Everything you need to know before launching your first online gambling app or website
09 August 2016
Disclaimer: This blog was originally created in 2016, however, there have been some changes and new rules added over time. We have updated it to be in line with 2021 changes.
As a company that specialises in the development and design of bespoke online gambling, lottery and sports betting products, we deal with a variety of clients with projects at different stages. Some come to us to improve or build on an existing product, some only seek our industry expertise and strategic advice.
We also have many enquiries from businesses looking to launch their first online gambling app and website which need to be created completely from scratch.
One of the most common challenges for new businesses in online gambling is understanding how the industry works and what resources are required to deliver a robust and successful product.
In this updated blog, we would like to share our considerations for developing a winning online gambling product, whether it’s for sports betting, casino or lottery.
In order to create an online gambling app or website, there are specific standards operators need to meet. The gambling industry is highly regulated and therefore requires a licence to manufacture, supply, install or adapt software.
Operators need to acquire a licence before they start development. It’s essential to have a clear understanding of regulations in different countries and their operating standards so everything is implemented throughout the product development.
For example, operators in the UK need to obtain a licence from the UK Gambling Commission. This licence allows operators to provide online gambling services and develop products within the UK.
Whereas other countries and regions require different licences. Take the US as a consideration, where their regulations are more complex as not every state has legalised online gambling and the states where online gambling is regulated have unique regulatory requirements.
By ensuring you have an operating licence that complies with local gambling regulations and their technical standards, you will be able to create a successful gambling website or app for others to use.
Complying with information and data security standards
Online gambling products deal with lots of sensitive customer information, such as bank details and addresses. Operators must respect local laws and security standards.
For example, all UK licence holders are required to adhere to technical standards and requirements. LCCP (licence condition 2.3.1) applies to all non-remote gaming machine technical and gambling software licences as well as remote operating licences. These standards will also grant the same international standards (ISO).
Whereas operators in the US are governed by three sets of regulations, including local, state and federal entities. Operators must abide by different acts, such as the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act and the Amateur Sports Protection Act. So it’s essential new operators have the right data protection processes in place to adhere to local laws.
Understanding the gambling industry
We often come across new companies looking to enter the gambling industry with very limited knowledge about how it operates. You need to understand it inside-out to be able to tailor your products and services to the right customers.
There are many factors that need to be taken into consideration, such as bespoke third-party system integrations, compliance, affiliate organisations and knowing how to tackle gambling-specific challenges. For example, it is important to understand how to integrate your back-end system with an affiliate website, payments provider or a live scores module.
There are also trademark laws prohibiting you from using copyrighted team badges or international event images, such as the Olympics, without paying for them. You can buy the licence or create your own visuals which we have done for many of our clients. These complex processes require specific technology and knowledge, and we advise businesses to seek help from an experienced developer to tackle this.
Knowing your customer
Before releasing a gambling app or website, it is important to understand your target audience and their preferences when it comes to online gambling. It is different from going to real life bookies and casinos. So, being able to identify your customers’ needs and expectations in an online environment is key to providing a successful product. Extensive market research and analysis will help you get a comprehensive understanding of their demographics, behaviours and preferences. Many operators neglect the fact that each territory they operate in has a unique customer base and a one-size fits all approach is unlikely to yield the best results.
As well as market research, it is important to verify your customers when they register an account as part of compliance requirements. Gambling operators are obliged to perform background checks on anyone who registers to ensure they are allowed to do so. Operators are required to confirm the age, location and residential status of a customer to make sure they are of legal age, using their true identity and are allowed to gamble in their jurisdiction. This requires specific system integration with third-party providers to verify the necessary information.
Offering relevant UX
Part of knowing your customer expectations is understanding how they are going to use your online gambling product. Whether it’s to check football scores, place bets or play poker, it needs to be appropriate for the desired activity and offer a slick user experience to make sure they enjoy it.
In addition to having a good understanding of how your customers will use the product, it is important to render designs to different device sizes. As people are becoming more digitally savvy, they have bigger expectations and more device options. For example, there has been a rise in mobile traffic in online gambling compared to tablets or desktops. Operators must ensure their design is responsive and seamless across a range of screen sizes, to provide the best user experience.
For instance, sportsbooks can be compared to large e-commerce sites, such as Amazon. There can be thousands of betting markets across a variety of sports. Customers need to be able to quickly and easily access the ones relevant to them. Offering great UX and appealing design consistently will make your product stand out from the competition and help you retain customers.
Allowing time and budget to market
Building an app or website requires meticulous planning, as various factors might impact the final release date. If you’re thinking about launching an online gambling product for a specific event, such as the World Cup, make sure you allow plenty of time and budget for build and marketing, especially for mobile apps.
New operators might not always be aware that it can take time for their app to be approved by the specific app store.
The most well-known app stores, Apple Store and Play Store, have certain requirements apps need to meet. Developers must ensure the app meets their guidelines and regulations as every store will have specific requirements.
As well as app store requirements, marketing is an important aspect to make time and have the correct budget for. Effective marketing will enhance your App Store Optimisation (ASO) and visibility which will result in higher interactions and engagement.
Selecting the right partner
If you’re a newcomer to the gambling industry or just don’t have enough resources to create a gambling app or website in-house, we advise you to partner up with an experienced provider, whether it’s to help with development, design or consultancy.
We have secured the Remote Gambling Software licence to be able to provide digital solutions to the gambling industry, including new businesses entering the market. Our experts have a vast knowledge and experience in working with different gambling systems and can help you overcome any challenges when building your first product. Take a look at some of the examples of our work with gambling clients.