For many years the debate has raged on as to whether online casinos are harmful to land based casino’s business. In the US and in parts of Europe, this has been of particular concern given the number of brick and mortar casinos in existence.
However, a new study conducted by AlixPartners (a New York based research company) has found that online gambling is not detrimental to land based casino business but quite the opposite, it is actually beneficial to it. Instead of cannibalizing brick and mortar business, the study found that online punters could be an exceptionally profitable group for land based casinos to tap into.
The study was conducted in the US on 1301 adults representing a cross section of the population who were surveyed on numerous forms of gambling activities including playing the lottery, sports betting, race-track betting, visits to local and destination casinos as well as internet gambling.
After extensive data-mining of answers to surveys, the research findings indicated that what AlixPartners terms “Online Enthusiasts“, namely punters who gamble at both online and land based casinos, visit land based casinos almost as often as “Consistent Members” (punters with the highest casino visitation rates) do.
Furthermore, the results showed that the average “theoretical” (estimated average dollar worth of a player to a casino) could be 10% higher for the group termed “online enthusiasts” than for players who only visit land based casinos.
Insights from the study also revealed that the typical online casino player has an average daily gambling budget allocation that is 30% higher than “Destination Tourists” who have the second highest average daily gambling budget within the surveyed respondents.
The conclusions drawn by the study are that players categorized as “online enthusiasts” share the characteristics that land based casinos value, namely higher gambling budgets, higher average daily spends as well as more frequent visits to casinos.
The research also indicated that casinos could harness online gambling activities to their venues via loyalty points systems and programs to create a competitive advantage but in order to do this they will have to know which players to target and when.
All in all the evidence suggests that online gambling should be seen as an opportunity rather than a threat. While some land based casino brands have already begun to look into the online arena, and online casinos also offering land based games like WMS Slots online, we’re sure to see more of a cross over between the two great divides in future.