The future of live casino, but more importantly, boutique highroller VIP live casino action, is in unifying the online with a premium land-based experience for such VIPs, says Yolo Investments general partner Tim Heath.
It was more than 10 years ago now that the term ‘omni-channel’ first started becoming particularly popular at gaming industry events.
The buzzword was a favourite of industry execs promising a brave new world uniting online, mobile and land-based gaming into something greater than the sum of its parts.
While some encouraging progress has been made in the field over the past decade, I’d argue that those solutions didn’t really address the full player experience in a complementary fashion.
New user experiences
Much of the omni-channel focus has been on products. How can we offer the same games in a retail environment as we do online? Or how do we better cross-sell a land-based sports bettor into an online casino?
This can be important, but to take omni-channel to the next level, we need to consider two far more important factors: experiences and relationships.
Live casino is an interesting case study, because it has greater omni-channel potential than perhaps any other product, yet we have seen little innovation around it.
Fly to Vegas, Macau or Monte Carlo, and you can be guaranteed a world-class land-based casino experience. Similarly, there are plenty of fantastic live casino products on the market for online players.
What we have been lacking is something which links the two, forging stronger relationships between player, brand and dealer and delivering the sort of VIP experience that keeps players coming back.
Introducing the Bombay Club
This is the concept behind the Bombay Club, which began life as our own live dealer studio primarily for players at Coingaming brands such as Bitcasino.io and Sportsbet.io, but has quickly grown into something far bigger.
This includes an industry-first concept: the white-label, B2B land-based casino and studio.
The first of these will open shortly in Tallinn’s old town. From here, online casinos which offer Bombay Club studio tables will be able to fly VIPs to play at the very same tables and with the very same dealers they play with online. Even better, they can play with funds from their online wallet.
The whole set-up can also be branded, allowing online casinos to, for instance, hire the entire casino for a weekend to host a special event for their most loyal customers, to give their players a premium boutique experience.
Players will be able to eat, drink, party and, most importantly, play against the same dealer who deals with them when they are playing online, creating a seamless transition which morphs online to offline.
By creating these experiences, the player will be drawn to continue playing online (when they get home). We create this bond between players and online casino, by building real relationships and experiences.
We ultimately aim to expand this venture into eight, land-based Bombay Clubs around the world, ensuring that casinos are able to offer the same, unified experience to players, wherever they may be based.
This includes a mega yacht sailing the Adriatic coastline, giving the players another once-in-a-lifetime experience, playing baccarat aboard the 106-foot “Bombay Mediterranean”.
Our venture capital fund, Yolo Investments, is currently fundraising for a handful of key strategic partners who will help deliver this vision.
Centre of the universe
The Bombay Club is the latest part of our ongoing mission to not just put the customer at the centre of the universe for B2B partners around the world, but to give these players an ultimate experience, which is seamless across land and online.
From a VIP perspective, this involves thinking very closely about the user experience, and must cover everything from appropriate wagering limits for high-rollers, to dealers and customer support in their native language.
It is also about driving innovation and pushing boundaries. When people speak about innovation in our industry, it is all too often an abstract concept.
We’re more about action.
We see innovation as innately tied to what we are trying to achieve within the broader gaming ecosystem. Innovation must drive genuine value – for users and for operators – across every part of the player experience.
It is a tough challenge, and we’ll be the first to admit that sometimes it has us stumped, but finding solutions to these problems is why we get up in the morning.
Live casino is just one corner, but it is one with significant potential to change the way players interact with this product.
With the Bombay Club, we want to bring about a complete sea change in the way live casino is enjoyed by players around the world.