Big data in iGaming

Vadim Potapenko's professional career in gambling began more than 7 years ago. He started as an expert in traffic growth for world poker rooms, and now he is Head of the Sales Department at Slotegrator. Potapenko's portfolio includes a number of projects, and his area of expertise is working in markets such as the CIS, Georgia, Europe, and Africa.

Reading time 5:33 min

Slotegrator's Head of Sales shares insights on the importance of 'big data', what it is, and why it is crucial in nearly every industry. He further explains that harnessing the power of big data can vastly improve operators' efficiency, and how Slotegrator contributes to this. Using data to combat fraud, fighting problem gambling, and data-driven KPI’s, among the key focus points.

As with betting, running an online sportsbook or casino is a numbers game. Sifting through the deluge of data will yield some golden information if you know what you’re looking for (and why). 

By now, big data plays a role in virtually every industry on earth. Businesses have to handle incoming information in speed and amounts that were unimaginable just a few decades ago.

The term “big data” is defined by three main characteristics (and maybe more, depending on who you ask). 

  • Volume: The total amount of data in the world is now measured in zettabytes, or 1021 bytes. Trying to type out the full number will probably break the “0” on your keyboard.
  • Variety: Traditional, structured, numerical data is the first thing we think of, but now what we call data comes in all kinds of formats, like video files, emails, and ID documents.
  • Velocity: The bigger the brand, the more data it has to handle — and the faster that data comes in. Handling the data in real time is as important as it is difficult.

In short, living in the age of big data means there’s a lot more to process than a few columns in a spreadsheet can handle. Like any other industry, there’s a lot that big data can do for an online casino if it’s handled properly. 

Combing through fields of data can help spot deficiencies, identify your strengths, and make plans for future growth. We’ll take a look at some key areas where proper big data management can make a massive difference for online casinos and sportsbooks.

Harness big data for personalization

Personalization is more than just a buzzword. It’s a marketing must.

Blasting all newcomers with the same bonus offer might encourage them to make their first deposit, but to convert visitors into long-term depositing players, personalized, event-triggered marketing has become the norm. 

Today’s players aren’t impressed by one-size-fits-all offers. They expect to be treated like the valuable customers they are. Giving players a taste of the VIP life has become one of the keys to retention, but before you can do that, you have to get to know them. Luckily, like a good guest, they tell you a little bit more about themselves every time they visit. Tracking their activity tells you what they like, which can in turn indicate other verticals they might be interested in.

Right off the bat, operators need software to store users’ personal information. Segmenting users by age, gender, location, and device is the first step towards giving them a tailored experience. Tracking player behavior over time will build individual profiles and indicate what special offers they might appreciate. 

This is where real-time marketing comes in. Tracking player behavior and preferences can enable casinos to customize a player’s homepage. If they love blackjack, then the first thing that greets them when they sign in should be every variety of blackjack you offer (hopefully including a live-dealer version). The same goes for slot players, cricket bettors, and punters with a passion for football. 

Tracking patterns of player behavior on your platform can indicate when they’re most likely to churn. Obviously, this doesn’t tell you when to say goodbye; it tells you the perfect time to ramp up your efforts to convince them to stay. 

Sports bettors eyeing the door can get free-bet bonuses to show them that the grass isn’t greener somewhere else. Casino players in the middle of a losing streak can get a deposit bonus to keep their spirits up.

And real-time marketing can also help with cross-selling, planning the perfect time to offer a free bet in a vertical they haven’t tried yet. Sports bettors, for instance, might be nudged to try betting on virtual sports. Casino gamers who love roulette might get a few free spins of a live dealer version. 

With effective tools and analysis, data-driven marketing can dramatically increase player retention. Online casinos commonly use Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems to track player data and make tailored, event-triggered offers to keep players coming back.

Using data to combat fraud

Unfortunately, online casinos and sportsbooks are often targets for fraud.

The welcome bonuses that operators offer to get players started on the right foot can be exploited. Some players go from platform to platform, accepting the bonus and playing just enough to satisfy rollover requirements. Then they withdraw the money and head to their next mark.

Simple bonus abuse is bad enough — and hard enough to prevent — but things can get much more complicated. VPNs and multiple false identities can be used by individuals and organizations to commit fraud on a wider scale. 

Prohibiting the same IP address from having multiple accounts is standard procedure. However, in the face of such advanced methods, analyzing player behavior to determine betting patterns linked to bonus abuse is necessary. 

Fighting problem gambling

Player protection is key for the industry’s reputation. 

Players who are worried that they might be developing a problem can use these programs to exclude themselves from all platforms in their jurisdiction. However, they might sometimes try to open a new account before their self-exclusion period is over. 

Data management can automatically refuse players who are registered with a self-exclusion database. Casinos operating in regulated jurisdictions are often required to participate in the self-exclusion program.

Data analysis can also handle problem gambling preemptively. Certain behaviors are linked to problem gambling, and looking out for them can help stop a problem before it starts. You can set up a system to generate alerts if a player starts chasing their losses of playing for long periods of time during the night, both of which are commonly associated with problem gambling. 

Data-driven KPI’s

While the final measure of a business’s performance is the bottom line of its balance sheet, there are plenty of more detailed metrics to analyze. 

There are a few well-known metrics in the iGaming industry:

  • Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR): Player wagers minus player winnings.
  • Net Gaming Revenue (NGR): Player wagers minus winnings, bonuses, chargebacks, and taxes.
  • Average Revenue Per User (ARPU): Casino revenue in a given time period divided by the number of users in that same time period.
  • First-time Depositors (FTDs): The number of new users who were converted into players
  • Churn Rate: The percentage of players who stopped visiting the casino in a given period of time.

These (and a few others) are often taken as a snapshot of how the casino is performing. However, they paint a more telling picture when you compare them to each other. To begin with, comparing GGR to NGR will enable you to track your margins.

Some amount of churn is inevitable; casino players can be fickle. If your welcome bonus got them in the door, a competitor’s offer might tempt them back out again. However, if your churn rate keeps growing while your FTDs stay the same or dwindle, it’s time to rethink your acquisition and retention efforts. 

Everyone loves tracking GGR as it rockets upwards. But if GGR is going up and up while ARPU stays the same or decreases, it could indicate that you’ll need to maintain the same number of conversions in order to keep the same rate of growth. If you can’t increase your conversion rate, then you need to think of ways to encourage user spending if you want to keep growing.

Manage your data with our Turnkey solution

The CRM systems mentioned earlier are the foundation of proper data management for online casinos. Effective automated systems are essential for segmenting users, personalizing the player experience, combating fraud and problem gambling, and making informed decisions about what direction to take your business in. 

Slotegrator’s Turnkey Casino solution is a ready-to-go platform that runs under the operator’s license, with a customizable frontend and thousands of games. The platform’s CRM system comes with reporting tools that track, segment, and analyze users. Our White Label solution, for experienced operators, is similar but run under our own license.

Get in touch with us for a free consultation to find out which of our solutions is right for your business goals. 

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