Should Brick and Mortar Casinos Launch Online Outlets?


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As gaming companies compete for market dominance and more patrons, they are abandoning outdated business strategies, acknowledging the need for new, modern channels through which they will acquire and keep the choosy and difficult to please audiences of today. What worked 20 years ago is no longer effective, as the large millennial generation has clearly demonstrated in recent years. For land-based gambling corporations, conforming to emerging expectations and evolving beyond what is considered comfortable has become a necessity, should they intend to keep their position in this unforgiving industry. Not all of them have shown willingness to adapt, but the majority has accepted the reality of their situation, setting sails for new horizons, one of which is the online domain.

The Same, but Different

The transition from land based to internet operations can be challenging, but balancing between both worlds and trying to keep them both going can either be a great risk or an excellent opportunity to thrive. While some companies took the plunge right at the start of online expansion in late 2000’s, most of them opted to wait and observe, and then maybe cross over taking small, careful steps. While the two realms share the same foundation, they have little in common. Senior companies are aware entirely different business models must be developed to manage both platforms effectively. One must first understand how online players think, what they want, and how the product should be presented to them. This customer base is different from their land brethren in almost all areas of importance, which makes the adequate marketing strategy one of the key factors in a successful virtual undertaking.

Is the Risk Greater Than Gain?

Since they have to not only reinvent themselves from scratch but also invest more resources and hire new personnel, seasoned casino operators are understandably wary of challenges they might not be capable of overcoming. This dilemma is curiously most prominent with the largest and longest-standing groups in the gambling industry, which should, according to their capabilities, be best equipped to grasp for the many fruits of the online market.

However, what they fear the most seems to be this same market engulfing and decimating their existing land-based player base as a sole area of profit. Those given a taste of home comfort would hardly find it necessary to travel to their casinos and play the games there.

Another major concern is the issue of regulation and licensing. Depending on the jurisdiction, it may take a lot of effort and money to obtain and renew a license on a regular basis. Online gambling laws are ever-changing, and there is not a single framework in effect for the global market, the fact which makes legal, internationally oriented services the least likely outcome.

All or Nothing

Millennials, a target audience of online operators, require a wholly different approach than an average land based casino goer. Keeping them happy and willing to wager money on internet games, means having advanced technical solutions, updating the offering with latest releases from the most prominent providers. Also in maintaining a high level of functional performance at all times, providing support quickly and via multiple channels, and being able to process payouts in as little time as possible. This is only scratching the surface, however, as all these requirements only make for an average casino without any particular edge over the competition. To rise above others, players need to feel appreciated, and the fastest way to achieve this is to develop an elaborate rewards program, which again, should be entirely different than loyalty clubs found at land facilities. A trustworthy venue must fulfill all of this to earn the loyalty of customers.

Not What We Want, but What the Market Dictates

In the end, what troubles await companies that wish to expand online is not the biggest question. What matters is whether or not they intend to stay relevant in this business, because the future of gaming is clearly in the virtual world. Soon, internet wagering will become the primary means to gamble, and companies unwilling to accept this fact might not make it in the long run. In time, when online games become widely accepted and regulated by law, this market will offer opportunities for growth more numerous and diverse than brick and mortar casinos ever had. Operators would be wise to use this time of transition to planning ahead, gather resources, and get ready to move full force when the time comes to take on digital challenges.

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