From our advertiser: Bojoko
Joonas Karhu, Chief Business Officer at Bojoko, takes a closer look at the worlds of esports and online casino to see if cross-sell opportunities exist between the two.
As the esports and esports betting sectors continue to grow at pace, online casino operators are looking to get in on the action themselves.
However, when it comes to engaging this audience, esports is vastly different to online casino in terms of demographics and what fans seek in an entertainment product.
The good news is that there are cross-sell opportunities between esports and online casino, but to leverage these operators must really get to know the esports audience.
What the average esports fan looks like
More than 400m people watched esports last year, so it goes without saying that the global esports fanbase is as broad as it is diverse.
That being said, there are groups of demographics that are more engaged with esports and esports betting than others, and operators should start becoming familiar with that audience.
Take the US as a case study; 16m of the 26m viewers were classed as adults. Worldwide, 225mof the 435m individuals tuning in can be categorised in the same group.
Separate statistics reveal that 38 percent of people who watch esports are aged between 18 and 24. This is the highest percentage for any age group; second on the list is 34-54 years at 26 percent.
In terms of gender, most esports viewers are male.
As you can see, the majority of esports fans are above the legal gambling age in markets such as the UK and the US, which is good news for online casino operators looking to engage and cross-sell.
Esports Fans Are an Excellent Market for Online Casinos
ust because the majority of esports viewers are old enough to enjoy online casino does not mean that they will want to start playing slots and table games.
Equally, it does not mean that online casino players of a similar age will want to pause playing slots for a while to wager on the latest Counter Strike: Global Offensive tournament.
Indeed, at first glance it would seem that esports and online casino have very little in common in terms of the games themselves.
Whenever we talk about esports and cross-selling, the conversation focuses typically on sports betting. Look a little deeper, though, and this cross-sell exists within casino too.
Skill plays a crucial role in esports betting, as it does in table games like blackjack and poker. Then there is the element of luck; this applies to both games of chance and games of skill.
In addition, both esports and online casino are fast paced. No two games are the same, regardless of how many times you play an individual title or bet on a particular event.
Perhaps the most apparent similarity between esports and online casino gaming is the rise of branded slots based on popular video games, including Tomb Raider and Call of Duty.
Developers of these titles have clearly identified a strong link between the worlds of video games and online casino and that should give operators further confidence in the cross-sell opportunities that exist between the two.
How online casino can engage esports fans
To engage esports fans, online casino operators need to think like them.
Some of the most popular esports games include League of Legends, Dota 2, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, with each requiring a high level of skill to master.
When expanding their content offering to appeal to esports fans, operators should consider adding casino games that require a similar level of skill.
While this has traditionally meant table games like blackjack and poker, a small number of developers like Spribe and Green Jade Games offer skill-based arcade games and crash games’.
These titles combine elements of video and mobile games with slots; they require a level of skill but chance also plays its part. Of course, players can also wager and win real money.
Besides broadening the games operator’s offer, online casinos will have to tweak marketing activities to ensure that a presence is created on channels and platforms where esports fans are present.
This could include incorporating video into marketing plans. For example, research suggests that fans watch over 100m hours’ of esports action on Twitch each month.
Twitch is also popular with gaming YouTubers, so the potential to market a casino brand there is huge. Operators could even set up a channel on Twitch to engage with fans and cross-promote it on YouTube.
Another way to build an audience with esports fans is through sponsorships.
While not an operator, Paysafecard has built a loyal fanbase by sponsoring some of the world’s most significant leagues and a number of teams.
Sponsoring leagues, tournaments, teams and players will undoubtedly help operators build brand equity among esports fans and esports bettors.
How to prepare your casino for esports fans
The esports industry is very much at the cutting edge of technology so if operators are to engage fans and drive them to online casinos, it is important to offer a modern user experience.
This not only covers the design and layout of the casino – it goes without saying that a mobile first-approach must have been taken – but also things like ID verification and payments.
Using payments as an example, operators must offer a wide range of options but especially alternative payment solutions like PayPal, Apple Pay, Revolut, etc.
Making a deposit/withdrawal must be seamless – players will want to do so in no more than a few clicks and they expect near instant transaction times.
Operators must also consider the incentives and bonuses offered to esports fans; no deposit free spins will allow them to try a casino without having to use their own cash, but no wagering bonuses will likely help build trust. Here you can explore and benchmark other casinos on Bojoko that offer a no deposit bonus.
Opportunities exist but it is not an easy win
On the surface, esports and online casino may seem worlds apart.
But if you look more closely, you’ll find a hidden world of opportunities. Esports fans like fast-paced, skill-based games – both of which online casinos can offer.
Attracting esports players takes some thinking outside the box. But if operators can offer a modern, seamless experience where entertainment is the focus, these two worlds can be brought together.