Yuriy Muratov, head of account management and business development at Booongo, highlights why slot tournament mechanics must be adjusted to ensure operators can appeal to a wider range of players.

The rise of network tournaments connected to online slots has unquestionably proved to be an effective promotional tool for operators, leading to greater engagement as well as a means to further broaden the appeal of a new game or an existing title. 

Of course, the opportunity to win a slice of an attractive prize pot certainly appeals to the player, but the competitive element is equally as important in grabbing their interest and confirming their participation. 

Yet many of the tournaments found in today’s online casino marketplace fail to maximise the potential for operators to reach a wider audience. That is largely down to the mechanics involved of online tournaments, which are not designed to understand the behavioural patterns of casual players. 

The solution lies in changing the approach to online tournaments”

Accumulating points over long time periods is simply not interesting for those who casually play online slots. Players recognise their chances of winning are very slim and their interest dwindles rather sharply. 

Understanding tournament mechanics and the balance required between enticing VIP customers and recreational players are key to ensuring that slot competitions become far more attractive for all kinds of bettors. 

Alternative scoring methods

The solution lies in changing the approach to online tournaments and the structure in how they are played out. Adjusting the mechanics to focus on the best result rather than points accumulated over a longer time session will significantly increase the potential of winning for all players. 

With this model, everyone that participates stands a chance of securing a bigger share of the prize fund. We know this formula works effectively, as found in our recent Money Chase tournament which ran over the summer. 

The eight-week network campaign was designed to increase the probability of casual players securing higher positions. Money Chase consisted of five daily tournaments each week, with a total prize pool of €280,000, and points were awarded for either the single highest payout or round multiplier.

Over 156,000 players participated in the series, which is an increase of 22 per cent compared to our tournaments that use regular mechanics. Total winners amounted to 3,713, which is 3.5 times more the number of players who would have received prizes in a standard tournament format. 

This is evidence that the mechanics involved clearly helped to drive customer interest, knowing they had a better chance of taking home a share of the prize fund. Every spin mattered and those fortunate to secure a big payout or multiplier were the winners of each day. 

“…it is important that operators offer a mix of tournament mechanics”

One of the key factors in what makes promotional tools so attractive for operators is the way in which they drive retention. Tournaments play a pivotal role in achieving this, as the competitive nature of individuals ensures they want to win the prize on offer. 

Having this tournament structure in place can help to retain player interest for a longer period of time. Within our Money Chase campaign, players had five different days to battle for wins, but we ensured players kept coming back for more by developing a leaderboard after each weekly series, which rewarded players for their progress over the previous days. 

The data suggests it was highly effective. Up to 27 per cent of players returned to the competition more than once during each week of the series, which is on average an improvement of 7 per cent compared to regular tournaments. Monthly retention among qualified players showed a growth of 11 per cent in comparison to regular tournaments. 

Tournaments will remain an important promotional tool for operators in the future, but it is important that operators offer a mix of tournament mechanics that appeal to all kinds of players. In the same way in which a casino lobby consists of many different forms of slot games, the same thought process must be considered for how tournament campaigns are set up. 

Taking this approach will allow tournaments to drive further traffic and maximise the potential to increase revenues for online casinos.