Today, the iGaming industry is big business, and if you happen to know all the ingredients needed on how to start an online casino business, you can combine them to create a recipe for success!
Not sure how to start an online casino business? Top Casino Solutions can help provide you with the knowledge you need to take your first steps into the internet gambling world.
Online gambling is a vast marketplace that offers countless possibilities for dynamic growth for entrepreneurs who have the drive, interest, passion and money it takes to make what they create stand out from the sea of competitors.
That said, we’re going to be honest with you. While it is more than possible to build a successful business that will eventually yield excellent profits, if you want to be a profitable online casino operator, it will take time, money and work. This means:
- You will need to be prepared to pay high costs to start your business
- You will need the necessary license(s) to operate, which can be a complex process
- You will need to provide exciting and engaging game content
- You will need to use the latest cutting-edge software, payment and security technologies
- You will need a sound marketing strategy to build and retain your customer base
- You will need to continue to evolve your brand over time to remain competitive and keep customers engaged
The reality is that anyone can start an online casino business and this could be a highly profitable opportunity. However, building and running this type of enterprise isn’t for everyone and that’s okay, too.
With that in mind, if you think you have what it takes and the desire to run an online casino, or if you’re interested in learning more about what is involved in starting a business, here are 7 steps on how to start your own online casino.
Step 1 – Choose a Professional Software Provider
First things first. You need to choose an iGaming software provider that is reliable, innovative and that you can trust to help you make your business a success. When starting your own casino, you essentially have two options when it comes to providers:
- Suppliers that develop games and platforms themselves (e.g. NetEnt, Microgaming, Playtech, etc.)
- iGaming business providers that offer packages which feature the gaming content of other suppliers as well as additional products and services. This is known as a business-to-business (B2B) model (e.g. EveryMatrix, FinnPlay, SoftGamings, SkillOnNet, etc.).
The majority of newcomers to the industry tend to choose the B2B option, such as the companies TCS reviews.
Why? Quite simply put, these iGaming software providers help to take the guess work out of how to start an online casino. They offer solutions and products that can help you either design and build your brand with turnkey solutions or self-services, or provide you with a white label casino solution that lets you easily launch a casino using ready-to-launch products and services that operate under their license. Learn more about how to start a white label casino.
Whatever the path you choose, these companies are your link to the iGaming world and help to make your launch and running your operations a smoother process.
Since the goal is to create a long-term partnership with the provider you choose, it is important for you to do your research and take the necessary time to evaluate all your options and make sure that what a B2B company has to offer fits with your business ideas, goals and budget.
While every online casino operator has different requirements, it is typically in your best interest to look for a software provider that can deliver:
- Gambling licence(s) ( either an included license or support for obtaining one).
- A wide range of gambling markets.
- A diverse array of payment options.
- Support for multiple currencies.
- Support for multiple languages.
- Client and player customer service options.
- A large selection of casino games, including live casino entertainment.
- Support for multiple platforms, including desktop, tablet and mobile.
- Customizable front end.
- Access to a strong back end.
- Affiliate support and/or options.
- CRM (marketing, bonus systems, loyalty programs, etc.)
- Competitive pricing.
- Flexible and fully customizable software solutions that let you control the entire process if you’re not choosing a white label option. Learn more about turnkey casino solutions.
Make sure that the software provider you choose not only has profound understanding of the online gaming industry, but also has experience in launching online casinos that have found success.
TCS can help you find the ideal iGaming casino software provider match! Our in-depth reviews provide you with the essential details you need to know about the products and services offered by the iGaming industry’s top-rated companies.
Step 2 – Decide on the Content You Want for Your Online Casino
The second major step of the how to start a casino website process is to decide what type of content (gambling entertainment) you want to provide your customers. Your business needs to be clear on what it can deliver and it is important to emphasize the diversity of your content.
Customers want to know exactly what they can play and on what device they can play it. This means that your site needs to have the most exciting and popular content as well as support effortless integration.
Popular iGaming content offered at today’s successful online casinos include:
- Table & Card Games – Blackjack, Roulette, Baccarat, etc.
- Other Casino Games – Keno, Video Poker, Scratch Cards, Arcade
- Live Casino
Some online casino operators will even go that extra mile and offer a sportsbook and virtual sports betting as well.
