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  • Writer's pictureRick Campbell

iGaming and Land Based Casino Partnership

People like to play games of chance and skill and they want to gamble, whether it is through land based casinos or through online casinos. Land based casinos and online casinos are fundamentally different experiences and people will have their preferences. The business models for online gaming and land based gaming are very different. Even though the models are different, the operations are complimentary and the goals are attainable when each operation understands that each operation can help the other and not look at it as losing out to each other.

Many analysts predicted that online cannibalize visitation and revenue from land based casinos. This prediction came from the results of online gaming in Europe, where an online gaming operation does not need to be partnered with a land based casino to operate. Since online operators do not need to partnership with land based casinos to operate, it has caused fierce competition within the online gaming sector and the between online and land based casinos.

Analysis done on offline and online casino partners has shown in the past that the offline business has grown at the same time the online business was growing. So if online business was cannibalizing, then the offline business should be diminishing and not growing. It is this argument that has convinced major land based casino companies in the US that online gambling isn’t an enemy.

Because of the fierce competition over the years in the online casino sectors in Europe, many online operators are looking at the strategy of partnering or branding with land based casino operations. Online operators are beginning to see the marketing advantages of partnering with a land based operation. One of the first online and land based partnerships in Europe was the Hippodrome in London with the online operators PokerStars and Microgaming. Pokerstars is providing the poker platform for Hippodrome’s online game offering. In return, the poker room at the Hippodrome is being rebranded as the PokerStars poker room. A range of live poker tournaments at Hippodrome are sponsored by PokerStars. Microgaming has created and provides a suite of casino games, not including poker.

In the United States, the state by state decision of online gaming, resulted in the decision that only established land based casinos could either partner with an online casino operator that was licensed by the state in which it would operate or the land based operation could obtain a license to operate its own online operation if it was approved by the state gaming entity. With this decision, some of the land based casino operators saw the marketing opportunity to re-enforce their brand with an online gaming platform and build loyalty to their customers when they were away from the land based casino. The casino businesses that understand the partnership between online and offline gaming business, understand the customer(s), both online and offline and have an understanding of online marketing will have the greatest success. Cross marketing between online and offline gaming operations makes the operations more successful. Online casino operations can offer the re-enforcement of the brand, land based casino offerings as rewards such as, dinners, hotel stays, show tickets, etc. On the other hand, offline casino operations can offer bonuses to its players that visit the online casino. Bonuses such as chip / point bonuses, number of times a guests logins can receive a bonus, coming from the land based casino web site and clicking through to the online casino

Success in online gaming is determined a majority on marketing and technology. Online gaming leans on more support of digital marketing than land based casino operations. Digital marketing is the support for the online casino operator because of the origin of its guests; the web. This is another partnership between online casino operations and land based operations. Where land based casino operations have relied mostly on traditional marketing in the past, online casino operations are providing the brand recognition online that most land based casinos have not been able to grasp in digital marketing. The reverse is also true, that land based casino operations provide the traditional marketing channels that online casino operations may not usually use to get in front of their customers.

Pace of innovation, besides size of market and competition, are a large factor in staying ahead in the online gaming industry.

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