Zorica Smallwood, CEO at ESA Gaming, discusses how the return of sports has offered the iGaming industry a unique opportunity to cross-sell on a vast scale, and how lightweight mobile products can make the acquisition of new customers into a more smooth and streamlined process.
The iGaming industry is increasingly facing more and more challenges in unifying its different verticals. While sports betting and online casino have traditionally had little in common, the shutdown of global sports earlier this year emphasised the importance of cross-sell tools.
With sports now returning across the globe, from Champions League football to NBA basketball and everything in between, operators have the added challenge of trying to retain former sports bettors who converted to online casino when betting opportunities were limited.
This is where ESA Gaming has found its niche in the market. Armed with a passion for content development and an understanding of industry trends, we wanted to create a product that was different.
We were always conscious of not being just another game studio churning out numerous slot titles. This was partly due to market saturation, but also because it would place huge pressure on us to produce titles in large quantities, which might compromise our ability to innovate and stretch our resources.
We looked at where casino games were less prevalent as a result, and what sort of content would be best placed to capitalise on the casino vertical, because of the nature of the player or as a cross-marketing tool. That is how the idea of our EasySwipe™, lightweight HTML5 mobile-first game family was born.
This was an organic process which led us to conclude that our games should be valued at both ends. They need to be entertaining for the player, but they should also add something for the operator, and help tackle a challenge such as reducing the expense of cross-selling casino to sportsbook users.
Lightweight games, rather than being strictly defined by a set of rules, relate more to creating a smooth experience for players. Our games are designed to integrate seamlessly into the sportsbook, meaning the game needs to be fast-loading, simple in its gameplay, and offer a swift gaming experience.
This ensures that the sports-betting experience is not disrupted, whilst still allowing players to enjoy their favourite casino games, or try something new whilst continuing to bet on sports. So ‘lightweight’ to us means many things, including the technology, the graphics, the file sizes and the fast turnaround in terms of game rounds.
The mobile-first, fast-loading characteristics of swipe-in games means they can be a great boon for sportsbooks in countries where mobile internet is prevalent or slower internet speeds require lighter games. By creating titles which can be accessed by as many players as possible, there is an even greater opportunity for cross-sell.
For operators, the benefits are marked. In an era where retaining and attracting customers from ‘the other side’ of the casino/sports betting divide can be difficult and expensive, especially in countries with stringent bonusing restrictions, offering games which can sit between the two and offer ample cross-sell opportunity is vital.
We have seen that when our EasySwipe™ titles are used, bonusing offers required to convert customers are 40% lower compared with other casino games, helping operators control their spend in a highly competitive marketplace.
We have also observed that the games are often used to place smaller bets and in clearing account balances, therefore generating new deposits. This is coupled with the fact that 15% of monthly users of swipe in titles are unique to these games, creating entire new revenue streams for operators.
The challenges that face operators in the industry have never been more varied, from the Covid-enforced cancellation of sport to bonusing restrictions and increasing content demands. Conversely, however, there has also never been more opportunity. There are customers who have spent the last four months dabbling in online casino games and now, despite the return of sport, have an interest in being sold new products.
By creating titles that offer casino-esque gameplay to sit alongside sports betting, our EasySwipe™ titles add another weapon in an operator’s cross-sell arsenal. As mobile technology is enhanced, our lightweight, mobile-first titles will further allow the creation of more immersive titles and add greater value to operators across the globe.