Of course, you don’t need to (and shouldn’t necessarily) offer everything. It’s important to know what is available to you and then choose the content that makes the most sense to your brand and the experience you wish to offer your target market.
Using their expertise, a reliable iGaming software provider can help you narrow down your choices and provide you with the best sources of entertainment from their top software games partners.
Step 3 – Obtain a License for Your Targeted Jurisdiction
To run a legitimate online gambling operation, you will require the necessary licenses for the jurisdictions in which you intend to operate. As you familiarize yourself with the industry, you will come to understand that some countries…
- Regulate online gambling markets and have a monopoly
- Regulate online gambling within their territories without a monopoly
- Prohibit gambling activities within their jurisdictions
- Have no country-wide regulations on gambling activities in place
Today, the most popular online gambling jurisdictions are the United Kingdom, Malta, Curaçao, Isle of Man, Alderney and Gibraltar, with the UK Gambling Commission, the Malta Gaming Authority, and Curaçao eGaming among the most respected regulators in the industry. That said, there are several other both regulated and non-regulated jurisdictions as well.
As a new online casino operator, you will have two choices when it comes to obtaining the necessary licensing. You can:
- Obtain a gambling license yourself– You are in charge of going through the complex licensing process, including obtaining the application, ensuring you meet licensing requirements, opening a bank account, making agreements with payment providers, fees and taxes, etc.
- Become a licensee of your iGaming software provider – If you choose an iGaming provider’s white label solution, you do not have to apply for a license and will lease the provider’s software as well as the gaming license and financial infrastructure, allowing you to operate your casino under your own brand but using the provider’s ready-to-launch infrastructure. In other words, they take care of all the licensing for you.
There are a number of benefits for new operators who choose the white label option, however, there are a few drawbacks as well. TCS explains the pros and cons of how to start a legal online casino using a white label solution or acquiring a license yourself in our licensing section here.
Step 4 – Pick Your Payments Provider System
After you’ve acquired a license, you will need to set up a payment system that will allow you to accept deposits from players, payout money prizes to players, and withdraw money from the casino back into your business.
Since this is the case, you’ll want to make sure that your casino supports integrate with major online payment systems. Without it, your players won’t be able to make deposit or withdrawals at your casino, which negates the entire point of running a profitable online gambling business!
The more payment methods and different types of banking solutions that you can offer your customers, the better. This includes:
- Credit Cards
- Debit Cards
- Bank transfers
- Prepaid cards
- Mobile payments
- Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies*
Securing verified payment methods for your iGaming business is also important. As such, you will need to ensure you sign multiple agreements with only those payment system providers who are committed to transaction security.
While you can secure these agreements on your own, an iGaming software provider can help to simplify this process by providing you with a flexible and secure payments system platform. Such a platform can deliver payment processing, easy integration with all online merchants, multiple currency support, fraud detection, advanced risk management, etc.
Learn more about traditional forms of payment processing.
Bitcoin and Crypto Casinos
Although traditional casino payment methods such as credit/debit cards, eWallets and prepaid cards remain the popular choice, cryptocurrencies continue to be a ruling trend. Many people continue to buy, trade, mine and spend cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum as well as others that continue to pop up.
Offering cryptocurrencies can be a benefit to both an online casino operator and a player. For operators, money is received quickly and there are no intermediaries. For players, there is no greater security or anonymity. If you are interested in a cryptocurrency casino, you have two options:
• You can integrate a payment system that supports cryptocurrencies
• You can create an entire casino project based on the blockchain system
Although you will still require a respective license in either case, a Bitcoin casino can save on license application costs as well as monthly fees.
More and more projects are emerging on the market that are building their own gaming systems on blockchain. With increasing interest in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, these types of iGaming projects have huge success potential and may be worth considering. Learn more about Bitcoin casinos.
Step 5 – Brand and Website Creation
Potential customers will not only judge your casino based on what it offers, but also how it looks and on its user-friendliness.
When you’ve reached this phase of how to start an online casino website, once again you’ll have two options:
- Design your own unique template (do it yourself or hire someone)
- Use a pre-designed template
Regardless of the template option you choose, you’ll need to make decisions that represent the theme of your brand. Beyond selecting a name for your casino, these decisions may include:
- Colour scheme
- Graphical elements
Your objective is to design a website that is visually appealing, unique and sensibly laid out. It should be fast to load, simple for customers to use, easy for them to interact with the content and provide the appropriate integration between the front end and database.
