How To Operate A Market-Leading Online Casino – An iGaming Academy Guide

Make your way to the top – could you become the next big name in iGaming? Our guide explores the highs, the lows and the how-to’s of online casino management.

The online casino market is exploding, worldwide. Once the domain of Las Vegas-trippers and underground game-seekers, Roulette, Blackjack, Baccarat and Slots are now widely-accessible to consumers wherever they are.

Europe, in particular, is a hub of online casino activity. Expectations are for the European market to represent nearly half of the world’s gross gaming yield in the next few years. With over 300 iGaming companies registered in Malta alone – a historic base for operators to service multiple European markets – competition in Europe is fierce. To survive and prosper, you need to have an online casino that stands out from the crowd.

Demand for online gaming is only increasing, and projections for the coming years show no signs of this slowing down. Whilst the market is dominated by big players like LeoVegas and Casumo, more and more operators are discovering a slice of the market. Online brands with existing customer bases – media, telecoms, forums – are discovering how branded casino offerings can increase their revenue dramatically. Brand new players, spotting an untapped corner of the market, can also quickly rise to challenge dominant players.

Do you have what it takes to make your way to the top and seize this enormous opportunity? In this iGaming Academy Guide, we explore some of the key facts about this market, show you the potential and how to get things rolling with some first steps.

Earn a slice of the 40€ Billion online gaming market

In 2016, the global game win for online gaming – including all segments – was estimated at around €40 billion, with online casino accounting for more than a quarter of that amount. That’s an impressive amount of money for one industry. Among various types of iGaming activity – Sportsbook, Lottery, Poker, Casino – Casino often proves the most profitable, and certainly provides the most reliable of income streams. (“The house always wins!”)

Cultural perceptions of gambling vary from market to market, but there are certainly no shortage of players out there. A 2005 Washington University study estimated that 1.6 billion people gamble in any one year, and an incredible 4.2 billion had gambled at one point in their lifetime. If that’s not untapped potential – we don’t know what is!

Online Casino Trends and Upcoming Opportunities

One of the biggest shifts that the industry has seen in recent years is the massive move towards mobile – gaming on the go is now the future, and online casinos that want to keep up with this ever developing and demanding market need to invest in this and adapt their sites to be mobile friendly. As a user there is nothing more frustrating than a website that is difficult to navigate, and be under no illusion, players will not waste time on it, they will simply find an operator that they find more user-friendly. Mobile dominance will undoubtedly be critical over the next 5 years.

More broadly, the online casino industry is all about user experience. Detail, personalisation, flawless functionality, and slick design. With financials so tightly set by competition in the market, it’s user experience that can make all the difference.

New markets are being regulated every year, allowing iGaming operators to expand into new territories. Emerging markets can be found, in particular, across the Americas and Africa, with multiple operators vying for a position in these markets. There’s amble opportunity for trailblazers to get a head start.

The Competition: Big Players and Start-Up Operators

The top 5 operators according to iGaming Business include the likes of LeoVegas and Casumo, both of which are known for being pioneers in offering their games across a variety of platforms, including mobile. Even major Sportsbooks like Paddy Power and Bet365 have high-calibre online casino offerings.

Online brands with existing customer bases are increasingly discovering the value of adding an online casino to their range of products. Media companies, newspapers, community forums – anywhere there’s an active following online is ripe for an online casino. If this is your business, have you considered the potential of online casino?

Start-up casinos flourish when they can corner a niche. Themes, specialist games and targeted marketing can all play a huge part in building communities that the big players would struggle to connect with. As a new entrant, this is where the big opportunity lies.

Staying ahead of the game might seem like a little obvious to state, but it cannot go unmentioned. In iGaming – in an industry where there is so much intense rivalry – this is an essential mantra for any company looking to make their mark.

How To Start An Online Casino

Now that we’ve taken a look at the possibilities for growth and success in this market, the first step should be looking into the necessary stages of actually starting an online casino before dreaming of being one of the top operators. This can actually be boiled down to five deceptively easy points which we’ll briefly review here.

Step 1 – Get The Software

Whether it’s developing your own software and backend system, having it built for you, or finding a software provider with full turnkey solutions, this stage will ultimately be the most important decision in the process of getting started.

If you decide that the best option for you is to find a provider, then make sure to take time in evaluating existing options and choosing a company with high quality and a deep understanding of the industry. It’s imperative that it is highly customisable, allowing you to control the process and ensure it reflects the standards of your brand.

Step 2: Build Your Website

Here you need to ask yourself what you want to offer your customers. Which games? Will you include a sportsbook? What about live casino or additional features like chat rooms? You need to think about your long-term goals and what kind of operator you want to be. A reliable gaming provider can help you integrate all this content on a user-friendly and smooth interface.

Step 3: Get licensed

Your next step is to get a license for the jurisdiction that you would like to run in. Every operator has to meet the regulatory requirements of territories they’re operating in. Depending on the laws of the country you want to set up in, the time that it takes to obtain such a license may vary from a few months to a year. If you do not want to go through the process of finding a reputable jurisdiction, and getting your license set up, it is also possible to become a licensee of your software provider.

Step 4: Set up payment method

You will also need to find a secure and reliable payment provider that will allow your players to easily make transactions – preferably in more than one method to make it more convenient for them.

Step 5: Start accepting players

When all the necessary steps have been taken care of, it’s time to shift your focus onto your customers and marketing plans. You have to position yourself as a top, trustworthy casino in order to stand out, which will be difficult initially due to the highly competitive market, however, if you took the time to do your initial steps correctly and by getting high quality games, having good customer service and offering good user experience, you’ll be well on your way to being recognised.

There are also extra tips through loyalty and retention programmes, such as bonuses or loyalty schemes that will help you ensure that your online casino draws in paying customers and keeps them coming back for more.

The real challenge though begins after this – how to go about acquiring a good market share and creating a truly engaging product that will get players to make that first deposit and keep choosing to play on your site. How to treat VIPs, monitoring KPIs, which suppliers to choose… it can seem pretty overwhelming, but armed with the appropriate tools and knowledge there is no limit to what you can do.

There are endless possibilities on how to market and manage your online casino, whether you decide you want to target a more niche market, like Tom’s Casino or go for a wider audience and incorporate both sportsbook and casino, like Guts. They all started from somewhere, and you could be next.

Got The Ambition To Start Your Own Online Casino?

Our Product Courses are developed in conjunction with industry experts with a wealth of accumulated knowledge and years of first-hand experience in iGaming product management.

Our 360° Casino,  Online Casino Management and Online Sportsbook Trading courses will give you the know-how on the best way to manage your iGaming site successfully and supply you with tools that will enable you to stand out and make your name in this industry.

Whether you’re new to iGaming with dreams of making it big or a well-established manager who knows that the fierce competition is only motivation to keep growing, this course is essential for you to take that determination you have and make something great out of it.

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