The online gaming marketplace is pretty crowded right now. Try popping something innocently generic like ‘online casino’ into Google and you will be overwhelmed with the number of different offers competing for your attention.
In what is an increasingly international – not to say global – industry there are quite literally hundreds of casino sites all offering what at first glance appear to be notably similar offerings. Roulette, blackjack, poker, sports betting and lots and lots of slots appear to be common across the entire sector. Given that the underlying software is often shared by competing brands, this makes the marketing aspects of what we are presented with all the more pertinent.
So how do these providers all survive? Is what we are seeing just like the early days of the dinosaurs? Is this just what happens when a relatively new technology allows providers to tap into the public appetite for easy play? Could it be that over the fullness of time this wealth of providers will drop down to a more restricted sample of just the fittest and the best – a kind of commercial evolution?
Taking an admittedly restricted view of what is on offer – a full analysis would take all of 2015 to complete, and even then it would be out of date whist it was being proof-read – here’s a look at a ‘best of breed’ example.
The UK-based SuperCasino has packaged itself as a roulette specialist. Competitors Full Tilt and PokerStars have already carved up the growing poker market, so there is a clear precedent for this sort of niche approach – as opposed to just provision of a generic casino experience. In addition to this targeted branding, SuperCasino stands out in terms of its movement into conventional media.
Specifically, SuperCasino deliver live interactive gaming across terrestrial TV channels. SuperCasino deliver a live roulette show nightly on Channel 5, one of only five terrestrial Channels in the UK. Games are pitched at relatively low stakes games – in contrast, for example to some poker sites which make a point of targeting bigger stakes. SuperCasino is clearly aimed at the recreational end of the market.
A reflection of this is their gently promoted series of slots games. Like their competitors, SuperCasino are keen to cross-sell users as an additional offer beyond their principal roulette offering. In this way the branding represents a strong initial positioning, with an immediately resonant first point of recall, but it sees maximum use made of each and every user visit. The nightmare scenario would be for roulette clients to leave the site in search of an alternative gaming experience.
SuperCasino’s offering represents an interesting balance in terms of marrying a focal brand identity with a catch-all supermarket-style approach. Such a dual offering is evident elsewhere – e.g., in the poker providers already mentioned. This suggests that for all the brand investment, the industry is still far from a settled environment.
The hybridization of sports betting providers – for example – into the casino market suggests a kind of gold-rush is taking place. It almost seems as though everyone is after as much of every piece of every market they can find. Even Sega and Sky TV have experimented with online casinos in recent years. That is clearly not the most evolved marketing strategy.
A more singular, focused and targeted delivery, such as that presented by SuperCasino, looks to be a more viable long-term bet. It is hardly a new strategy, but being master of one trade – rather than a’ jack’ of them all – looks like the one sure-fire way of being able to stand out from the crowd.