, some online casinos have now resorted to various gamification techniques. Adopting these techniques, usually associated with the online video gaming industry, is also a way to keep up with online casinos that are already coming out with a so-called ‘gamified’ approach to their platform. Online casinos sporting various gamification features are already doing better than those online casinos that have chosen to stick with a more conventional or ‘traditional’ approach to customer attraction and retention.

Let’s take a look at some of the more popular gamification techniques used by top online casinos today.

Re-branding the Loyalty Point Concept

As we have already seen earlier, the loyalty reward or player point reward systems are nothing new and online casinos have been utilising the concept for years. However, as with any tried and true method, an innovative approach can often do wonders. Newer online casinos such as Ikibu Casino and Energy Casino are two perfect examples of how one can reimagine the loyalty rewards or player points system.

In the case of Ikibu Casino, the loyalty points system has been re-engineered to fit in with their overall gamification concept. Ikibu Casino offers an elaborate adventure-based online casino platform that allows players to compete for a variety of adventures and tasks, thereby earning something called seeds. These seeds function in a similar way to conventional loyalty points, except that they can be used to purchase a variety of casino favourites, including free spins and special bonus offers. Every new player starts off with a few seeds that they are given for free, and there are different ways to earn even more seeds throughout the platform. This creates a more fun way to earn loyalty points and is a far more flexible feature as well.

Energy Casino has a somewhat similar approach to the loyalty point concept, and it too is designed to fit in with their overall theme. Perhaps not surprisingly, Energy Casino offers something called Energy Points, which can be thought of almost as fuel cells that can be exchanged in their local Energy Shop. The cool thing here is that players have a much wider range of options to choose from at the Energy Shop, including real merchandise in the form of baseball caps, lighters t-shirts and so forth. Again, the emphasis here is on fun and a more value-enhanced approach to how players are treated.

Enhancing the Gaming Experience with Missions and Tasks

One of the most unique concepts that have been borrowed from the online video gaming community and used to significant effect within the online casino gaming platforms is the mission or task-based concept. The mission-based concept can best be seen at casinos like Kaboo Casino, Casino Heroes (adventure/quest), Ikibu Casino, and others. The idea here is that players sign up and, instead of just playing a bunch of online casino games like they usually would, they get to either choose missions or have to complete a variety of tasks, in between playing casino games.

The idea is pretty cool as it serves to not only keep players from getting bored and moving on, the fact that at the end of each completed task or mission is a reward, makes it fall neatly into the player promotions/rewards/incentives category. Players get a considerable boost to their bankrolls while, at the same time, enjoying a far more immersive and ultimately rewarding online casino gaming experience.

Engaging Players with Leaderboards

The leaderboard concept is another one borrowed from the world of online multiplayer gaming, and it can be seen in various ESports tournaments the world over. The idea behind leaderboards is quite simple but, at the same time, highly effective. Online casino operators have also found that adding a leaderboard to their online casino platform ups the excitement level among players, particularly among slots players. Quite simply, players are given a range of games to play and must compete for certain rounds or titles within a given period. Their best performances or scores are then recorded on a leaderboard for everyone to see. More significant rewards or prizes are given to those higher up the leaderboard at the end of the tournament or promotion. Leaderboards work brilliantly to bring out everyone’s competitive side and, apart from dishing out great rewards, is a highly effective way to create player loyalty as future events will also feature the popular leaderboard.

Social Sharing – The Millennial Approach to ‘Refer a Friend’ Rewards

Social sharing is one of the latest concepts added to gamification casinos and a powerful tool in not only marketing the online casino but also increasing the participation of players across the board. Social sharing involves the use of various social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter and offers a channel for players to share their progress at the casino or compare game stats and so forth. Social sharing is also used by gamification casinos to encourage players to get their friends involved with the casino in exchange for rewards (seeds, power points/energy points etc.). In other words, social sharing is the new and improved refer a friend bonus, and it works brilliantly!