Online Casino Loyalty Programs
Many online casinos have something that can be collectively referred to as loyalty programs. Though some of them may give it a different name that’s custom to their brand, the idea is the same across all of them – to give players incentives to stay in one place instead of jumping to another site. This tutorial explains how to make the most of these programs and lists casinos with loyalty points.
Casinos with Loyalty Programs
An Introduction to Loyalty Programs
Promotional incentives are a big part of how the online casino world works. You’ll see all kinds of bonuses, promotions and other deals set up in order to allow one site to compete better against others, and it’s virtually unheard of for a site to not have some type of serious promotion set for players if they want to do well.
One of these promotion types, which is ongoing instead of a one-time thing, is a loyalty program that is designed to make players want to stay at one site in the long run.
These programs often get confused with other types of programs for players for whatever reason, but they mean something specific and have a specific purpose. Along these lines, it means that they’re the best for specific types of players while they won’t be as good for others. In what follows, we’ll show you how these casino loyalty programs work, why they are set up the way they are and how to know if they are the right choice for you as an individual player.
The Basic Components of an Online Casino Loyalty Program
To begin with, we want to make it clear exactly what we’re discussing when we say loyalty program. There are a few criteria that a program must meet to be the type of thing that we’re targeting here, and that includes the following:
- The program must be available to all real money players no matter how much they deposit or how often they deposit.
- The rewards from the program will be based on how much the individual plays in terms of wagers and not how much the player has deposited.
- Players will typically be rewarded with some type of loyalty points or other virtual currency that can be exchanged for bonuses, cash and/or prizes.
Here we’ll take a quick look at each of these three criteria and why they are critical to the program as a whole.
Availability to All Players
Sometimes you’ll see casinos have programs that only certain players can get into based on how much they’re depositing. In essence, this allows someone to get in if they deposit a lot upfront but not if someone deposits small amounts frequently over time.
Instead of loyalty programs, these are typically called VIP programs instead, and they are a different kind of animal than the more inclusive and player-friendly loyalty programs that we’re focusing on here.
Rewards Based on Play and Not Deposits
If you make a big deposit, but you haven’t played any of it yet, and you’re still added to a program or move up the ranks in it, then it’s not a loyalty program along the lines of what we’re looking at here. That may be a VIP program as well like what we mentioned above, or it may be something else entirely.
A large point of a loyalty program is that everything is based on how much real money casino play you have done instead of the deposits themselves. These are often conflated with each other, but there are big differences in the intent of the programs and how they are used.
Exchanging Loyalty Points for Things of Value
Finally, the last part that must happen for this to be considered a loyalty program is that the actual rewards are points, or something similar, that are then exchanged for things of value. This could be a direct rate of points to cashback. It could also be that players can save up these points to buy no deposit bonuses that typically have very relaxed wagering requirements and that kind of thing.
Another popular way to spend casino loyalty points is on things like electronics or other fun stuff of value. Some casinos will even let you purchase things as big as vacations with the points you earn. There’s a lot of flexibility as far as what you can purchase, but the general idea is the same all-around.
Why Loyalty Programs Are Used by Casinos
Loyalty programs and other similar types of setups have been around the online casino world since the mid-late 1990s, but they really didn’t receive much emphasis early on. The reason for that is that there wasn’t really much competition, and many of the online casinos would be operated by only a handful of core companies, so it didn’t matter as much if players jumped around from site to site.
It was also largely expected for players to move around a lot to experience games from other top software providers, because most casinos were on exclusive deals where they would only be offering content from a single developer. This is no longer the case however.
The landscape of the industry changed over time. More competition sprung up in terms of new companies operating online casino sites, but it also changed in the sense that casinos started offering more titles from more software providers. These days, it’s virtually unheard of for a particularly popular and successful casino site to only offer games from a single developer.
Now there is a lot of incentive for casino operators to keep players in one place, since there are many competitors just waiting to offer a big welcome bonus or special promotion to pull them away. On top of that, players have a little bit less of an incentive to bounce around for software-related reasons since they have more of a game selection at a single site.
This has created the perfect storm for the loyalty program to shine, and that’s why it gets more attention than ever before as a part of a casino’s overall promotional strategy.
How to Make Players Stay Longer
If every casino offered the same points-based scheme of earning loyalty points for real money play based on a certain rate and letting players exchange those points for cash and other prizes, then there wouldn’t be a lot of loyalty offered because players could hop somewhere else to get the exact same deal. This might make you wonder how they actually use these programs to incentivize loyalty.
