Tribal Gaming in the US is currently at a crossroad between making the decision to remain as a purely land-based operation or taking a step into the online gaming space and embracing the omnichannel approach. David Elmore, our Vice President of Sales in the US, has extensive knowledge and experience of the Tribal and US market after 14 years within the gaming industry. Last week we caught up with him to share his advice on important aspects for any tribal operators considering embracing the digital space.
At GiG, we believe that in order to keep up with the gaming industry’s supply and demand it is crucial for land-based operators to embrace digital transformation and the online space. During the pandemic, Covid essentially forced the majority of players to go online to play while most land-based entities were closed. As the world has returned to the new normal and we are starting to see most land-based operations reopen again, they are now faced with the issue of how to continue to captivate their audience in the same way as they did before. Essentially in order to maintain their business, and retain their customer base who have experienced the flexibility of online gaming, operators are faced with the challenge of taking the steps of moving online to allow their players to be in charge of when they play, and where they play.
Ultimately, improving your players’ experience through an omnichannel solution allows your players to access both land-based and online gaming, providing them with more control to choose where they play.
To ensure a successful digital and omnichannel launch, David highlights that there are a few key factors tribal operators should consider when evaluating various platform providers.
“The most important question everyone should ask is if the product is GLI-33 certified. The importance of the GLI-33 certification lies in ensuring that the gambling software is safe both from an operational perspective as well as legally compliant before it goes live in new markets, and it’s considered a necessity in various states in the US.”
David goes on to explain that it is of the utmost importance to ask oneself what type of integrations are already in place with the particular software provider.
“I would be asking if the development is complete for various payment providers and other needed services. I also believe it is essential to consider the potential integrations for marketing and analytics, for example, and which delivery channels the product supports and what options are available.”
“Another question that operators should be asking is what the infrastructure cost is to run the platform and what type of training program and ongoing support is being offered? The integrations are an important aspect to consider to ensure that all systems are synchronised and work well together, to be able to provide data consistency and continuously increase productivity across all aspects of the operation.”
David points out that from a player perspective it is equally important to understand the possibilities for loyalty and bonus programs to provide a personalised gaming experience adapted to each player’s interests.
“As an operator you need to know if it is possible to link the sportsbook player database to the current in-house player loyalty platform for example, and which promotions and bonus programs should be available through the platform. This is essential in ensuring that you can action a personalised, cross-channel marketing campaign for both acquisition and retention. Additionally, it is equally important to consider that your platform looks after your players best interest.”
“Responsible gaming controls need to be in place to detect problematic player behaviour to ensure player safety and that you are able to build long-term sustainable customer relationships. At GiG, for example, we know that this can be nurtured through self-exclusion and automation tools which can detect such behaviour at an early stage, through using tools such as our responsible gaming features. We care about generating sustainable long-term player relationships through our responsible gaming features, ultimately allowing you to create a sustainable future for your business and your players.”
For Tribal operators who are looking to gather more information on both sportsbook and online gaming David recommends that the best course of action is to reach out to other tribes that have already gone through the process and dealt with the same growing pains.
“There is no need to reinvent the wheel. There are several tribes that have already encountered and overcome the same roadblocks and hurdles, so reach out to them and tap into that expertise. Another course of action is to reach out to the Office of General counsel at the NIGC. They have a wealth of knowledge and the OGC will also identify and discuss problematic contract provisions that need to be addressed. Just keep in mind that there should never be ‘standard tribal contracts’, if there is, this should be an immediate red flag.”
To take the step into the world of online gaming and make your business more accessible to your players, an omnichannel solution like GiG’s, allows you to complement your retail offering to give you a strong presence in both the online and offline world. Providing your players with a shared wallet, loyalty and dual registration features offers your players a tailored and seamless journey giving them the flexibility of playing both online and offline.
“I would like to add that these new technologies are changing the gaming landscape at breakneck speed, and everyone is already racing to catch up. You really need to consider getting on board because this new technology is one of the best ways to ensure you are bringing in a younger clientele to the properties and increasing your chances of thriving in this new and innovative gaming environment.”
Making the decision to take the leap into the online gaming space is never an easy decision, there are many factors to consider. The world of online can be a bit daunting at first, but one of the most important things to ensure is that you select a partner, not just a provider, one which will walk beside you for the entire journey from the initial concept to pre launch, launch and beyond. At GiG, we do believe that making the move to online is not only essential to keep up with your players’ new gaming habits of a personalised player experience, but also allows you to expand your customer base and take your business to its next stage of growth.
If you are a tribal land-based operator thinking about making a move online, but are not quite sure where to start, or how to overcome some key concerns that you have, reach out to our tribal expert David Elmore or book a meeting to meet him in person at NIGA 19-22 April in Anaheim, California at [email protected].
Anna Glowacki, Sales and Marketing Analyst