You never want to leave the impression that your website is overly complicated to use or that it is unsafe. If you make players work too hard or doubt your reliability, they will take their money to any one of your other hundreds of competitors out there.
Step 6 – Know Your Customer and Market your Casino to Them
A successful online casino is one that is built around the pleasure and satisfaction of its customers. Keeping your players continuously happy is how you survive and thrive in the highly competitive online gambling marketplace.
For customers to even know that your online casino exists, you need to employ marketing strategies that will capture their attention and interest. More importantly, these strategies need to be compelling enough to make potential customers take that next step and actually act on that interest and give your business a chance.
With that said, the following strategies are important to an online casino business’s success:
- Choose your target market(s) – Decide on who your audience will be and learn about them. Understand what motivates them and what their goals are. What do they like? Once you know which countries you want to target the most, you can set up local marketing campaigns to target the customers from these jurisdictions. Depending on local laws and your marketing budget, this may include radio ads, TV ads, magazine ads, SEO focused on cities within the country, favourite games, etc.
- Understand customer behaviour – Employing a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) strategy can provide you with valuable information about your customers’ individual behaviours and preferences. This information can be integrated with marketing strategies to help you put the right type of promotions and content in front of the right type of customer, to keep them returning.
- Unique content and an engaging UX– Exclusive games and/or promotions are always a crowd pleaser. The same goes for providing a smooth and gamified user experience. If you can offer something that the competition can’t, players will be interested.*
- Bonus systems – Sign up bonus, free spins, match bonuses, cashback, tournaments, daily perks, seasonal promotions, etc. are great ways to attract new players and keep regular players interested.
- Loyalty programs – Loyalty rewards systems and VIP programs provide players with incentive to continue returning to your casino, especially the big spenders who enjoy receiving special treatment. Loyalty schemes are ongoing and are excellent retention for frequent bettors as these systems are designed to reward players the more that they play.
- Affiliate management programs – Setting up an effective affiliate system can help enable website engagement and boost traffic to your site. Affiliate use a number of techniques to drive new customers to your casino, including SEO tactics, trackable ads and links. Many iGaming software providers offer these systems or support their integration, helping to make the recruiting of affiliates easier.
- Marketing tools – Push notifications, SMS, email, and news letters help to keep an open channel between you and your players. Not only does it keep players informed about your latest’s promotions and offers, helping with retention and conversion, it can also help you to keep track of player betting behaviour.
The bottom line is that the right marketing strategy is integral to any company’s success – casino or otherwise – and you should be prepared to spend a lot of time, energy and money on it.
Gamification is becoming increasingly important
It is no longer enough to offer a standard online casino experience. Players are all too familiar with the marketing strategies of online casinos. So many brands have used the same old promotional materials and layouts that the experience has become predictable, tired and boring.
Gamification strategies help to take the dull and boring process out of a site and make it more engaging and user-friendly. Think of it as making the casino experience a game with the goal of capturing player interest and incentivizing them to play more.
Example of gamification elements include:
• Rules of play
The more the product you create is feature rich and interactive, the more engaging it is for players.
Building a gamification strategy requires you to know who your players are, know what their goals are and learn their triggers and motivations. Once you know that, you can introduce gamification elements and monitor the effect of the strategy you’ve put into place.
Step 7 – Understand Your Budget
Every aspect of starting an online casino business costs money. For this reason, it is vital that once you’ve looked into how to open an online casino, you focus on how much capital you require to start a casino.
Do not make the mistake of planning your budget after setting up your online casino site. Plan it before. As a start-up, you need to know that your costs will be higher in the beginning because you’ve yet to earn the trust of players. A relationship must be built.
Opening an online casino results in two types of expenses:
1. Pre-Launch Expenses
- Company set up 3 – 7%
- Licence – 10 – 30%
- Software set up – 25 – 35%
- Hiring staff – 10 – 20%
- Pre-marketing – 20 – 40%
- Other costs – 10 – 20%
2. After-Launch Expenses
- Company operation – 5%
- License fees – 1-10%
- Software support – 10%
- Games providers – 5%
- Ongoing Marketing – 50%
- Staff – 10 – 30%
- Other – 10 – 20%
The above-mentioned expenses and percentages are meant only to provide you with an overall general example. However, as you can see, percentage wise, the pre-launch expenses are higher than the after-launch expenses, which are more about maintaining what has already been created.
