iGaming is a serious business – with lobbyists pushing for a wider global availability of this industry and an estimated net worth of over $40 billion.
It is also a source of entertainment and sometimes, serious income. The last aspect will be the most important for us in this article.
If you are the sort of person who enjoys online gambling – sure, go ahead and get a rush from playing online poker. Do it responsibly.
This article, however, focuses on the business side of the industry and is intended to be read by people that want to profit in this area.
Not casino owners – but rather marketers that want to introduce iGaming to the broader global audience.
To make that happen, advertisers need to know:
- What exactly iGaming is and how it works
- Why this vertical is so attractive
- What is allowed and what the regulations are in various countries
- What the current trends and challenges in the industry are
- How to effectively promote iGaming offers
Let’s start by clearly defining what we will be talking about.
What iGaming is and is not
If we wanted to make one serious complaint to iGaming as a whole, it would be on its name.
iGaming (Internet Gambling) is sometimes known as online gambling or betting.
Many people, including bloggers or digital marketers, confuse it with gaming – like placing a bet on 888.com is somehow similar to Fortnite. It will be, if Fortnite introduces random loot boxes.
But until then, let’s define iGaming as a form of online entertainment where the game’s outcome is predominantly determined by chance. This includes:
- Online casinos
- Sport betting
- Horse racing betting
- Online poker
- Mobile gambling
This, and much more, can be now accessed online, with nice graphics and UI, without the need to travel to a brick-and-mortar casino or other location.
How did we get to this point?
History of iGaming
Video games have a long lineage dating as far back as the 1950s. Online gambling, however, hasn’t been around that long but it still has made its presence earlier than you would assume.
The discussion about the history of online gambling often mixes online and offline activities. Offline, standard gambling is a whole separate topic that we won’t go into right now. It’s enough to say that the offline world has paved the world for online activities.
The first iGaming site has been around since 1994 and it was started by Microgaming. The same year Antigua and Barbados passed an act that allowed companies to run online casinos around the world.
What followed is a series of small progressions, both in the legal framework and business opportunities. The year 1998 witnessed the launch of the first online jackpot. In 2003, today’s iGaming behemoth, 888.com (8 is a symbol of hope in Chinese culture) was born.
Since then, the iGaming world has seen a gradual development of iGaming platforms paired with the back-and-forth introduction of various legislations.
The rise of the iGaming industry wouldn’t have been feasible without several important technological advancements. In the early days, those inventions were focused on adding security to online transactions.
It is noteworthy that when Microgaming developed its platform, there was no universal protocol for secure communication. SSL was introduced in 1995, facilitating the fast growth of the industry.
The second part of iGaming’s history is the rise of the importance of mobile devices. Since the late 2000s and early 2010s, people started to switch to mobile devices for consuming content. This includes gambling activities.
As of now, if you do not have a mobile presence, you simply do not exist. Period.
Rise of hubs
The required changes in the legal framework blossomed the most in propitious places. Such places (countries or territories) usually have a strong tradition of attracting businesses that would have difficulty operating in ‘normal’ countries.
These hubs, where the majority of iGaming platforms operate from, are:
These hubs are where the iGaming platforms have grown to provide services in many countries, with one glaring exception.
iGaming in the United States
To say that the US has a complicated history with iGaming is just the tip of the iceberg. It is far beyond the scope of this article to delve into various initiatives that pushed forward or blocked the march of the iGaming industry. Nor would it serve any purpose for marketers that simply want to launch an iGaming focused campaign.
What is important to say is that the legal framework in the US is complex enough without various parties and stakeholders battling each other with contradicting laws. Some laws that are important to iGaming are served on the federal level (like the long-standing ban on financing such services), while others are regulated on a state level – and some are even a part of a whole separate framework that regulates the matters of Native Americans (since they are allowed to run traditional brick-and-mortar casinos).
The bird’s eye view of this topic is as follows: while in Europe and other parts of the world online gambling sites could, with supporting legislation, enter the market and start advertising their services, in the US, iGaming platforms had to be developed in conjunction with their traditional counterparts. A hotel and a casino can launch its iGaming platform and use its marketing resources, guest list and so on to attract customers to continue gambling while not on the casino’s premises.
