Marketing 101 – How the iGaming Sector Boosts Engagement

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In the highly competitive field of iGaming, several leading brands have become renowned for their audacious marketing strategies that push boundaries and prompt controversy.

From taunting billboards to celebrity endorsements, their tactics have completely reshaped the industry’s landscape since the turn of the century.

Innovative marketing strategies separate successful iGaming brands from ordinary ones, boost player engagement and generate significant revenue.

Read on as we look at how the iGaming industry’s penchant for marketing has helped it become one of the biggest growth sectors on the planet.

The Power of Mischievous Marketing

Irish bookmaker Paddy Power has built a reputation as a controversial betting brand by using edgy marketing content to set themselves apart from the competition.

Like many of their rivals in the ferociously competitive gambling sector, the bookie offers odds on sports events and has a vibrant online casino platform featuring a variety of online slot games.

Thanks to the company’s standout advertising skills, betting enthusiasts often choose them over other their rivals. However, many of their campaigns spark widespread ethical debates.

Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs was at the centre of a major scandal in 2011 when his affair with his brother Rhodri’s wife Natasha came to light.

It did not take long before Paddy Power turned this infamous situation in their favour, creating a comedic spot to make fun of the fallout, with Rhodri becoming the poster boy of their loyalty campaign.

Taking advantage of England’s overwhelming desire to lift their first-ever European Championship title, Paddy Power showcased its marketing brilliance right before the 2012 tournament.

The bookie unveiled a 108ft statue of former England manager Roy Hodgson on the White Cliffs of Dover, intended to attract ‘divine intervention’ for the Three Lions squad.
As if Italy’s thumping 4-0 win against England in the Euro 2012 quarter-finals wasn’t embarrassing enough, Gli Azzurri added insult to injury in the 2014 World Cup curtain-raising fixture.

A punter named Tony backed the Italians for success and quickly became notorious on social media, receiving backlash from England fans. Paddy Power seized on the unrest, displaying a billboard ‘Traitor Tony’ to point out he ‘made a killing’.

Inflammatory speeches were in full swing amid the United Kingdom’s comprehensive Brexit campaign ahead of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

In the build-up to Ireland’s Six Nations rugby encounter with England in 2019, Paddy Power flooded Dublin with provocative billboards, sparking Brexit banter among fans.

Winstone Highlights the Power of Influencers

Bet365 is among the most popular bookies in Europe. Unlike Paddy Power, the company relies on a more direct approach, hiring celebrities to promote their content.
In contrast to Paddy Power’s history of inflammatory marketing, bet365’s tactics are straightforward but far more aggressive.

The firm signed a deal with famous English actor Ray Winstone to be their stunt champion in the early 2010s. With Winstone as its ‘public face’, the company has grown to become the largest and most ambitious online gambling enterprise globally.

Bet365’s marketing campaigns, often featuring Winstone encouraging viewers to ‘get your mobiles and laptops out’ to bet on live sporting events – or, in his friendly tone, to ‘have a bang on that!’ – have been some of the most frequently broadcasted on television for years.

Despite critics questioning the ethics of these promotional materials, they have yielded substantial results for bet365.

Betting Brands Forge Strong Links with Sports

Sky Bet’s sponsorship of the EFL Championship, League One and League Two, alongside football shirt advertising, is further proof of the betting industry’s deep-rooted relationship with sport.

Nearly 60% of clubs in England’s top two divisions feature gambling companies on their shirts, highlighting the close links which have been established between the two sectors.
Some leagues have sought to dial back on their links with the betting industry by banning gambling related front-of-shirt advertising. However, other forms of marketing are still allowed, meaning the ban will achieve little in the grand scheme of things.

It is a similar story in snooker, with 11 of the 20 ranking events having lucrative sponsorship deals with betting companies. “It is in our faces, it is everywhere,” former world snooker champion Stuart Bingham replied when asked about his sport’s relationship with the gambling sector back in 2018.

Intriguingly, Bingham was fined and banned from the sport the previous year for betting breaches, although he was cleared of match-fixing allegations. His suspension raised inevitable integrity questions for betting companies and the sports they link-up with.
Only the smartest and most adaptable operators thrive in this highly competitive landscape, and innovation and strategic marketing are crucial to capture market share. Integrity is also crucial, adding a further hurdle for each side of the equation to navigate.

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