It isn’t all too often that we see an entirely new category of online services emerge in the United States. There is a chance, however, that the coronavirus pandemic will yield some exceptions.
One noteworthy possibility is a significant expansion in online casino gaming regulation and exposure in the aftermath of the pandemic. Overall, casinos were among the many businesses that were hit extremely hard by COVID lockdowns and restrictions. A Forbes piece on casino losses claims that total revenue was down 31.3% in 2020 — a devastating number representing tens of billions of dollars in losses. The same piece, however, noted that online casino gaming was a bright spot. Across four states that allowed this kind of activity in 2020, $1.6 billion in total revenue represented a 200% increase.
Naturally, some of these trends may revert to normal once the world does the same. But 2020 will stand as an example of how much money online casino activity can bring in for states. It is extremely probable that this will lead to further consideration of legalization and regulation in additional states. That will take time, but it could well lead to an entire category of online casino sites that will be wholly new to a vast majority of Americans. As stated, we don’t see new categories emerging online very often, and so this possibility introduces a fascinating question: How would online gaming sites build trust with U.S. users?
A few ideas come to mind.
Maintain a Blog
In 2020, a post here on ‘How to Build Trust in Your Brand’ began with the idea of writing a blog. As that post stated, establishing a blog shows your visitors you know what you’re talking about, and can thus be the first step toward generating trust. It doesn’t have to be particularly busy, nor do individual blog posts have to be long or complex. In many cases, in fact, shorter posts get the job done most effectively. But maintaining a blog covering relevant topics (in this case different games, promotions, tips for new players, general casino news, etc.) turns a business into a resource. It stops visitors from focusing on what a website wants from them and instead invites them to get something from the website. This kind of feature on a casino site will be invaluable in attracting and satisfying new players.
Provide Resources for Beginners
Online businesses and websites dealing with new concepts or products do well when they provide explanations and resources. For instance, a brand new investment platform might maintain a mock trading tool; a bitcoin wallet platform will provide extensive FAQs on cryptocurrency. This is actually an area, though, in which some existing casino sites struggle. If and when they spread across the U.S., they’d do well to showcase more support and assistance for beginners. This doesn’t have to be particularly difficult or involved, either. Tutorials to most online casino games can already be found on YouTube. A hand-ranking “cheat sheet” on Poker.org can already be downloaded regardless of what platform a person is playing on. Even linking to these existing resources would help a new gaming site to establish a welcoming environment to tens of thousands of U.S. users who are at least relatively new to casinos.
One relatively new trend in retail customer relations online is for sites to effectively celebrate purchases. You might be browsing a trendy, social-forward sunglasses shop online, for instance, and see occasional updates about other customers buying specific items: Joe P. from Colorado just got some new black aviators! This sort of thing shouldn’t be overdone, but an acknowledgment of some customers’ success or approval can certainly way other customers to be more trusting. New casino platforms could easily imitate this practice by highlighting players’ wins in different games — the message being crystal-clear you too can win here.
Provide Free Games
This is a very brief and simple point, and it’s more specific to casino gaming sites. But it will be essential for these platforms to offer free games in addition to the ones that can be played for real money. Countless would-be American customers will be driven away if their only option is to play with real money before they feel ready to do so. On the contrary, free gaming will provide users with a way to get familiar with both specific games and individual platforms.
Way back in 2013, a social media article on Business2Community.com stated that “connecting breeds loyalty,” implying that companies could seek to connect with customers via social channels. And as much as we’ve seen change on the social media landscape in the eight years since this article was posted, that has only become more true. Social media provides a way for companies and websites to humanize themselves generally and to communicate with users directly. And any new gaming site ought to take advantage of those possibilities. Whether through posting general information about games, announcing promotions, responding to feedback, or anything else similar, gaming companies that are socially active will rapidly gain U.S. audiences’ trust.
It should be interesting in the next few years to see how this space evolves, and how many of these steps the average U.S. casino site ends up taking. However the specifics shake out though, it will be a rare experiment regarding an emerging web category with massive potential.