Michael Golembo, sales and marketing director at SkillOnNet, takes a closer look at pay-and-play casinos and what traditional operators can learn from their popularity.

Pay-and-play casinos have become hugely popular over the past 18 months as they allow players to deposit and wager without having to create an account.

All the player has to do is provide their date of birth, and once they have been verified through their bank ID (this is usually instantaneous) make a deposit and begin wagering straight away.

Players are drawn to pay-and-play casinos for a number of reasons, but namely because of the perceived anonymity and super-fast withdrawals they offer.

But while pay-and-play casinos provide players – and the organisations that run them – plenty of upsides, there are just as many setbacks.

Indeed, one of the largest pay-and-play casino brands posted a substantial Q1 2019 loss (compared to a healthy profit the previous year), leading to the value of its stock plummeting.

“The main draw of a pay-and-play casino is the perceived anonymity they offer”

The reasons for this include new regulations in Sweden causing the whole market to decline, and that this particular brand has lost exclusivity in the market as other operators offer pay and play casinos or similar propositions.

Below, we look at the pros and cons of pay-and-play casinos, and touch on what traditional online casino operators can learn from their successes and failures.

The pros

For players, the main draw of a pay-and-play casino is the perceived anonymity they offer by not requiring customers to enter personal details in order to set up an account.

Of course, the operator uses the player’s bank ID to access all the same information they would usually ask the player to submit in order to carry out KYC/AML checks.

But the biggest upside is the speed that transactions are processed and made, particularly when it comes to player withdrawals.

Whereas a traditional online casino would consider a fast withdrawal to be within a couple of hours, with pay and play it can be a matter of minutes.

One of the biggest upsides to pay-and-play casinos is also one of its greatest downsides”

An upside for operators is that by using pay and play casinos, consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable with not being offered bonuses and promotions, which means player loyalty can be high if you offer a good product.  

The cons

One of the biggest upsides to pay-and-play casinos is also one of its greatest downsides – they are tough and expensive to market

While operators can use player bank IDs for verification purposes, they cannot use their personal information for marketing and CRM.

This makes player retention super tough.

The current market seems to reward operators that are able to deliver a tailored player experience through the games, bonuses and loyalty schemes they offer.  

To help drive retention, pay-and-play casinos are having to invest huge sums of money in major TV, radio and media advertising campaigns, which some are struggling to recoup.

What’s more, in order to deliver near instant withdrawals, pay and play casinos are having to rely on payment providers such as Trustly and Entercash.

“Traditional operators are catching up and will soon overtake with their superior propositions”

Word on the ground is that they are charging huge fees – up to 20 per cent of a pay and play casino’s total GGR – which is starting to hit some pay-and-play casinos where it hurts (their bottom line).

Another downside, and perhaps the most concerning, is that the speed at which players can deposit and withdraw can feed problem gambling habits.

This is the sort of thing regulators are looking to prevent, and I think it could only be a matter of time before pay and play casinos come under greater scrutiny.

What traditional online casinos can learn

While there are some downsides to pay-and-play casinos, there is a lot traditional online casinos can learn from their success, particularly when it comes to payments.

The sector has known for a long time that players are drawn to brands the deliver the fastest transaction times, particularly when it comes to withdrawals. As such, traditional operators should look to work with payment providers, such as Trustly, in order to offer this to their players.

This will enable them to offer the key “pro” to pay and play casinos, as well as the other factors that allow traditional online casinos to deliver added value.

I’m talking about things like bonuses and offers, exciting loyalty schemes and a tailored and personal experience with the casino.

Pay-and-play casinos may have enjoyed a surge in popularity in the past 18 months, but traditional operators are catching up and will soon overtake with their superior propositions.