“I think the key trend will be social gambling, especially in the USA”
Catie Di Stefano, Director of Community Marketing at OnlineGamblers.com, is here to take us on an exciting journey through the diverging landscapes of the gambling industry in the United States and Europe. Join us as we uncover the intricacies of rebranding OnlineGamblers.com’s affiliate site for the North American market and set our sights on the thrilling future of the entertainment industry. Don’t miss out on this engaging conversation that promises to reveal the dynamic world of online gaming!
You’ve been active in the European Online Gambling industry since 2011 and in the North American Online Gambling industry since 2018. How do these two markets differ, and what challenges and opportunities have you encountered in each?
The biggest difference between the North American market and Europe is the regulation and social stigma. In Europe, gambling still has a lot of stigma and shame. In contrast to the USA, they better understand that gambling is a form of entertainment and enjoy gambling as a social event. Europe was also perfect for operators a decade ago, but since then, many local regulations have made it difficult for operators to earn revenue because of bonus and sponsorship limitations.
In the USA, local state regulations are slowly opening up. Although operator licenses are costly in North America, the regulations are more friendly for marketing and retention. I would say that the biggest opportunities in North America are in social gambling and micro betting. To be honest, I don’t see any opportunities in Europe. I have long believed Europe to be dying due to too strict regulations that drive players to the black market; Sweden is a good example.
You’ve been involved in rebranding the affiliate site OnlineGamblers.com for the North American market. What were the main strategies you used to create and build the brand successfully?
My primary strategy has been to focus on North American news and trends, in addition to safe and legal gambling. As affiliates, we significantly influence players before they place a bet. I want to educate players on how to gamble safely with limits and awareness of responsible gambling, in addition to guides, trends, and news in USA’s gambling world. I also try to get us licensed in as many states as possible.
Although online casinos are more successful, most states only regulate online betting, so as affiliates, we’ve had to work a lot on adapting and learning the different state regulations for betting. We also report on state news and events. Remember that the USA has over 50 markets, including states and territories, so there’s a lot of detailed work involved. At us.onlinegamblers.com, we also collaborate with many B2B products in the industry by making fun and educational videos. This way, industry peers and players can learn about the different features that power the North American market.
In your view, what are the key trends and changes happening in the iGaming industry in the next decade, especially in the United States? How do you plan to be a part of these changing regulations?
I think the key trend will be social gambling, especially in the USA. Players want to chat and talk to strangers and friends when they play, so we have seen a significant increase in interest in social casinos. That also includes live casinos with a chat function available. We at us.onlinegamblers.com will try to promote and educate players more on safe options regarding social gambling.
You co-founded Weberfy, a web agency that provides various services, including CRM campaigns for iGaming clients. Can you share some success stories or notable projects you’ve worked on with Weberfy?
I co-founded Weberfy.se with my husband, and although I have previously taken on igaming clients, I am now exclusive to us.onlinegamblers.com for any gambling-related projects. Right now with Weberfy.se, I mostly help with content creation for other industries in Sweden. However, if anyone is interested in collaborating with Online Gamblers, we make articles and videos for social media to promote operators and B2B products in the USA. Thanks to my 12 years in the gambling industry, I have gained a micro-focused audience on LinkedIn that mostly consists of founders, CEOs, investors, and business development managers in the gambling industry.
Previously with Weberfy.se, a really fun project I worked on was to convert an operator from focusing on lotto to casino. Lotto players have too small a value and life span for an operator to be successful in the long run without also pushing casino, so I helped this brand build the journeys for players to understand the new casino brand name and how to play casino. It was a great experience! I’ve also done some CRM work for operators in Sweden just after they regulated and removed all retention bonuses and cashback, which was a challenge but a great learning experience of how to operate a marketing retention department with a €0 budget. Being half Indonesian, I’ve also researched the Indonesian gambling market.
What is the future of multiplayer experiences in gambling? How significant is building communities for player engagement? Can you provide more details on how you envision this evolving and its impact on the industry?
As I mentioned, I believe in social gambling and that it will grow immensely in the next decade, especially in the United States. Multiplayer experiences might not be as attractive in Europe, where players are very shy and have a stigma around gambling. Still, I think it will be a massive success in the social USA.
North American operators will focus more on refer-a-friend campaigns and transparent multi-VIP segmentation journeys with social integrations and events. A trend I have seen recently in the industry is responsible gambling, which I think is fantastic as we are maturing as an industry, and it will benefit everyone by educating players more on how to play safely.
I believe we will see an even bigger boost of RG within future gambling communities and social gambling, where players will educate and support each other to stay healthy. I am already seeing this trend in many Facebook and Reddit gambling communities. Over time, the North American industry will flourish as the players they acquire will be more RG-aware and long-term sustainable.