At its most basic level, our industry is all about creating excitement. And there are few better ways to achieve this than by offering customers the chance to win a huge jackpot. Who doesn’t like to dream about winning a fortune? Operators know their players want to win big, but there are number of factors which make it tough to offer viable jackpots, with liquidity being the toughest to overcome.
There is a simple solution to this problem in the form of pooled jackpots, which share liquidity across a number of operators.
Yet many remain reluctant to take part in pooled jackpots, perhaps not keen to see a competitor grab the glory when one of its players takes down a prize pool their users had contributed to.
I’d say this is the wrong attitude to take. There are so many upsides to a quality jackpot slot that it is fast becoming a critical part of any strong online casino proposition.
First and foremost, progressive jackpots provide a huge marketing opportunity for operators. The draw of a life-changing prize has immense cross-cultural and crossborder appeal, as displayed by the global media frenzy surrounding January’s $1.6bn US Powerball draw.
Tapping into this appeal can provide major benefits across both acquisition and retention. Player activity on these slots tends to increase in correlation with the jackpot, as we’ve observed on our own progressive jackpot slot.
More than a jackpot
However, it is not enough to simply promise large jackpots and expect customers to flock to your slot. Who wants to play a game which doesn’t live up to the big prize across the board?
Historically, the slots which have offered the highest pay-outs have tended to also offer a poor user experience.
In the current competitive environment, where a slot is up against thousands of others fighting for the customer’s attention, a large jackpot must be paired with engaging gameplay.
This is important for two reasons. Firstly, a lousy user experience will turn off customers regardless of the big prize. As well as ‘aiming’ for the jackpot, games need to offer a user experience which includes a degree of instant gratification, or the player will soon lose interest.
Secondly, the rewards of combining a great game with a huge jackpot are exponential. An engaging slot which can boost retention and activity in its own right will also see the jackpot grow faster, attracting more activity and users. Creating that virtuous cycle with jackpots dropping regularly is will put a smile on any operators face.
Scale is very important. We only launched our slot once we were live with a number of operators, because otherwise we would have lacked the player pool required to sustain the growth of a large jackpot.
There are also significant technical challenges to overcome before a launch, not least ensuring consistency across different languages and currencies.
Rolling out a pooled jackpot into multiple markets can boost liquidity considerably, but only if the game is tailored and correctly marketed in each jurisdiction. Always remember to think locally.
While I believe there is a huge upside for operators who can offer a pooled, progressive jackpot slot, there are other approaches to the jackpot question too. Local jackpots, which guarantee a winner from the hosting site, are also growing in popularity.
The money at play in these slots tends not to reach the stratospheric levels of progressive jackpots, but they still offer a large, additional incentive alongside the
regular gameplay experience.
There is also an opportunity for operators to run promotional campaigns around local jackpot slots. We’ve run campaign tournaments around one of our local jackpot slots, where we seed the prize pool to offer a further incentive to play on top of the jackpot.
The appetite for lotto products across Europe and further afield is evidence that customers engage with large prizes in a unique manner.
This can help reach new types of players when built into a sound acquisition strategy.
And as long as a stimulating customer journey is included in the offer, the carrot of a large prize will have significant retention benefits as players chase the jackpot.
For all the huge steps the online casino has taken in recent years, there remains a huge opportunity to rediscover the almost primal appeal a large jackpot can have on customers.
If we tap into this appeal with a game which also ticks all the usual boxes in terms of UX and engagement, jackpots can take blockbuster slots to a new level.