Starting an online casino might sound like a far-fetched dream, but it’s entirely within the realms of possibility. Whether you have vast knowledge about the iGaming industry or you’re just getting started, you have two options when stepping onto the market. The first one is becoming an iGaming casino operator, and the second one is opening an online casino affiliate.
Naturally, you’ll come across significant differences when choosing between these two options. The former requires much higher startup capital, while the latter is more affordable. However, the first option will probably be more profitable in the long run, whereas the second one requires some previous experience and skills.
Regardless of the option you select, putting in a lot of work, effort, and time is essential. Going into the iGaming business also means putting your target customer’s wants and needs first, keeping up with the latest developments and technologies, creating an engaging platform, and many other things necessary for a lucrative business.
So, if you’re ready to take the plunge, let’s see what it takes to start your online casino from scratch.
Select Professional Software Providers
Starting an online casino wouldn’t be possible without software providers since they’re the ones developing the games. That’s why you need to collaborate with top-tier providers who will help make your business more successful.
You should start by evaluating everything — from guarantees, certifications, privacy features, and technical support to pricing and gaming content. Some of the key things you should look for include:
- Gambling license
- Multiple gambling markets
- Large selection of casino games
- Platform access (desktop, mobile, etc.) from different devices
- Multiple languages
- Multiple currencies
- Multiple payment options
- Customizable front end and strong back end
- Competitive pricing
You can also take your pick from the providers who produce games themselves and those that feature other suppliers’ gaming content and additional services and products. The former might include names like Microgaming, Evolution Gaming, NetEnt, Playtech, Pragmatic Play, and more, while the latter include SoftGamings, SkillOnNet, EveryMatrix, FinnPlay, and others.
Decide On the Content
Naturally, users will judge your casino based on the content you provide. That’s why you need to put extra effort into choosing the type of gambling entertainment you want to offer to your customers. Furthermore, your platform should be clear on the kind of content it delivers to avoid any confusion.
The website should feature some of the most popular casino games, especially slots. Other games that you could include are:
- Table games — blackjack, baccarat, roulette, etc.
- Specialty games — keno, scratch cards, video poker, etc.
- Live casino games
To spice things up, you can also include Sports Betting and Virtual Sports sections on your website. We know plenty of casinos that promote these, as they want to offer potential players more options.
Obtain a Gaming License
Opening an online casino would not mean a thing without obtaining a gaming license. Naturally, the process will differ depending on the country you’re planning to operate the casino from. For that reason, the countries can be divided into the ones that:
- Prohibit gambling activities within their jurisdictions
- Have no country-wide regulations on gambling activities in place
- Regulate online gambling markets and have a monopoly
- Regulate online gambling within their territories without a monopoly
Some of the most well-known and renowned gambling jurisdictions include the United Kingdom Gambling Commission, the Malta Gaming Authority, Curacao, Gibraltar, and the Isle of Man. Naturally, these are not the only gambling jurisdictions out there, so feel free to explore more.
You should also note the two choices you have when obtaining a gambling license. Namely, you can:
- Obtain a sub-license of your iGaming software provider — If you choose a software provider with an already established gambling license, you don’t need to apply for one yourself. You can simply lease the license from the provider and operate the casino under your brand.
- Obtain a license yourself — Obtaining a license yourself is a more complicated process, as the jurisdictions need to ensure your casino is not fraudulent. If you pick this option, you should prepare yourself for a tedious and long process.
Both options come with a set of their own pros and cons, so make sure to be fully informed before you start any process.
Select Payment Providers
Once you’ve acquired a license, you need to secure verified methods of payment. This is an important step that will allow you to receive money from players (via deposits) and send funds to winners (via withdrawals).
That’s why you want to ensure your casino has multiple payment options. For a completely diverse list of payment methods, include:
- Credit cards
- Debit cards
- Bank transfers
- Prepaid cards
- Mobile payments
- Crypto payments
Make sure to sign agreements only with those payment methods that are committed to transaction security. To make things easier, some software providers can help you with the process by providing you with a secure and flexible transaction platform. Such platforms deliver payment processing, multiple currency support, advanced risk management, easy integration with merchants, and more.
Although paying via credit cards and e-wallets is still quite common, many casinos opt for crypto payments due to their increasing popularity. Offering crypto payments through Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and similar options opens up many possibilities for both the operator and the players. For instance, operators can receive money quickly without intermediaries, whereas players can expect 100% security and protection.
To integrate crypto payments, you have two options:
- Integrating a payment system that supports cryptocurrencies
- Creating an entire casino based on the blockchain system
Bear in mind that you will still need to obtain a license regardless of the option you select.
Create a Website and a Brand
Once you’ve got all the formalities out of the way, it’s time to focus on creating a website. Pay attention to how you would like to brand your casino — think of user-friendliness and the website design. Naturally, you can choose to create your unique template or use a preexisting one. Both options are equally good, so it’s up to your personal preferences.
Other things that you should note are:
- Graphic elements
- Color scheme
Your goal is to create a visually appealing website with unique features that will attract players. Don’t forget to make the platform user-friendly and bug-free, as that is bound to help once the it starts operating. Avoid overcomplicating things since that will only put off new users or make the website appear unsafe. Besides, if you make players work too hard to obtain something, they’ll simply move on to the next casino.
Market the Casino
To successfully market your casino, you need to get to know your potential customers. It’s all about keeping your players happy and satisfied, as that will help your casino thrive in the incredibly competitive iGaming industry.
Take a look at some marketing strategies that will help you gain attention from potential users:
- Select your target market — Learn everything you can about your audience, including what interests and motivates them. Once you know which countries you’ll target, set up local marketing campaigns that will draw the players’ eye. For instance, think along the lines of magazines, TV and radio commercials, or online SEO-friendly ads.
- Understand user behavior — Employ a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) strategy that will provide you with valuable information about your audience’s preferences and behavior. This information works best when integrated with your preferred marketing strategies.
- Bonus systems and loyalty programs — Bonuses, like welcome bonuses, free spins, match bonuses, cashbacks, and other regular promotions, are a great way to attract new users. Similarly, loyalty programs will keep them coming back. That’s why giving special treatment to high rollers will be beneficial for you in the end.
- Affiliate management programs — An effective affiliate program will help boost traffic and enable website engagement. Affiliate programs use a number of methods — such as SEO techniques, trackable links, and ads — to help drive users to your website. Plus, many software providers offer these systems or support their integration already, making your job a lot easier.
- Marketing tools — Any form of marketing, such as email, SMS notifications, newsletters, and similar, will help bridge the gap between your potential clients and your website. These marketing tools will keep players informed about ongoing promotions and offerings. Furthermore, they will give you insight into players’ behavior.
Marketing the casino is one of the most important things you need to do to start your business. So, be prepared to invest a lot of time and money into it.
Know Your Budget
Breaking down the numbers is not an easy task. Therefore, if you want to know how much money it will cost to operate an online casino, we cannot provide a clear answer to you. However, we can summarize your expenses before and after the casino is launched, which should make things easier for you when creating a budget. Take a look:
|Pre-launch expenses||Budget portion|
|Post-launch expenses||Budget portion|
Naturally, these costs are not final as a lot of factors can impact both the pre- and post-launch expenses of an online casino. However, hopefully, these numbers have helped you navigate your budget a bit better.