One of the biggest issues facing the U.S. regulated industry is the fact that the online sites are not wholly-owned by their brick and mortar counterparts. This might create a conflict of interest between live and online operations.
Live poker room employees present another dilemma facing Nevada and New Jersey gaming companies. Not only does the ownership not have a reason to direct players to its related online poker room, employees have a reason to tank the sales pitch.
The brand ambassadors for live poker rooms are generally the dealers. These employees have little reason to direct players to the online poker brand. Requiring a t-shirt that advertises the newest interactive offering does not mean that the attitude will sway players. It could be argued that requiring poker room employees that depend on tips to push an online poker room is a losing proposition, especially when the brick and mortar owners do not fully own the interactive subsidiary.
Should Brick and Mortar Casinos Own Interactive Software?
In a perfect world, every brick and mortar company would own its interactive software outright. Unfortunately, the U.S. Government’s anti-gambling policies got in the way of this concept. This created a situation where most brick and mortar companies never developed or acquired interactive software and are now forced to partner with offshore sites to provide this service.
How to Convert Brick and Mortar Players into Interactive Revenue
Let’s assume there is a perfect world where an interactive gaming company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of a brick and mortar brand or has a great relationship with its partner.
Brick and mortar poker players are the target audience for interactive gaming. Live poker rooms can offer promotional opportunities that offshore service providers are unable to give.
A brick and mortar poker room can offer splash pots to its new online poker site. Once every hour the winner of a pot might receive a $10 bonus bet or $20 that is credited to the player’s online account. This type of bonus should require a modest wager requirement before a withdrawal is allowed. One or two times rake paid should suffice.
Brick and mortar poker rooms could give players a bonus for an online game or tournament. For example, the first tournament of the day at a live poker room generally has the lowest turnout. It is used to draw players into the room to get the action started for the day. One way to draw more players might include a bonus to their online account when buying into the first daily tournament. Another idea would be to give players that start games earlier in the day an online poker bonus.
There are many Las Vegas poker promotions that are based on time played. Most poker rooms give players $1 or $2 an hour in comps. There are also freeroll seats that are awarded to players that give a certain number of hours in action each month. An additional incentive could be to give players $1 or $2 an hour in online credit paid in $20 increments. This promotion could be offered only during slow periods after the initial launch to draw interest.
Converting Casino Points into Cash Online
A casino could allow players to convert points earned while playing poker, slots or video poker into cash at the online poker room or casino. This type of bonus would have no wager requirement as it was already earned through casino play.
Player’s Club Benefits
Players that have higher tiers in the casino’s comp program should receive some seed money to try out the new online poker room and casino. The amount could be based on a player’s past action. High value players could receive internet free play in addition to what is already offered each month at the casino.
Online Slot and Video Poker Tournaments
One way to get brick and mortar patrons that may be reluctant to gamble online to give it a try is to offer a freeroll. Slot and video poker tournaments are common at live casinos. Offering a special internet slot or video poker tournament to existing brick and mortar patrons might be a way to acquaint them with a product they may otherwise never try. This may be especially effective considering the demographics of the average slot tournament entrant.
Use Online Gaming to Compliment Brick and Mortar
Players that earn comps online should be able to use those at the related casino properties. It is clear that online players are already gamblers. Players that go to the casino to use a food comp might try their luck in the casino while they are there. Some sites are already doing this. BorgataCasino is an example of a New Jersey site that offers online players the opportunity to convert online points into brick and mortar comps.
Online poker rooms can offer satellites to live events. Winners of online casino tournaments could win comps or free play at the live casino. Regular internet players can earn point multiplier days at a casino property.
There are so many ways for internet and live gaming to coexist. Hopefully the ownership structure does not get in the way of the industry’s potential.