Finally, in general, it is often thought that for a new company entering the iGaming industry for the first time, the best option is to create a budget for at least your first year of operation.
Helpful Online Casino Business Tips
Now that you know the basics of what’s involved in how to start your own online casino, here are a few extra helpful tips to keep in mind:
- Know your competition. Just as it’s important to know who your customers are, it’s important to know who your main competitors are. Find out what they do that works and do it better, identify and avoid their mistakes, offer something on your platform that theirs does not have.
- Know your budget and work within it. Do not overspend or your company will never get off the ground. Never make assumptions about costs or fees. Find out exactly how much something will cost and always expect that you will need more money than you think.
- Less is more when it comes to website design. Do not get into complicated and resource-demanding graphics, such as integrated graphics, movies, animations or too many visuals. Your casino needs to be attractive, fast and easy to use on every platform that it can be accessed.
- Focus your brand. Don’t try to appeal and please everyone. Choose a target market and focus on delivering the content, products and services that will most appeal to those players.
- Learn to deal with challenges. Hackers, losing customers, and negative reviews are just some of the challenges that await you in the online gambling world. Having top and professional security measures in place, effective marketing strategies and quality customer support can help you avoid and manage challenges.
- Be ready to adapt with an ever-evolving industry. The multi-billion-dollar iGaming industry is in a constant state of change. Licensing jurisdictions are continuously updating and redefining rules and regulations to ensure that casinos are running the safest, fairest and most responsible online gambling operations for players. Additionally, as the industry and technology (e.g. mobile, VR, etc.) evolves, so do the demands of players, who seek high-quality, engaging (gamification) content and the best experience via their preferred device. Staying on top of the latest regulations and trends is a must for long-term survival.
Ultimately, remember that if you want to achieve the success you expect from starting an online casino business, you have to be prepared to invest a lot of time, hard work and money into your enterprise. Knowing how to start an online casino business is only the first step in making your dream a reality.
How to Start an Online Casino Business FAQ
Is it legal to start an online casino?
Absolutely! As long as you are operating a casino in a jurisdiction where online gambling is not illegal, have the appropriate license and follow the necessary regulations, it is 100% legal
What is a gambling license?
It is a required permit from an authority needed to create a legitimate gambling platform. To obtain a license, a business must comply with the laws and regulations of the authority that has granted it, including security, fairness, responsible gaming, etc. There are many authorities across the globe that provide gambling licenses, such as Curaçao eGaming, the UK Gambling Commission, and the Malta Gaming Authority.
How much money does it cost to open up a casino?
You should expect costs to be tens of thousands of dollars or higher. That said, costs vary depending on the solution you choose. Typically, white label solutions offered by iGaming software providers are the most cost-effective. If you want to know how much money you need to start a casino in terms of exact cost, you should contact the company with whom you intend to do business directly.
How does an online casino make money?
Casinos make profits off of the house edge of the games that they offer. For instance, the industry standard for return to player percentages on slot games is about 96% on average. This means for every $1,000 staked on a slot game with a 96% return to player value, the casino will make a $40 profit. Casinos can also make money off of prize draws and jackpots.
What is a white label casino?
It is a ready-to-go product offered by a B2B supplier that a casino business rebrands as their own. White label casinos are often quick to launch and cost less than turnkey or self-service casino solutions, which makes them a popular choice for those who are new to the industry. The platform requires few human resources to operate, comes with a license and a variety of products and services (e.g. payments, customer support, a select number of games, etc.). However, it is a limited platform with a fixed range of settings, and the supplier controls most details.
How do you make a gambling app?
You could employ the services of a mobile app development company or sometimes iGaming providers who offer mobile solutions can help.
How fast does a casino launch?
It depends on the solution and can take anywhere from 3 months to a year. The white label solution is the fastest and is usually up and running in 2 to 3 months. Meanwhile, turnkey and self-service projects often take far longer as these platforms are customized based on the customer’s preferences and requirements.
Have more questions about how to start an online casino business? Check out our other pages, drop TCS a line, or get in touch directly with any of the iGaming software providers we’ve reviewed to find out exactly what they can offer you!