The recent European Championships and Tokyo Olympics acted as key drivers of sports betting business, but little has been shared on the impact that major summertime sporting events have on the igaming industry, especially casino offerings and player engagement. Here, we look at user behaviour off the back of this summer’s sporting events and focus on the influence these events have had on some of the industry’s biggest brands.

In the section part of CasinoBeats‘ latest roundtable, Maria Luisa Malfasi, business development manager at Esa Gaming, Ciara Nic Liam, commercial director of gaming of Betsson Group, and Alex Kornilov, CEO and co-founder of Betegy, continue the conversation by looking at what events beyond sports also act as an igaming driver, as well as if retention continued beyond the summer.

CB: What other phenomena, beyond of sporting events, act as a driver for online casino?

AK: Looking at the broader picture, topical content is always exciting. If you have a branded game and a new iteration of the series comes out, or more instalments are added, people will gravitate back to it as it is current, and ‘hot right now’. Of course, there’s plenty that can also be done to add further layers of engagement, or indeed, gamification. Obviously, we see this most clearly with sport, but it can occur around any event, reunion or anticipated pop-culture occurrence.

At a more granular level, looking at engagement and acquisition drivers, you need to go all-in if you want to do well – and there are no half-measures with the modern player. First off, you need to generate multiple creatives each week that are unique and can ensure that you provide an incentive for players to want to get in on the fun. 

“Online gambling is full of peaks and troughs”

Ciara Nic Liam, commercial director of gaming of Betsson Group.

In my view, you need to provide a world that entertains and provides the same escape from reality that video games, and indeed casino, can provide, especially when it comes to having fun at the end of the day. Just as we’ve seen over the last 18 months, whether it’s Netflix, Prime or any major casino site, players want ‘snackable’ content that they can enjoy over the course of an evening. 

MLM: Holidays and seasonal variances in gameplay affect the number of people betting on sports and consequently playing our games. The return of major leagues is naturally driving more people back to their favourite site and we can see a spike in activity when seasons start.

CNL: Online gambling is full of peaks and troughs. It has the regulation of the pharmaceutical industry, a technical infrastructure that rivals online retail, the KYC requirements of banking, the volume of a large forex company but also the volatility of crypto.

Outside of big sporting events, the gambling industry is also massively susceptible to seasonality, payday cycles, major holidays and of course, for large bookmarkers, their sports margin itself.

It is hard to believe, but the turnover in a lot of casinos is largely influenced by the outcome of the sports events the customer bet on earlier in the day, not just whether or not there is a sporting event on.

“It all boils down to segmentation and personalisation”

Alex Kornilov, CEO and co-founder of Betegy.

CB: Did you see retention carrying through between summer tournaments and the return of the major sporting leagues?

CNL: With such a large summer of sport, retaining our customers through the much shorter gap in the football calendar was much easier this year. This has meant greater retention of customers leading into the new domestic seasons and international fixtures.

We also worked hard with our CRM tools and calendars to ensure that through the shorter break we offered interesting and appealing offers to our customers.

AK: For sure, and I’ll explain why. It all boils down to segmentation and personalisation – these are, in effect the key to retention in today’s world, and it’s the same for any tech product. Just think of the Amazon example – players need to be offered exactly what they’re interested in, and it all comes down to the quality of data you have. 

If operators crack this and get their segmentation right, then they’re almost there. The last step, following the data, is all about the marketing. If this can be automated, and customised campaigns can be delivered – something we are true experts at doing – then B2C CRM can suddenly become a very enjoyable experience for the player, as they’re delivered offers and engaging features that are exactly in line with the values that they resonate with most.

MLM: The Euros this summer is our first experience of having our games live with a major tournament. The signs are certainly positive, but from our perspective, I think it’s probably too early to say. 

Last year we launched our first sports-themed Mine Series title, featuring football gameplay, whereas we will shortly have other games which will capture the imagination of those betting for the first time or perhaps crossing over to games from sports betting.