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[UPDATE 2]: COVID-19 and Online Gaming: How Much Are All These New Casino Players Worth?

We saw dramatic declines, then some compensating spikes. Now we are looking underneath the trends. And there are very specific action items at the end

Since the coronavirus pandemic started to dramatically affect the daily lives of billions, we at Optimove have been keeping a very close look at the quickly shifting trends in consumer and player behavior.

When we say “player,” we obviously talk about the online gaming industry – a segment we touch heavily. Find previous coronavirus related online gaming analysis here:

And here comes the third part of this ad hoc ongoing series.

The base point is well known – all major sporting events have been canceled or postponed around the world. With minimal options to bet on, the number of sports bettors dropped dramatically.

At the same time, the number of casino players increased as well as the number of players in other products like poker, virtual sport, and bingo.

This increase in the number of players includes reactivated players, players who crossed from other products (like sport), and new players.

Which begged the question – are those new/crossed/reactivated players as valuable as “normal” new players acquired in “normal” periods?

Now that some time has gone by, we have enough data to try and answer it. Today, we will focus on casino new players only.

In sports, we know that big events such as the World Cup in football, bring large volumes of new players. We also know that these new players are relatively less valuable than “normal times” new players in Lifetime Value perspective. Is this trend valid for the new casino players of the pandemic period, too?

New Casino Players 

In the analysis below, based on different multi-product gaming operators in Europe in the past weeks, we can see an increase in the number of unique new depositors who played only casino, compared to the period average:

Month over month, from February to March, the number of unique new depositors who played casino has increased by a whopping 64%.

New Casino Players Monetary Values

In order to answer the question if those new players are more or less valuable, we compared their behavior week-by-week, starting mid-February (we marked March 8-14 as the start COVID-19’s period.)

From the chart below, we can see that new players from the earlier period have a lower average weekly deposit amount compared to new players in the more recent period.

The weekly deposit amount is 15% higher on average after entering the COVID-19’s period. Additionally, the average weekly number of deposits per player is 11% higher. The Average total casino bet amount per player has increased week-to-week since mid-March; on average, is it higher by 14%.

Another KPI is the casino net revenue. Although there isn’t a steady rising trend, the weekly net revenue from new casino players is higher by 20% on the COVID-19 period.

New Retention Rate

The trend below shows the chance of customers who made the first deposit in a certain week to remain active the week after. In the last 3 weeks, the new retention rate is higher compared to the weeks before.

Across the board, we see how casino players who started to play after the COVID-19 outbreak are more valuable compared to new players from weeks before.

It is important to mention, though, that these “pandemic times” new players are probably still stuck at home. We will likely have to measure it again when things are back to normal.

Marketing Recommendations

It seems that this period not only brought with it a larger volume of new players, but those players are currently more valuable than new players in the previous period.

This is unlike the large volumes of new players that are drawn to sports products during big sporting events. Those new players, as we mentioned before, have a lower retention rate, deposit amount, and revenue.

Again, we’ll have to wait for standard times to see the more prolonged effect. But for now, the trend is clear.

  • In the short-range, gaming operators should first analyze the difference between their new casino players, then build an automatic marketing plan that includes raising their brand awareness, introduce those players with a variety of games within the casino, or cross-sell them to other products like poker, bingo and virtual sport.
    Remember, best practices show that players with multi-product preferences have a higher retention rate. You should expose those players to different promotions across your brand.
  • In the long term, operators can use this time to prepare and improve their marketing plan for churn customers. Maybe players at risk of churn joining this period need to get more bonuses in order to retain them? When sport events renew, perhaps you should try to encourage those players to bet on sport.

Stay tuned for future analysis, and in the meantime, check out our vast Marketing Amid Corona coverage:

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