As of 2022, the US is yet to be infiltrated by big foreign players or conquered by rising and merging domestic companies.
The outtake for digital marketers
No matter whether you advertise your own offer or a third party one, you are still responsible for making sure that what you advertise is:
- Legal in the GEO you advertise in
- Allowed from a publisher’s perspective
The legal landscape often changes, so it is important to be up-to-date with the latest news. If you advertise in the US, check the state laws for online gaming, don’t look for federal laws – as of now, there is no one single federal act that regulates iGaming advertising in general.
Trends and challenges of the iGaming industry
Business is good for online gaming, and the perspective is even better, as this forecast of future industry’s net worth shows.
Nevertheless, there are some challenges that the industry should tackle to ensure future growth. Let’s look at them one by one.
Circling back to this topic for a brief moment, legal status of online gambling will have to be decided upon, especially in the big markets. The industry is too big to be considered transient fashion.
Muddied status slows down many iGaming businesses that generate taxable revenue. Further pressure on various government bodies is required to overcome this biggest challenge that iGaming has to face.
Popularity among young generations
Several years ago, the gambling industry in general was obsessed with Millennials. Now they shift their focus towards Gen-Z, so people born after 1995.
This generation has reached the legal gambling age. While potentially delivering the longest lifetime value due to their young age, they also demonstrate different behavioral patterns and need to be catered to using different techniques and messages.
As the world’s first truly online generation, they are immune to most of the usual tricks and slogans. They have learnt not to trust everything they see on the Internet.
Additionally, they are a generation with less disposable income. Lastly, they seem to be less risky in their decisions.
This doesn’t mean that this generation is lost for the iGaming industry. It only means that the industry has to reinvent itself for the needs of the newcomers. If the companies fail to do so, they may find themselves on a downward spiral toward more niche and forgotten entertainment.
So, what should be emphasized when talking to Gen Z about online gambling?
- The social aspect. Gambling is about emotions, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be about the rush of adrenaline, rather, about the joy of playing with other people.
- Company reputation. Gen Z-ers pay attention to the moral aspect of doing business. You may want to tell them about your CSR activities or how you approach gambling responsibly.
- Visuals. The youngest generation plays video games all the time and they know how a video game could look like. Make sure that you leverage the newest tech to your advantage.
- Mobile-first. Twenty-somethings consume most of the content on their smartphones. For them, a desktop computer is as strange as a record player. Take care of a mobile version of your web page or a dedicated app.
The rising popularity of online gambling attracts not only new players but also new companies that want to cash in on the opportunity. Although the global Internet population grows steadily, it cannot make up for the recent influx of new iGaming platforms.
This may be good news for marketers, as more competition means increased marketing budgets. If marketers have the will to think outside the box and find a creative angle that puts their message in front of others, they will still be able to profit.
What the Future Holds For iGaming
There are numerous trends that slowly change the way the iGaming industry operates. These trends revolve around adopting new technologies to make gaming safer, faster, and more attractive to broader audiences.
Let’s investigate them.
Like many other industries, iGaming is going through a phase of being fascinated by blockchain. While in many cases this serves mainly as a buzzword to attract investors, one could make an argument that there is a serious case for the online gambling industry to adopt blockchain technology.
Blockchain is a distributed and universally trusted database. In a traditional model, an online casino has a disproportionate amount of power being the sole keep of a transaction ledger. With blockchain technology, a shared and incorruptible ledger builds trust and empowers all participants of the network.
There is probably not a single person in the whole wide world that hasn’t heard of crypto. From the perspective of someone that is receiving payments, cryptocurrencies offer some advantages and disadvantages:
On the plus side:
- Payments are quick
- Not subject to government control
The downside includes:
- Fluctuating exchange rate
Adopting crypto payments may bring additional people who are concerned with authorities looking into their spending. It will also make payments faster and not subject to additional banking fees.
Virtual reality is the perfect candidate for bringing the gambling experience from brick-and-mortar casinos to the comfort of your home.
This tech resonates best with younger customers that often find this technology more approachable than making a visit to a hotel with a casino in it.
