Industry in need of ‘Bonus Therapy’ ahead of Russia 2018  

As betting sign-up bonuses and bonus-led customer incentives have come under increased scrutiny from gambling regulators. How are operators adjusting to new demands on promotional transparency, and will bonuses be replaced as a customer acquisition/marketing tool?

Florian Guede Chief Marketing Officer of mybet states that bonuses have now become ‘a costly game of chicken, between operators and their customers’, which is simply unsustainable for the sector’s long-term future.

For Guede, the industry’s current context sees too many incumbents allocating resources to developing ‘effective bonus strategies’, fighting against competitors’ on sign-up incentives, bonus pricing and terms & conditions.

Eddie Bennet Managing Director of Boylesports shares Guede’s concerns relating to the subject matter of customer incentives. Bennet deems that player volumes brought by bonuses as a ‘vanity metric for industry incumbents’.

Leading Boylesports digital operations, Bennet has placed a greater emphasis on presenting ‘real market opportunities, to betting customers through insights, stats and content creation’.

On a positive note, Manuel Stan Marketing Director for Kindred Group details that bonus strategies can still be effective, but operators have to significantly refine user targeting segments with appropriate incentives.

Stan believes that too many industry stakeholders have used the bonus simply as a sign-up incentive, offering little value beyond a customer’s initial interaction.

At Kindred, Stan details that a greater emphasis has been placed on the value of second and third player deposits, before judging the success of a bonus-led campaign.

Stan warns that a dependency on bonus led promotions may stop betting stakeholders from asking fundamental questions about their services and customers, which in itself becomes a growth block.

Gearing up for World Cup 2018, the panel is asked whether ‘the bonus will still be an effective and relevant tool?’

Stan and Bennet, believe that the majority of established operators have significantly changed their acquisition-to-retention strategies away from wholesale bonus propositions. Both leaders hope to avoid ‘a race to the bottom on pricing and sign-up incentives’.

Guede states that World Cup planning should be focused on the development of retention frameworks combined with meaningful customer engagements, as the ‘World Cup will draw-in player volume regardless of any first-time incentives offered’.

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