Player Retention in Online Gambling for 2024 and Beyond


15 minutes to read

Yaroslav Ulianov
Yaroslav Ulianov

Content manager with expertise in iGaming

The Journal of Business Research published a study by Bill Jolley titled “How Habit and Satisfaction Affect Player Retention for Online Gambling.” The study’s key findings suggest that habitual behavior predicts player retention more than satisfaction. Though increasing satisfaction has a minor impact, the strength of gambling habits significantly influences the relationship between satisfaction and retention.

What else makes your players come back for more? Let’s delve into the most effective player retention strategies for online gambling platforms in 2024. Joining us for this exploration are Ihor Sudak, the CRM Operation Team Lead, and Maksym Salnyk, the Head of CRM Operation.

The Role of Bonuses in Player Retention

In online gambling, bonuses were, are, and will be crucial in retaining users and providing an enriched gaming experience. They serve as an effective tool to attract new players by offering welcome bonuses and making the platform more accessible. 

Bonuses, such as free spins and extra funds, add value to the gaming experience and enhance player satisfaction. Reload bonuses and loyalty programs further encourage players to continue playing and commit to the platform for the long term. Personalized bonuses are tailored to individual preferences, while promotional bonuses introduce new games or features to keep the gaming experience fresh and exciting. 

Operators also use this mechanic to re-engage inactive players and encourage exploration of unique gaming aspects, creating a diverse and engaging environment for all players to enjoy.

After more than 20 years of operational experience, we have identified various types of bonuses:

🧲 Sport FreeBet is a bonus awarded to players after fulfilling certain conditions, such as making deposits or placing bets. This is a sum of money that can only be used for betting, and if the player wins, they will only receive the winning amount minus the original bet amount. For instance, if a player receives a free bet of $10 and places a bet with odds of 1.8, they will only receive $8 if they win.

🧲 A Sports Bonus is a type of bonus that players can receive as a percentage of the deposit made or as a fixed amount.

🧲 Casino Bonus is a bonus that players can receive as a percentage of the amount they deposit for playing slots or live casinos.

🧲 Casino FreeBet (FreeSpins) is a type of bonus where the player gets to spin slots or play instant games for free, and any winnings will be credited to their account.

🧲 Cashback is a type of bonus where a percentage of winnings, losses, and bets or deposits made is returned to the bonus account.

🧲 Bet Insurance is a type of bonus where we return a certain percentage of the lost bet back to the bonus account.

Bonus types available on GR8 Tech’s platform
Bonus types available on GR8 Tech’s platform
Bonus types available on GR8 Tech’s platform
Bonus types available on GR8 Tech’s platform
Bonus types available on GR8 Tech’s platform
Bonus types available on GR8 Tech’s platform

Offering increased bonuses when launching a new brand can help build a loyal audience, but it comes with higher costs. Smaller bonuses can still be offered if the budget is limited, but it may take longer to establish a loyal core audience.

Maksym Salnyk, the Head of CRM Operation
Maksym Salnyk, the Head of CRM Operation

Tailoring Player Experiences with Segmentation

Segmentation is a fundamental strategy for online gambling operators to retain players. It involves grouping players based on their unique characteristics, enabling operators to offer each group tailored marketing, communication, and gaming experiences. Segmentation allows operators to create loyalty programs that cater to different player motivations and preferences, analyze player behavior patterns, and intervene with customized solutions to improve customer retention

Furthermore, it helps operators allocate resources effectively and develop products and game offerings that cater to diverse player bases. With effective segmentation, operators can enhance the player experience, increasing satisfaction, loyalty, and lifetime value.

Having a more detailed and accurate segmentation of your players is crucial to improving your overall performance. At GR8 Tech, we developed our advanced system to easily spot differences in player behavior and use this knowledge to create more precise segmentation. GR8 CRM allows operators to communicate with players in a more personalized and effective way, leading to higher retention and conversion rates.

The more precise your player segmentation, the better.
The more precise your player segmentation, the better.

Previously, personalized experiences were made only for VIP players due to the high resource consumption involved. However, this is set to change with the development of AI technologies. We are currently working on an AI system that analyzes a player's behavior and selects the most suitable bonus offer for them. This technology will automatically set up the process and deliver relevant, personalized bonuses to each player.

Maksym Salnyk, the Head of CRM Operation
Maksym Salnyk, the Head of CRM Operation

Our team is working on a machine learning model that will analyze and determine the most effective time to send notifications to engaged users. This model aims to maximize the impact of the notifications by ensuring that they are delivered when the user is most likely to engage with the notification.