The answer is pretty straightforward: The longer you stay in a single program, the better your value is from that program, which is value that you will lose if you decide to go somewhere else.
Most casino promotions are based on the idea that you will be gaining something if you switch sites. A simple example is a first deposit bonus or welcome package that gives you something new in exchange for joining up. The idea behind a loyalty program, however, is a bit different: Instead of being given something new for joining a site, you’ll be losing something valuable if you leave.
The Mechanisms That Achieve This
One of the core elements of what makes up an online casino loyalty program is found in how this set of incentives works out. It usually happens in multiple ways, but there are two major ideas that are related.
The overall idea is that, the longer you stay at a given casino, the better the rewards are for the loyalty program. One way to achieve this is by having players rise up through different ranks of that program, and those ranks are often denoted with names like a bronze level, a silver level, a gold level and so on.
Each subsequent rank gives better rewards, and that ultimately makes the points themselves be worth more individually at a higher level. For a simple example, suppose that a €10 bonus is available for 100 points at a bronze level, but a €25 bonus is available for 200 points at a silver level. This makes the points worth more value at the silver level, but you may have to give that level up and start over if you switch casinos.
Another way to achieve this is to speed up the rate at which you earn points to begin with. For another simple example, you might earn 1 point for every €1 wagered at online slots at the bronze level. However, that could increase to 1.25 points for every €1 wagered at the same slots once you’re up to the gold level.
Some programs will combine the two ideas, so you can end up with compounding sources of value where one side is making the points worth more on a per-point basis while the other is increasing the rate at which you earn them with the same type of play on the same games.
How to Decide if Loyalty Programs Are Right for You
We’ve explained why loyalty programs evolved to be what they are now, and then we looked at how they work from a functional perspective. Now, we are going to take a look at the thought process that you need to follow when deciding if a loyalty program is a good option for you and your own personal situation.
The Commitment Involved
A lot of people will jump head first into plenty of different types of promotions and deals with the idea that, if they are wrong about it being the best option for them, then the worse case scenario is that they actually miss out on getting full value from the promotion and go on about their business.
With loyalty programs, more planning than this is required because you need to have a longer term commitment to get any serious amount of value.
If you look at these programs for virtually any online casino running today, then as much as they are different, they will still have one thing in common: You need to stick around for a while to get the most from them. The lower levels of the program are designed to give you a nominal amount of value, but the real value comes in the later levels.
And that’s largely the point of how and why these work, as we’ve seen up above.
To this end, you need to have a certain level of commitment, planning and patience when it comes to using these types of programs as a key source of value.
So this is the very first thing to consider: If you aren’t going to be around long enough to get to the higher levels of the program, then you really shouldn’t even bother. Instead, you should go after more short-term and mid-term promotions and deals like deposit bonuses and cashback rewards.
Taking Advantage of Specific Deals and Getting the Most Value
When it comes to these loyalty setups, the ideal situation is for you to stick to one site that has all of the games you want and plenty others for you to explore; this also means that they’ll need to have an aggressive release schedule with new titles coming on a regular basis so that you can continue to find new things and aren’t as tempted to give up and move somewhere else.
As we mentioned above, this includes a level of commitment that’s different than what you find with most promotions, but it also requires that you’re able to identify and utilize what you believe is the best use of your loyalty points.
One part of this is a simple type of math equation. If you can get a €100 bonus for 1,000 points, or you can get a €225 bonus for 2,000 points, then the latter is obviously better. This part is pretty straightforward and is something pretty much anyone can do with a calculator and a few minutes of jotting things down.
The part of this that players are likely to not think about ahead of time is that not all casino loyalty programs offer value in the same ways. Some may offer bonuses only but no cash, and those bonuses may have wagering requirements and game restrictions that keep you from enjoying the titles that you want.
Other sites may only have electronics and other goodies available to purchase with your points but do not allow you to transfer them directly into cash or bonuses at all. This is where you get into seeing which types of deals will give you the most value on a personal level because electronics might not mean much to some players who will really just want cash (or at least bonuses that turn into cash) instead.
This is why you need to look ahead to the type of value you’re looking to get when it comes to committing over the long term to one of these programs and the casino that’s operating it.
There are a lot of reasons why these types of loyalty setups have become more popular in the modern era of online casinos when compared to the earlier years. Essentially, the incentives have been set up to create a situation where players were jumping around a lot more, and sites want to prevent this by giving players more reasons to stay in one place.
These programs vary quite a bit from casino to casino, and there is no one standardized approach to them despite certain common elements. To this end, players have to research and decide for themselves what is going to work for them based on the above criteria so that they can get something that fits them as an individual.