Starting an Online Casino: What do You Need to Know?
Online gambling has always been one of the most lucrative and desirable areas to explore for business owners despite of whether they have experience in the field. In order to open a successful online casino that will benefit an owner and bring pleasure to customers, one needs to follow the proper sequence of steps paying serious attention to all details. As an online casino software provider SoftSwiss is glad to share its experience to help future online casino owners avoid common mistakes that may impede business launch, inflate budget or even close the business down.
Step 1. Preparation
a) Legal issues
Online gambling is a subject to licensing, thus an essential thing is to think about choosing the jurisdiction and obtaining a license. There are two main venues where it can be done: offshore countries and the European Union countries. Each has their pros and cons � budget, time, reputation. Usually it takes from a couple of months to a year to obtain a gaming license, for example, 6 months in Malta.
The next step after choosing the jurisdiction is to register a legal entity � a gaming company, opening a bank account and making agreements with payment system providers which will make the legal and financial infrastructure complete.
As an alternative to this method there is a �White Label� scheme which means leasing of software together with the gaming license and financial infrastructure from a software provider and operating your casino under your own brand but with the ready-to-use infrastructure. Such a scheme protects from excessive legal and banking bothers but involves additional costs.
As soon as all legal issues are investigated separately or simultaneously, it is time to choose a professional online casino software provider. While searching the market it is wise to evaluate the price and quality balance. Besides the attractive design and a set of popular games, a quality product shall also include a reliable gaming platform which allows for effective management of casino business and includes the following components:
� Player management system
� Bonus and promotions management system
� Game management system
� Payment system management interface
� Cashier system
� Reporting engine
� Support of different roles for administrators
� Affiliate management system
� Anti-fraud system
� Retention email system
Regular software and game updates, hosting and technical support shall also be part of the provider�s package. Professional suppliers always take the responsibility for the full technical support of the after-launch product operation.
The software package that includes all of the above components might be on the upper edge in terms of costs, but the financial investments are worth it because as a result you get a reliable partner ready to support you during the whole project life cycle. Be aware of the fact that buying a cheaper solution might result in double spending in the future.
c) Marketing planning
An effective marketing strategy is a key point to online casino success. At this stage it is strategically correct to make a rigid competitors research. First of all, it will provide you with a full picture of the market: who the leaders are, what strategies they use, what return on investment they get, etc. Thus, knowing the game rules allows creating a unique offer which customers won�t be able to decline. Using the method of benchmarking plays perfect for the good of online casino success, and what is more important, it is free. Plan your marketing strategy by adapting the best practices of promotion, advertising, and brand development.
If a company starting an online casino is operating land-based gaming business, it is crucial to bring the existing clients to play in Internet casino by offering attractive bonuses and thus developing loyalty and respect to the website. Any know-how are always welcome but be aware of wrong calculated ideas from the mathematical point of view.
The next move is to contact internet marketing companies or individuals specializing in online gambling: SEO agencies, email marketing companies, media resources providing casino overviews, etc. This will help define the best offers on the market and choose the right partners before the website is ready to launch.
At this stage, it is also time to think about your future bonus policy and affiliate marketing strategy, as well as check if the selected software provides the appropriate technical opportunities.
Once the costs for legal issues, software and marketing are defined, it�s time to plan your budget. The best option for startup companies is to set the budget at least for the first year of operation, whereas for experienced companies who are entering the igaming market, the budget shall be defined for as long as possible. Don�t plan your budget after setting up the online casino website, plan it before. If you are a startup-company you have to understand that your costs will be higher. Your goal is to earn trust of players from the beginning. Existing land-based brands already have trust.
At the pre-launch stage the biggest budget share shall be devoted to software set-up in order to provide future users with quality product. But after the launch it is vitally important to address half the funds to casino marketing and promotion.
Step 2. Launch
The time frame for online casino launch depends on both, business owner and software provider. Usually it takes up to 3 months for the provider to set up the software. It includes web site design, platform and games set up, custom settings and possible individual features. The business owner may speed up the process of launch by providing regular feedback to all questions that designers and programmers might have. Any issue can be resolved if discussed in time.
Besides, the business owner shall timely address the issues discussed above:
� Obtaining a gaming license;
� Opening a corporate bank account and merchant account;
� Making agreements with payment system providers.
Setting legal and financial infrastructure is the task that only the business owner can accomplish. In SoftSwiss we provide consulting services (best options, contacts, etc.) on such points but we can�t guarantee success as the whole responsibility lies on the business owner. You will have to collect a bunch of documents for lawyers and banks like certified passport copy, utility bill copy, certificate of non-criminal records�
Step 3. Marketing
The secret of the most popular and successful online casino success and popularity is not about the top-notch design or billions of games included. The best online casinos are simply designed and contain 45-50 games on average at the beginning. The secret is in responsible marketing strategy implemented on all stages of the project. Online casino market is an extremely competitive one: first, it is very hard to break into it, and then it is even harder to take a firm stand. Thus, a company has only one chance to win the fierce race among competitors. Below is a list of points that are vital for any online casino that is planning to be prosperous.
� Positioning � Gather professional marketing team and develop strategic and tactical development phases, announce your goals (business, company, brand), and mission. Determine what niche you would like to step in, how you are different from the competitors, what unique features your casino has, and what steps you are going to make further.
Use only quality games from trusted game-providers. You can start your casino with a limited number of game providers, with focus on games based on HTML 5 technology. This technology allows users to enjoy rich graphics games and enhance the overall experience with playing casino games on mobile devices. At SoftSwiss, among our own high-quality HTML5 games we offer game content from the well-known providers, such as Amatic Industries, Microgaming, NetEnt, and we are sure about their quality.
� Prelaunch advertising campaign � Announce your casino, inspire your potential customers to wait for its launch; use all possible methods: online advertising, presentations, publications, etc.
� Online casino promotion after launch � Use SEO, online advertising, banner networks. Everything will work on such a competitive market.
� Client attraction and retention campaign � Establish an efficient support service or 24h call-center which your customers can address at any time. Take care of your clients by making navigation through the website: create �How to� sections or FAQs, write manuals on how to play the games, provide demo versions, make everything clear and understandable.
Develop a bonus system, make auctions and entertain and reward your customers all the time.
Remember! Only business owner can establish the right content on the page. The software provider should give you the possibility to work with the content, but not create the content.
�Implement affiliate networks � Develop contacts with partners which will be an impetus to online casino development.
Additional Step 4. Bitcoin casino
Forward looking online casino software providers offer Bitcoin as an alternative payment system for their solutions. Online casino owners all over the world appreciated such advantages of Bitcoin casino as significant savings on license application costs and monthly fees, increased customer loyalty, fast payment processing and many more.
As an acknowledged Bitcoin casino experts, SoftSwiss would like to recommend all potential Bitcoin casino owners to get a clear understanding of the crypto currency, research on the peculiarities of Bitcoin gambling, and learn how transactions work by making a couple of bets at an existing casino. Understanding the core of the payment system is essential in business, moreover it will help to build a strong marketing campaign and further manage the Bitcoin casino. Contact SoftSwiss for professional advice on Bitcoin casino launch.
Managing an online casino is hard work but with all legal and financial issues resolved in a timely manner, quality software chosen and a strong marketing strategy in place, it can be successful. The demand for online casinos will increase � specialists predict 40% growth of this market segment in the nearest year. Following all the steps described above will help a newly made online casino to develop sustainably and outweigh the competition. Good luck!
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