How to effectively promote iGaming offers
iGaming is one of the most popular niches where push notifications are used. Pushground is one of the main platforms that sell push traffic for iGaming offers.
Here are some of the main points to keep in mind when creating iGaming campaigns.
Track as much as you can
Push Ads do not provide essential user information, and that is why it’s important to collect this information yourself. You can do this by:
- Using macros (tracking tokens) provided by Pushground to pass as much information in a campaign URL as possible to your tracker or affiliate network.
- Tracking conversions with postback or pixel.
Remember that the more data you have, the more you’ll know about your visitors and the more accurate decisions you’ll be able to make. Conversion tracking is essential for optimal campaign optimization.
Voluum ad tracker provides you with everything you need for successful campaign tracking. Learn what Voluum can do for your iGaming business.
In Pushground, you’ll be able to track the View Content event, which gives you information about which sources have the best engagement rates. Generally speaking, a low Content View means lower performance. As an indicator, Content View should be at least 70% – meaning that at least 70% of users landing on your landing page are fully loading it. Lower Content View rates translates to click loss.
It is good practice to target specific audiences that have previously interacted with your landing page. They will be more likely to perform the final action as they showed an interest before.
The system automatically starts collecting visitors into your audiences, and afterwards, you’ll be able to create new campaigns and target (exclude or include) different audiences, tailor-made for you.
Collect user information
Collecting your visitor’s information is crucial in order to reach them afterwards – a great idea is to add a form on your landing page to collect the visitor’s email address.
The main goal of placing such a form on your landing page is to collect leads, however, it is not as simple as it looks – visitors are not always ready to leave their personal information, especially on the Internet. The longer your form is, the less leads it will bring.
Which means you’ll need to prioritize which information you want to collect. In digital advertising, the minimum is the name and the email.
Pro Tip: try to make your form as visible as possible – use vivid colors to catch the visitor’s attention! Place your form above the fold, so it will be visible without needing to scroll down.
The CTA button color must contrast with the background and the whole landing page design, as your main goal is to provoke the user to fill out a form and click on the CTA button. Make sure the message is short and clear: ‘claim your prize’, ‘play online’.
As you might already know, in the affiliate marketing industry you earn commissions by promoting affiliate offers – but the money you’ll earn can vary a lot depending on your payout model.
There are lots of payout models, and here’s the ones we recommend for iGaming offers:
- Cost Per Action (CPA). This is one of the most common payment methods in this industry, and lets you earn a commission each time the user performs a specific action, which is specified by the affiliate network. It is important not to perform clickbaiting actions in order to maintain good-quality leads.
- Revenue Share (RevShare). This model is often used by affiliate networks and is very popular for iGaming offers. You’ll receive a fixed percentage of the total profit of the site, made by the customers you brought.
Use captivating titles & creatives
iGaming appeals to the less rational and more emotional side of us – and this should be reflected by using strong visuals to convey your message!
Titles and Descriptions
Here are some tips for writing captivating titles and descriptions:
- Call To Actions: you should always start your CTA with an imperative verb such as “get”, “win”, “take”, etc.
Spin The Wheel
Get Your Bonus
Win The Jackpot
- Use exact numbers: you will gain trust among visitors if you are precise: a # number of spins, a # amount of bonus, etc.
- Be direct: your message must be clear to the user. “Spin the wheel to win a prize”, “Multiply your wins” , “Test your luck”.
When it comes to choosing images for your creatives, it is essential that your creative’s images match the style of the landing page for greater credibility.
You can always make screenshots of the landing page or search for images online – there are lots of options, from spinning wheels to slot machines, or really anything that can catch the user’s attention.
There are a lot of stock photos that are free to use. Sites like Pexels are a great source of royalty-free images.
Many affiliate networks provide marketing materials in the form of creatives or whole landing pages.
A new vertical at your fingertips
You now have enough information to start advertising on your own. Feel the excitement of entering a new vertical, or going back to a vertical that you know but armed with a set of new information and tips.
iGaming is one of the few verticals that is most likely to grow. With more and more favorable legislation being introduced in the US (for example, since the beginning of 2022 it is legal to place an online bet in New York), the biggest jump is still ahead of us.