SBC News Martyn Hannah: Payment options count when acquiring players at scale

Martyn Hannah: Payment options count when acquiring players at scale

Martyn Hannah, MD of online casino comparison site, Comparasino, says that punters and players are searching for new brands based on the payment options in the cashier and the speed at which payouts are processed 

Bonuses. They have long been used by online casino and sportsbook operators to drive customer acquisition. This is because bonusing is effective. Players and punters are always looking for incentives to sign up for a new casino or sportsbook, and the bigger the promo, the more likely they are to switch allegiances and try a brand for the first time. 

The problem is that once the bonus has been used up – and it really doesn’t take long to blast through 20 free spins or spend £10 in free bets – the incentive to stick with that operator is no longer in there. The online casino or sportsbook must stand on its own, offering a compelling experience that players want to come back to – and won’t be swayed to leave for a rival’s first deposit bonus. 

Operators go to great lengths to offer the best possible player experience, whether that be launching exciting features such as live streams with data insights, intuitive bet builders or personal content recommendations for games and markets/odds. But one area where operators can do more is payments – a key consideration for consumers when deciding where to wager and play. 

This applies to both online sports betting and online casino – at Comparasino, our payments pages attract the highest volume of traffic and ultimately deliver the highest quality of players to our partners. Those who choose a brand because it offers the payment method they are seeking are far less likely to be bonus hunters. 

 What payment methods are an absolute must? 

Debit cards still dominate but we are seeing increasing demand for digital wallets such as PayPal, AstroPay, NeoSurf and MuchBetter, as well as mobile wallets like Apple Pay. These methods offer the near-instant deposits and withdrawals that players expect, as well as a level of anonymity and security they don’t get with debit cards. 

In addition to offering a wide range of alternative payment options, operators must provide fast withdrawals. Online sportsbooks and casinos are quick to take a player’s money but then expect them to wait several days to receive their payouts. This is not good enough and can really damage the trust the player has in the brand, making them more susceptible to a rival’s bonus offer. 

Providing instant withdrawals can be easier said than done. This is why digital wallets have long been popular with players. Because the withdrawal is sent from the casino directly to the digital wallet, it doesn’t have to be cleared by the bank which is what usually causes the delay in the player getting their winnings. 

But the emergence of open banking and payment companies such as TrueLayer, Vyne and the Ryan Reynolds-backed Nuvei – which was recently acquired by private equity firm Advent International for $6.4bn – now offer the solutions online casino and sportsbook operators need to deliver instant withdrawals. 

The power of payments when it comes to acquisition and retention is being overlooked by operators. There are tens of thousands of bettors and players each month searching for sportsbooks and casinos based on the payment methods available in the cashier, and the speed at which payouts are processed. 

These are players who like to receive a welcome offer, but it’s not the driving force behind their decision to sign up for a brand or not. Instead, they are looking to see if their preferred payment option is available – if it is, they are highly likely to sign up, play and (so long as the overall experience is good) stay.  

Bonusing has long been a race to the bottom and as operators struggle to achieve sustainable profitability amid increasingly stringent regulations (and tighter margins as a result) the finishing line is in sight. 

Certainly in the casino vertical, the value of the bonuses being offered has been dropping in recent years – now, the vast majority of brands offer 100% up to £100 plus a handful of free spins. This means operators are having to look for different ways to differentiate and for me, one of the most effective for both acquisition and retention is offering a great selection of alternative payment options and instant payouts. 

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