Part 2 : Leading by example : How European land-based operators have engaged with igaming Building an omnichannel future for European casinos
“ It ’ s a business unit with a separate channel manager , and we have the land-based industry . I ’ d say that pretty much describes the situation at the moment , especially the prepandemic situation .”
The separation of the business units is compounded by the ‘ licence plus ’ system , which is in operation in countries such as Switzerland .
This allows casinos to obtain an online licence should they choose to apply for one , further cementing an online gaming offering as distinct from an existing casino business .
The licence plus system , similar to the tethering requirements prevalent across US states , prompts casinos to find a partner in the online gaming industry and adapt their games for a particular market , rather than extending their land-based experience to the web .
“ The land-based casino industry has a big interest in the future to be allowed to engage with existing customer bases in the field of online gaming , but that ’ s a long-term development ,” Pamminger says .
“[ It needs ] a change of gaming law . There must be a way that land-based casinos can extend their offers into the online world – especially with their existing customer base .
“ A good thing for the customer would be if they had an online gaming product related to the casino they know . They know who we are , they know where we live , they can come to us with any problems , we are directly
“ The ones that took the risk like Bwin just did it , came to the market and established their product . Now we ’ ve seen many years of online gaming . But the land-based industry is only now getting involved in this business ”
HERMANN PAMMINGER , EUROPEAN CASINO ASSOCIATION
approachable . We will see what we can do and what the developments might be , and try and integrate more with the online gaming world .”
LAND-BASED INDUSTRY AT A DISADVANTAGE
Pamminger adds that amid the Covid-19 shutdown “ online gaming websites were winners ”.
“ This showed the land-based industry that they had to think about it . We want to be more sustainable and we also saw that our guests , who we value highly , were seeking alternatives for their gaming habit ,” he explains .
“ They made the step during the pandemic to engage in online gaming and maybe for some operators that have a land-based site and an online site , it may make absolute sense to make their land-based guests sign up with their online gaming website to make sure they don ’ t look to a different brand on the internet .”
The ongoing global pandemic has played a major part in the clamour for online gaming services , with customers having no choice but to turn to the digital version from home .
However , it could be argued that land-based casinos may be at a disadvantage when compared to strictly online casinos that have had a head start in the market .
Such a weakness could become a strength , however , as there ’ s already plenty of existing framework of how to run a successful online casino . Diligent brick-and-mortar operators have the opportunity to take note of what works well and tailor the framework to their specific situation .
“ The fact that we are not digital natives is a disadvantage , but you can see there ’ s an advantage as well : when you haven ’ t done it for a long period of time you have to listen to specialists and what the customer expectations are ,” Lassiaz says .
“ That ’ s exactly what we do because we don ’ t know it . We are on a learning curve – we are still listening a lot but of course it will not give us the experience of the player . We are gaining some time because we are learning from other people , including pure players ’ mistakes . We ’ re starting at a disadvantage but the fact is we are learning fast from other people ’ s experience .”
Building an omnichannel future for European casinos