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Competition in the online gaming industry: A war taking place in the integrated context of offline and online environments

The competitive war in the online gaming industry is now taking place in the blurred context of the integrated offline and online environments. If you are somehow confused regarding the above statement, just consider the following example and you will realize that it is largely true.

Imagine a gambler in the Philippines, for example, who wants to play slots online but faces two important constraints: first, he wants to make a cash deposit on the account in the online casino and second he wants to make only a small deposit to open a new account. Now, he can find an online casino with 50 pesos minimum deposit, let’s say, and he can go in person to the land-based casino of the branded site and make the deposit in cash. This deposit will instantly fund his online account and he will be able to play on the casino’s website.

What we described above is a typical example demonstrating the importance of omnichannel operations in casinos – the brick-and-mortar, physical context is integrated with the online context and the gambler gets to have a seamless experience of the consumed service across the two channels of distribution: the land-based casino and the casino’s online site.

The gambler has the same experience regardless of the fact that he has had a typical service encounter at two different touchpoints. This was made possible, because there is integration of operations and ultimately the casino is able to offer a consistent service across these two (or even more if we consider also a casino app for example) touch-points.

Gamblers do really appreciate this kind of consistency and this kind of convenience. Because on the one hand, of course, it is really valuable to have the same experience every time and at every platform and on the other hand, it is also really convenient to be able to move across the various channels of distribution easily, quickly and without losing any bit of the experience.

It doesn’t really matter what they are looking for, as long as what is offered is consistent across the channels. Bonuses for example are expected to be given not only in the online environment but in the offline as well.

And when gamblers are appreciative of the value that they are presented with, then they get to be more loyal, which means more willing to play an extra casino game or more willing to repeat a game round. And this ultimately means more revenues for the casino itself. So, being able to have loyal customers is the first priority of every firm in the online gaming industry.

While online casinos have brought unparalleled benefits and advantages to gamblers, land-based, physical establishments are not forgotten. In fact, the kind of interaction and social relationship exchanges that occur within the confines of brick-and-mortar casinos cannot really be compensated with any of the pros of their online counterparts.

Gamblers want all the convenience and privacy that is offered by the online environment, but they also seek to experience the social interaction that is offered by the land-based context.

And so the matter of becoming a competitive and attractive brand becomes a matter of how well the brand can actually integrate and blend its two (or more) channels in a way that the customer doesn’t feel that he is in a different context -besides the benefits each context has to offer.

The competition, therefore, is not on whether an online casino offers more bonuses, has more breadth of popular casino games or other features, which can indeed be easily replicated by rivals.

The competition is on how well the casino manages its omnichannel operations and how well the offline and the online environments are synched and integrated, so that the customers have the same experience across the distribution channels.

The war has been transferred to the blurred context of the integrated offline and online environments. Now you probably understand exactly why this statement is largely true!

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