How to start an online gambling site
From getting a licence and creating a site to choosing software and making a mark in a competitive industry, here’s what starting a gaming site entails
Creating a new online gambling site in the UK looks like a daunting task to most, and indeed, this kind of venture demands some true passion for the field and the will to invest and stick it out to start seeing a nice income from the business.
However, there are also aspects of the online gaming market that make it easier to start an online gambling site than ever before. Software solutions are made for people who don’t know the first thing about programming and UK gambling laws are pretty clear cut and straight forward.
The regulatory matters are the first thing to look into because if you don’t have your licenses in place, you aren’t going to get very far with your online offer. So let’s have a look at that:
Legal stuff first
Before you even start thinking of a proper domain name for your gambling site, you need to look at the types of licenses you will need as put forward by the UK Gambling Commission. The general two licenses needed are the operating licence and the personal management licence.
You need to have the operating licence regardless of being in the UK or not, if you operate from another country you need to apply for a remote operating licence in order to offer UK players games online. The Gambling Commission has many different licenses for different types of games such as betting, bingo, casino games and lotteries.
However, if you are not going to offer your gaming services to British citizens but to other countries and all of the equipment related to your online gaming business is also located abroad, you do not need the licence from the UK Gambling Commission. It might be wise to contact the commission to find out more about the demands regarding the software and other issues that you should be well aware of ahead of starting up your online gambling enterprise.
It may be worth considering seeing if you can get a Start Up Loan (external partner site, link opens in a new tab) to help you with financing, and mentoring to start this business idea. You'll also need to think about registering your business, either as a sole trader or as a company - if a company, then Smarta Formations (external partner site, link opens in a new tab) are an organisation that can help you set up.
It can also be wise to be in contact with a gaming lawyer such as Rick S. Geiger. You can follow him on Twitter here where he brings attention to many interesting aspects of the legal online gambling industry. Sometimes it is simply easier when you can ask your questions to a person and not a search engine or official site.
Creating a site
Creating a gambling site does not require in-depth programming knowledge. Today there are out-of-the-box solutions where you get a ready gambling site with a well-functioning backend system. You can also expect to get different choices of design and layout.
Usually the big gambling software providers brand themselves through their characters and themes. So if you go for a provider like Net Entertainment you will be able to build a site with their cool figures and unique designs. A great advantage with the well-established software providers such as Playtech, NetEnt and Microgaming is that their online solutions are made to truly engage the players while the operator of the site will find it easy to manage it and keep track of the business. But there is more than the actual design and navigation to think about.
Today players want fast and easy solutions and they expect payments to be safe. Therefore you need to consider what sort of payment systems you want to work with. This is something that can come together with the software package you choose and something you should learn more about before you settle for your gambling software.
This video gives you a nice payment systems outline:
The best software
Which software should you choose? You obviously want to give the UK players the games they are looking for and today there are great solutions where you can combine several software giants not to miss out on any important games.
Depending on what type of gambling you will offer, casino games and/or poker games, you might want to focus on a provider that can bring you important functions like live games, multi-player games, and mobile games.
The mobile gaming market is only growing and therefore it will make little sense to offer a gambling site not adjusted to smaller screens. In fact, there are plenty of gaming providers who focus solely on the mobile players. When it comes to poker a lot of players participating is a must and you should opt for a poker network that can give your site the type of action that poker players are looking for.
To make money from a gambling site you need players. The revenues come from the losses of players so you will need a lot of them, but how will you get new players to discover your site? Today online gambling sites must understand SEO and how to appear where potential new players are online. This means that important search terms must be conquered and proper advertising in social media must also be in place. This can take a lot of time because, as you are probably aware of, the gambling market online is highly saturated. At the same time a PwC report on the casino and online gambling market shows that people are betting more and more, so there is room for more gambling sites. And if you understand how to work with online marketing correctly make use of venues like:
- Gambling forums
- Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter
- Article marketing and blogging
There is a chance that the search engines will start listing you in their free search results so that you can get more traffic and new players making your site into a lucrative venture.
As mentioned the competition is stiff and you can’t expect to take over well established brands such as Titanbet poker UK whose owner Teddy Sagi’s appearances in the gambling news has a positive effect on the brand no matter what the stories are about.
People like Teddy Sagi have a lot of experience and therefore they get a headstart even when they kick off completely new ventures. A good example of this is the team behind the online casino Mr Green, Fredrik Sidfalk, Henrik Bergquist and Mikael Pawlo. Sidfalk and Bergquist were on the team that founded Betsson which is one of the major online gambling brands with a UK licence online today.
With this type of background they don’t only know what players are looking for, they also have the experience of running gambling platforms and know what to look out for. But one cannot just blame the competition for not making it to the top.
There are many reasons why some casinos find themselves blacklisted both by the players and by legal institutions. When the business is not managed correctly it will influence the success of the site and if you don’t have prior experience of offering games online it will pay off to learn as much as possible about possible pitfalls and also how to navigate the legal stuff correctly.