By Rob Picard, Vice President of Business Development, Rush Street Interactive
Whether used for increasing brand awareness and loyalty, driving more frequent visits to your property, re-engaging lapsed patrons or converting players to real money, social casino is a powerful tool in your marketing arsenal. Rush Street Interactive has a long history of partnering with casinos, including our own affiliated Rivers properties, to realize the potential of social casino. Our approach to social casino was built with a land-based casino perspective and experience in mind, with the goal of leveraging a property’s own player database along with our proprietary online gaming platform and team expertise to engage, retain and monetize those players. During a time when people may be unable, or less willing, to visit a property in person, social casino serves as a great way to stay connected to, and engage with, players while they’re at home. From 2019 to 2020 alone, RSI saw 100 percent annual revenue growth from social casino revenues, in addition to the other player engagement benefits.
Social casino helps you acquire new players you may not have otherwise had access to
Your core casino brand’s ability to attract players, no matter how strong, may be limited by geography or people’s willingness to engage in real money gambling. Perhaps a player is too far to visit your property or is more comfortable playing for fun; whatever the reason, social casino is a way that you can attract players who may otherwise never engage with you. Social casino serves as an additional entry point and leads to a relationship with your brand that can be steadily cultivated. This pool of engaged patrons provides with you a steady, added revenue stream, and they may later become loyal property visitors and real money gamblers.
Social casino strengthens brand awareness and engagement from your existing database of players
Social casino helps keep your property and brand top of mind for players, whether they’re at home or on the go. With social casino, you can reach your players and enable them to play every day, from anywhere. This helps you retain players over time, strengthen their perception of your brand and build brand loyalty. The social casino experience that RSI can bring you mimics real money gambling, and offers the same casino games and sports betting content, so the players get to enjoy the excitement and authentic feel of gambling, even when they’re just playing for fun and entertainment. With an RSI partnership, you get a web-based social casino experience, meaning that it can be accessed from any web browser on any device, allowing for unlimited play that you may not be able to get with an app-based product. Surprising to some, we’ve learned that many land-based casino players don’t know how to use, or like using, mobile apps, so our web-based social casino works very well for them since they don’t need to download an app to play with us. Furthermore, you can link the social accounts to your property’s casino management system to allow more integrated relationship building, solidifying the relationship between the social and land-based programs.
In addition to providing an easy-to-access social casino experience, you can keep social players engaged through regular and unique promotional activities. We’ve found that things like player appreciation days, spin to win contests, progressive split pot contests, player-to-player chat parties on the site’s online chat room, and featured game days or special contests are great ways to keep players coming back to the site. For sportsbook4fun, free-to-play contests like NFL pick’em have proven successful at generating excitement and engagement from players.
RSI offers dedicated support to all of our social players, ensuring that every issue is handled promptly, a vital component to player retention over time. For our social casino sites, we employ a tiered VIP system, similar to what your loyal property players experience, that rewards and incentivizes higher value players with special offer codes, sales codes and other VIP benefits. By treating your high-value social players as VIPs, you further enhance their experience with your brand and offer the same white glove service they’d receive at your casino.
Social casino drives increased property visits
Through our partnerships with land-based casinos, we’ve seen that existing land-based casino players who register and play at our social sites subsequently increase the frequency of their visits to the property by over 20 percent. The social casino hasn’t cannibalized that business at all, in fact, this confirms the opposite. It’s increased engagement with these players that compliments the overall experience and kept them coming back to the property.
Social casino is a powerful cross-promotional opportunity for your property. Beyond increased visibility of the patron, you can run promotions with prizes that can be redeemed at your property. For example, at Rivers Casino Pittsburgh, they’ve found success with “Buffet Bingo” – a promotion that rewards the first place winner of an online bingo game with a coupon for a free buffet meal at the Rivers Casino Pittsburgh property. This drives those winners to visit the casino to redeem their free meal and then spend money at the property. We also enable casinos to offer free daily online wheel spins that award prizes that online players can only redeem by visiting your land-based casino. Similarly, some operators have included prizes in the online bonus store that are redeemable at your casino, encouraging social players to use their reward points for items that lead them to your property.
Lastly, you should also consider how social casino can act as a tool to convert casino for fun players to real money. As detailed above, RSI’s social casino player experience is highly reminiscent of a real money experience, with games from the same vendors as players encounter on the casino floor and even sports betting for fun; it’s even built on the same platform that we use for real money gambling. These realistic casino games, including streaming games with live dealers, and sportsbook4fun can educate players on real money gambling and get them feeling safe about playing in an online environment. In turn, this eases the transition of a social-only player to real money play. When they’re ready to participate in real money gambling at your property, or online where and when it’s legal, they’ll be ahead of the curve and easier to convert. Players will already be comfortable with the look and feel from playing on social, making it an easy, seamless switch.
Social gaming shouldn’t be an afterthought, but instead should be a key piece driving your player acquisition and retention strategy. Used correctly, and implemented with a high quality platform, social gaming will help bring new players to your casino brand and increase the loyalty and spend from your existing ones.