A look back at gaming in 2019, and how 2020 is shaping up

  • Posted: 2nd January 2020
  • Written by:

    Chris Slater

    New Business Consultant

An online casino game screenshot

2019 was a booming year for British sport, in every aspect.

England bringing home the cricket world cup, narrowly missing out on another triumph in the rugby, an unbelievable Premier League title race going right down to the wire, European glory for Liverpool, Anthony Joshua coming back from his first career defeat – 2019 has seen it all.

The interest in sport in the nation would appear to be at an all-time high, you only need to look on social media during major sporting events to see the volume of trends. Anyone and everyone has an opinion – exactly the way sport should be. With interest peaking, naturally, focus on the sportsbook betting market becomes greater. Bookies are facing fierce competition from one another to not only acquire new customers but to provide them with the best offers (consistently) and ensure they receive the best experiences, across all channels.

The biggest shift in the gaming market continues to be caused by the regulatory and governing bodies. The previous retail (in-store) £2 gaming caps look set to translate online in 2020, with parliament voting in favour, therefore extra focus is needed on growing and optimising the sportsbook market. Whilst the UK may seem to be tightening up on regulations, there is evidence in the US to suggest that they are heading the other way. In previous years, you would turn to Vegas and Atlantic City as the ‘gaming capitals of the USA’ where casinos spearhead the huge tourism footfall, other states are now following suite.

Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island to name a few, have retail gaming complexes for their locals showing signs of global market growth. So, where will the focus come in 2020?

Maximising real time data to optimise customer communications.

With AI sneaking its way further and further into the world of marketing technology, it doesn’t feel like we are quite ‘there’ yet. There is still work to be done around truly understanding how it’s going to work and how it can impact customer journeys.

The immediate focus is on how channels can be optimised, across every customer journey touch point. Gaining access to data in real time to set up intelligent and relevant customer journey follow ups. If you bet on a 12pm kick off, how can an individual’s win/loss status be used to trigger an offer based follow up for the 2pm and 4pm later kick offs? This is down to data access – how can web browsing, transaction data, personal preferences be readily available and matched under the single view of a customer to be leveraged in outbound channel marketing.

Combining online and offline data to identify a customer as ‘one’ to provide a channel-less experience.

We’ve seen multi-channel, then omni-channel, now it’s all about channel-less. But what does this mean for data? Essentially, it’s the combining of online and offline data for gaming brands to create a ‘single wallet’ for their customer. This means that marketing teams can provide truly relevant and personal experiences which don’t just focus on digital. They can pull in recent in-store transactions, offer redemption and win/loss ratios to then tailor timely follow up offer and journeys. If a customer loses big – what would they want? An immediate free bet perhaps? How do you keep them engaged with the brand? These are key questions which are being asked when looking to provide a wider experience across all customer touch points.

Innovative USP’s.

It’s not just in gaming where companies are trying new ideas and concepts to create USP’s encouraging customer acquisition and brand association. Let’s take smartwatches as an example – in the previous few years mobile phones and tablets connected to applications and online gaming centres have been the hub but with smartwatches entering the game, it could be a gamechanger. More visible push notifications, quicker journey to offer redemption and favourite bet features are just some of the points to consider with the growth of this area. Another innovation which I love is the online presence of successful casinos catering to women. Maria Casino and Lady Lucks for example, driving the increase in the number of female gamers, which has risen to 40% of the total gaming number in the USA.

Again, as we look back on 2019 we can see the focus largely being around giving gamblers truly personalised experiences across their channels. The data and the technology drive this, without that, you can have the best communication strategy in the world, but it will be hard to put into practice. But as we look forward to 2020, we can still see the same hurdles and past ambitions creeping through, the challenges come when you start incorporating the wider offline customer experience. It takes vision and it needs the data to drive it. Personalisation and targeting comes from understanding your customers at a segmented level, and I hope that the gaming industry in 2020 will finally learn to combat that.

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