Friction is the new f-word. Your mother may not wash your mouth out for saying it, but your player experience team just might. Why? Because players are increasingly fickle about what they expect from their iGaming experience.

With a few clicks, today’s consumer can order a latte on their phone, skip the line at their favorite coffee shop and pick up their beverage at the counter. They can order a taxi, track their car’s approach, pay with one click and leave a review before the car even pulls away. Players expect no less from their iGaming experience.

So what are three things you can do about it? Glad you asked.

First, adopt a mobile-first approach. If it wasn’t obvious by the general lack of eye contact in public nowadays, smartphones have infiltrated almost every aspect of consumers’ lives. In the last 6 years, iovation has seen transactions processed via mobile devices grow at an average annual rate of 95% from only 6% in 2012 to 70% in 2018. This trend is even more amplified with younger generations. So, you need to be where your customers are, on their smartphones!

Second, don’t lose sight of players in the move to mobile. While many operators have moved to launch mobile sites and dedicated apps, they haven’t thought through the entire player journey. Imagine a player who enrolls in your loyalty program onsite, sets up a new account from their laptop, places a bet an hour later from their smartphone and then cashes out. Each interaction likely uses a different mode of authentication, adding, you guessed it, the f-word.

This will be an even bigger issue with younger, tech-savvy players who have shown they value customer experience and engagement above anything else. To attract younger players and retain VIP players long term, operators need to modernize their approach by creating an omnichannel player experience. In fact, a recent study found that businesses with the strongest omnichannel customer engagement strategies have an average customer retention rate of 89%, as compared to 33% for companies with weak omnichannel strategies.1

Third, use technology to stay ahead of rapidly evolving markets. The recent legalization of gambling in geographies such as the United States, The Netherlands, Singapore and India and re-regulation of Sweden, presents an opportunity for market expansion but also comes with a whole new set of challenges. Success in these markets depends on executing to meet regulatory requirements while still providing a differentiated customer experience.

Operators often only have one chance at delivering a differentiated mobile experience to capture new players. But if done right it can pay big dividends. DraftKings launched their app in 2018 and already “90 percent of gambling activity is coming through its sportsbook app. It’s averaging 53,000 bets per day, beating the company’s projections by 300 percent.”2

Emerging technologies are helping ease management of regulatory requirements, and more importantly helping to keep players where you want them, in-app. For example, geofencing can be enabled as an authentication constraint directly through your mobile app allowing players to place bets in Nevada, for example, but restrict betting as soon as they cross the border into Utah. This has taken on increased importance with the recent opinion put forth by the U.S. Department of Justice that the Wire Act should apply to all forms of gambling, not just sports betting.

Operators also need to consider how they can automate management of such functions as age verification, Know Your Customer (KYC) and document verification. This has traditionally been a cumbersome process that creates barriers to play. Automation can not only increase efficiencies but also decrease the f-word for good players.

If you’re interested in learning more, download the full 2019 Gambling Industry Report, which provides an in-depth analysis of the trends that drove gambling in 2018 and insights into driving Differentiation with Players in 2019.

Want more? Read What We Learned About Fraud from 2018, ICE London and Happy Hour.

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