5 things you need to know about the gaming industry right now

Trust and reputation have always been important to the UK betting industry, but recent headlines and our own independent research shows they’re now more important than ever. It’s no secret that the gaming industry has a loyalty problem. According to our report, just 3% of players stay loyal to a company for more than a year. That’s not surprising when you consider just how many introductory offers are being bandied about to consumers. So, what are betting companies doing to retain their players?

We decided to host an event alongside EGR and ask a panel of experts how they’re tackling a number of issues, from GDPR through to customer loyalty. If you missed the event, here’s our top takeaways!

1. The industry is facing several challenges

Two key challenges were brought up by our panel: GDPR and the changing culture around gaming/betting within the UK. GDPR has been particularly challenging for businesses with large databases, as in many cases, they’ve had to refine that data and determine if it is still compliant.

Richard Lee, former Head of Marketing at Betsson, said GDPR has been one of the most challenging developments he’s seen. “It’s all about looking at the communication channels we can use and optimising them,” he said.

Adam Wilson, Co-founder of Bookee, noted that GDPR hasn’t been such a problem for his company, due to their relatively small database, but their lack of data has presented different challenges in terms of implementing AI technology. Their app, which he said is often referred to as ‘the Tinder of betting’, aims to personalise the gaming experience by tailoring bets to individual players. “Our ultimate goal is to drive the right user, to the right bet, at the right time,” he explained.

Christophe Dhaisne, Customer Champion at Kindred Group, said GDPR should be embraced as it is “a great opportunity to be more trustworthy to our customers.”

2. Free bets, spins and enhanced odds aren’t enough to win loyalty anymore

More than 38% of consumers choose a betting company based on a good introductory offer, but that doesn’t mean they are going to stay loyal. 79% of players have switched betting company and only 21% of consumers stick to using one company.

Richard Lee suggested that the days of bombarding customers with enticing offers are over, as this tactic could actually lose players. “Customers will go to where they perceive to get the best value,” he said. “I don’t think customers are interested in being bombarded with offers.”

Adam also noted that customers are now very savvy. They know the regulators and, if they have an issue, they won’t deal with it quietly. Instead of getting in touch with a business directly, they will head straight to their reviews site to leave a negative comment. “You have to be on point with everything you do,” he said.

3. Loyalty schemes are no longer effective

28% of consumers say they chose a gaming company because it had a good loyalty scheme and 60% of the decision-makers we surveyed said they offer a dedicated loyalty programme, but all our panellists agreed that such schemes are not suitable for their industry.

Christophe was particularly sceptical, stating that loyalty programmes are expensive and don’t often work. Adam, meanwhile, believes customers are more interested in gamified experiences and that it’s important to give players a choice. It’s all about how you package the rewards you’re offering, rather than the rewards themselves.

4. Customer feedback is extremely important

46% of consumers cited trust and reputation as the primary reason for choosing a betting company, yet only 33% said all of the companies they use give them an opportunity to leave feedback. Furthermore, every the decision-makers we surveyed agreed online reviews are important, and this feeling was echoed by our three panellists.

Christophe said feedback is only worth collecting if it helps you understand what drives loyalty. Meanwhile Richard believes that the customers who do give you feedback are engaged with your company, and therefore more likely to remain loyal. Adam explained that reviews are a great way to develop relationships with your customers, as Bookee has built loyalty with its players by providing them with the products or features they’ve asked for in feedback.

5. Gaming culture is changing for the better

The betting industry recognises it must improve its reputation if it wants to survive and Richard said companies should “rise to the challenge” for what lies ahead. “We have to be responsible and take responsibility for what we are doing,” he stated. “We should be respectful and accept that we need to be socially aware.”

Christophe agreed that the culture is changing and that more needs to be done to tackle problem gamblers. “We are here for the long run and need to run a sustainable business,” he said.

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