Ihor Sudak, the CRM Operation Team Lead
Ihor Sudak, the CRM Operation Team Lead

💡 Find out six more practical ways of AI in iGaming with real examples: AI in iGaming: A Look into Machine Learning and Personalized Gaming Experiences

The Power of Gamification

According to various estimates, incorporating gamification elements can generate up to 15% of additional revenue. This approach uses game-like elements in non-game contexts, like online gambling platforms, to enhance user engagement and enjoyment. Here are gamification mechanics that we will continue to operate in 2024 to improve player retention:

  • Daily Quests: Completing quests adds excitement to the gaming experience and impacts their position on the standings or leaderboard.
  • Tournaments: Participants who clinch top positions are rewarded with prizes, adding an extra layer of achievement and satisfaction to their gaming experience.
  • Loot boxes: The element of randomness adds an extra layer of excitement, making the reward acquisition experience dynamic and engaging.
  • Stickers: Stickers are visual symbols of achievements that players can earn for completing specific tasks.
  • Avatars: Avatars allow players to create a unique identity, adding immersion, interactivity, and making the gaming experience more enjoyable.
  • Achievements: Players can earn achievements for completing specific conditions in bonus campaigns, and they are rewarded with a choice of prizes, including bonuses and Free bets.
Time-proven gamification features on GR8 Tech’s platform
You can boost customer retention with stickers
Existing customers like to choose avatars
Quests also work for customer acquisition
You can win customer loyalty with achievements
Tournaments can help in retaining new customers

Our client launched a tournament where players can participate and complete daily quests to earn points. These points are then tallied on an overall tournament table, creating a competitive edge environment that motivates players to take on more challenges. This mechanism has proven to be highly successful in driving up the client's sportsbook and casino turnover, as well as increasing the number of deposits and their amounts. 

Ihor Sudak, the CRM Operation Team Lead
Ihor Sudak, the CRM Operation Team Lead

Ensuring Smooth Transactions

Research on how payments are vital for iGaming player acquisition and retention y Paysafe research says that the payment experience, specifically quick and easy payouts, is a top priority for online sports bettors when choosing a sportsbook. This factor is even more crucial than brand trust, odds, promotions, and the availability of preferred payment methods. 

A smooth, secure, and convenient payment process builds trust and encourages continued engagement. Fast transactions, low fees, effective support, localized payment options, compliance, and flexibility in payment limits also enhance player satisfaction and loyalty.

If you experience difficulties with the payment systems, implementing bonus mechanics won't help improve your player retention rates.

Maksym Salnyk, the Head of CRM Operation
Maksym Salnyk, the Head of CRM Operation

Building Trust and Credibility Through Customer Support

A well-organized and helpful support system builds trust and credibility with the players and promptly and efficiently resolves any issues they might face. Furthermore, support gathers feedback from the players, which can be used to improve the platform's offerings. 

For player retention, efficient and helpful support builds trust and credibility, resolves issues, enhances player experience, provides personalized interaction, promotes responsible gaming, receives feedback, differentiates the platform, and shows language and cultural sensitivity.

For player retention, it is crucial to have a deep understanding of their habits. For instance, if a player only places bets towards the end of the month, any bonus mechanics or offers you may introduce will be less effective since the habit they have formed is stronger than any new offers with your product.

Maksym Salnyk, the Head of CRM Operation
Maksym Salnyk, the Head of CRM Operation

In 2024, we can expect to see an increasing use of AI chatbots. These chatbots have several advantages, including providing round-the-clock support, delivering prompt responses, handling many inquiries, being cost-effective, offering personalized assistance, catering to different languages and accessibility needs, collecting and analyzing data, and integrating easily with other systems for retention purposes. These factors make AI chatbots a valuable addition to improving player retention.

Responsibility as a Key to Sustainable Online Gambling Business

Creating a safe gaming environment is crucial for operators to prioritize player well-being and ensure a positive gaming experience. This helps mitigate the risk of problem gambling and encourages most players to return to the platform. Responsible gaming also helps build trust between the operator and players, essential for long-term retention and attracting new users. 

Adherence to responsible gaming practices is often a regulatory requirement, and operators who comply with these regulations avoid penalties and demonstrate their commitment to ethical operations. By promoting responsible gaming, operators encourage healthier gaming habits and more sustainable long-term engagement, leading to less gambling-related harm and disengagement.

Examples of effective responsible gaming policies and tools include:

  • Deposit Limits: Allowing players to set limits on how much they can deposit over a given period (daily, weekly, monthly) helps them manage their spending and prevents impulsive and potentially harmful gambling behavior.
  • Time Limits/Alerts: Tools that track the time spent on a gaming site and alert players when they exceed a pre-set limit can help manage gaming sessions and prevent excessive gambling.
  • Self-Exclusion Programs: These programs enable players to voluntarily exclude themselves from a gaming site for a specified period. This tool is crucial for players who recognize they need a break from gambling.
  • Reality Checks: Regular notifications or pop-ups informing players of the time and money spent on a platform can provide a reality check, helping them maintain awareness of their gaming habits.
  • Age Verification and Anti-Underage Gambling Measures: Strict age verification processes prevent underage gambling.

As a part of our services for clients, we can disable promotional communications directed towards players during their self-exclusion period. This ensures that players who are taking a break from gambling are not subjected to any marketing messages that could potentially hinder their recovery.

Ihor Sudak, the CRM Operation Team Lead
Ihor Sudak, the CRM Operation Team Lead

The Finish Line

Many trends from 2023 continue in 2024. Mastering player retention still needs a multifaceted approach with leveraging bonuses, precise player segmentation, gamification tools, a smooth payment experience, and reliable support. What can change dramatically is the use of machine learning to help with personalized and efficient retention strategies: chatbots, notifications, recommendations, predictive analytics, and more.

Seeking how to keep players interested?

Look no further! Our team is experienced in implementing effective user retention strategies to keep your players hooked and coming back for more.

Contact the GR8 team
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