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The mobility of loyalty: how can sector translate igaming boom into higher loyalty?

| By Joanne Christie | Reading Time: 3 minutes
The online gaming industry is booming, so why does player loyalty remain as elusive as ever for many operators? A recent GBG survey offers some clues.
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GBG's Peter Murray shares some insights from the ID and verification specialist's recently commissioned UK player survey, which highlighted some valuable potentially untapped opportunities for operators.

The online gaming industry is booming, but player loyalty remains as elusive as ever for many operators. We recently commissioned a survey of 1,000 UK adults in order to gain insight into their gambling habits, as well as to uncover the reasons behind their decisions to sign up and keep returning to their chosen sites.

The majority of those we surveyed were occasional gamblers (over 50%), a group who predominantly use laptop or desktop computers to place their bets (56%).

These players can be a nightmare loyalty-wise – after all, how do you engage with someone who only bets once or twice a year? The dream for any operator is to turn the huge numbers of occasional gamblers into loyal customers who play regularly, but how?

Convenience really is king
A reliance on laptops and desktops severely limits the potential location and frequency of play – often meaning that players can only do so when they’re in the house.

According to the UK Gambling Commission, the most popular place for online gambling is at home (97%), with only 10% of players doing so whilst they commute and 7% whilst at the pub.

According to our respondents, this restrictive reliance stems from the fact that they find it easier to navigate a site’s interface through these larger-screened mediums (42%).

For those who gamble regularly however, it’s a very different story – providing they do so for pleasure, that is. Recreational gamblers overwhelmingly prefer to use smartphones or tablets (75%), with only 29% expressing a penchant for laptops or desktops.

As you might guess, convenience was the main reason our respondents gave for using the devices. For strategic and professional gamblers on the other hand, there was once again a clear preference for desktops and laptops (50% and 67% respectively).

But seriously…
Those who take their bets more seriously it seems, be it for strategic reasons or due to sheer infrequency, prefer the comfortable interface of larger screens and full sites.

Those who do so for pleasure on the other hand, suggesting a more impulsive, or socially driven gambling style, seem more willing to take their chances with (let’s be honest!) clunky apps and mobile sites.

Recreational gamblers predominantly fall into the 24-34 age group, and are easily swayed by promotions. 39% would sign up to a site based on a promotion, and 49% agreed that highly personalised promotions encouraged them to bet more regularly.

The same was true for younger respondents — 40% of 18-24 year olds would also sign up to sites following promotions, and 46% would be swayed by personalisation. Despite having a clear preference towards smartphones and tablets (50%) however, the youngest age bracket were mostly comprised of occasional gamblers (51%).

Untapped audiences
Whilst it’s an age group that is less likely to have as much disposable income as the older groups, this discrepancy could also be due to the fact that younger players are far less forgiving of slow, poor customer experiences across all aspects of their day-to-day lives.

Having grown up with technology at their fingertips, far fewer will be willing to trudge on through baffling interfaces and convoluted navigation – a challenge that is by no means unique to the gaming sector.

This isn’t restricted to younger players. Across all age groups, players relying on laptops and desktops are a huge and largely untapped resource.

By creating smooth interfaces for players using mobile devices, be it by developing high quality mobile apps or through switching to simple, responsive site designs, operators could provide users with the ease of navigation that they clearly crave.

35% of all our respondents said that being required to enter as little information as possible would improve their sign-up experience, something that can be easily achieved through auto-fill form technology, as well as automatically populating card details or validating identity documents using a user’s smartphone camera

But with so many players being responsive to advertising, fixing these issues and creating detailed player profiles, personalised communications, and individualised offers could be what wins them over.

The importance of compliance
In doing so, operators need to ensure they take responsible gambling compliance seriously – research has shown that 18-24 year olds are most likely to become problem gamblers.

Implementing KYC checks at the point of sign-up, for example, could help to identify and protect underage and vulnerable players, as well as collecting valuable information about those who are eligible to play, from the moment they join – getting you, quite literally, ahead of the game.

Peter Murray is head of gaming at GBG. 

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