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Gamification in The Gambling Industry
The Future is Here
Gamification, by definition, denotes the practice of using gaming techniques to help users solve problems. It takes something traditionally mundane and turns it into a game, making the activity all the more appealing..
Today, the world’s most well known brands and pop culture favourites, for example Marvel Comics, are capitalizing on gamification through the online gambling industry. As interest in land-based casinos continues to fairly stagnant and markets for online casinos continue to grow, iconic figures such as superheroes are being used in branding and game strategy.

A traditional slot machine, for example, could be deemed as mundane to the more modern gambler. Gamification, however, gives the goal an exciting third dimension – it is far more fun to try and beat a character from a well know book, film or folklore and engage in a non-bingo side bet when certain symbols present themselves on the wheels. A more innovative approach is to make the whole casino experience an adventure, a development that will lead the industry into the future. Just take a look at Casino Heroes, for instance: it’s an adventure game where players have a mission to accomplish, while playing their favourite casino games.

But Gamification is much more than jazzing up the old casino games. It is all about customer retention. Gaming sites of all types spend such a lot of money in gaining customers in the first place that their loss is a great cost. An article by the Harvard Business School on E-Loyalty identified the cost of acquiring customers was so high that the customer would need to be loyal for for 3+ years to reach the break-even point and that 50% of customers would leave before that time. So just a small rise in retention leads to a huge increase in profits.

Rewards – Players are involved in a new community that rewards them with new levels, special features and even money.

Goals – Customers have targets to meet and play when they would not otherwise be.

Status – Leaderboards provide a need for constant monitoring which means returning customers.

Feedback – Constant interaction and continually reaching targets in order to reach a higher one is what makes games addictive.

So retention revolves around the game psychology of practice and repetition to get better, make the task easier, achieve higher status etc.

A good example of how the e-gaming world has adopted gamification techniques are the exchanges. Originally a brilliant innovation that brought flexibility and greater value to customers. When the market matured (competition became real) they resorted to a host of reward schemes and out-and-out exchange games that rewarded customers with lower commissions and a whole separate world of leaderboards with prizes. But much more than that, the lead exchange went so far as to punish big winners on the betting markets by taxing them heavily, resulting in an exit to leave just high volume, small/medium profit customers.

New Worlds
Its every where! DFS (Daily Fantasy Sports) has come in from the other side of the equation. Take sports like baseball and American Football and create a league based game using a collection data points involved in the sport. Then add prizes or money to the league winners and you have a massive potential market that has been realised in the USA and soon elsewhere.

Further more its not immediately obvious but all the major gaming consoles allow betting on the video games. Each system details its own list of games that can be played through the use of tournament based betting sites.

The Law
Inevitably the legal powers are getting into the act. When does betting on a game or paying to participate in a league become straight gambling? Well in many US states it has suddenly become illegal and others declared as legal. Europe will probably have the same mix but the UK is likely to stand firm on the principle that anything goes in the gambling world, its a free market!

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