Players will move more often if they are not getting what they expect in terms of offering and entertainment or simply if they wish to try something new

retention is harder now than ever. There are so many casino operators out there, all offering great incentives to sign-up which often results in players having accounts with multiple brands. Those behind each of those brands are working hard in an attempt to ensure the players either stay or come back. For me, players are more likely to move if they don’t find the quality of experience they expect. If you want to keep retention rates where you can ensure a solid ROI on acquired players then you must focus on ensuring excellent UI and UX for players. You need to ensure they can navigate your site with ease and find everything they need in terms of games, customised promotions, payment methods and the like. The goal should be to ensure they don’t find reasons to go and try another site. Obviously some players can be superstitious, or might just fancy a change and still decide to move elsewhere, and unless you’ve a massive marketing budget to get your brand in front of eyes, you stand a better chance of keeping top of mind by offering the better UI/UX than your rivals.

GIO: Compared to 5 to 10 years ago, how has player loyalty changed? RP: I remember starting to play casino games on a UK sportsbook quite a few years ago. There wasn’t the greatest of choices in terms of games or offers and the UI/UX was quite frankly terrible, including wallet transfers, games never working and user journeys that I’m pretty sure you couldn’t map out if you tried. However, I could still play a bit of blackjack or slots and to be honest I was happy enough and - more importantly - if I fancied playing casino, I played there. I remember then discovering a casino-only site that had a wider selection of better games, accompanied by a few simple promotions and this felt like a different world – which of course has now become my mainstay for gaming.

I think that type of trend has just accelerated, and players will move more often if they are not getting what they expect in terms of offering and entertainment or simply if they wish to try something new.

There are still loyal players out there, whether it be because they have KYC’d and don’t fancy a move or they have all their favourite games marked and enjoy your site. These are the players I like to ensure we treat well and keep happy where possible.

GIO: Has the industry become too reliant on free spins or traditional bonusing? RP: Yes, they are used a lot, and for sure I can see

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how it must appear we’ve become too reliant as they are often the main focus for marketing campaigns and plastered everywhere.

However, the fact is for players both old and new they are easy promotions to understand and often great tools for acquisition, retention and reactivation. I think what has given free spins or bonusing a bad name is that they sometimes come with excessive or, even worse, hidden wagering/conditions. This can be such a turn off for players and is something that hurts us all in the long run.

To be honest, if anything, the fact the industry does rely on these tools shows a lack of innovation in the area of player engagement. While we are starting to see some developments, this is an area I’d expect to see exciting progress as casinos strive to offer something new to help them stand out from the rest.

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