Motivations of gambling

As I wrote in my previous blog it is extremely important to know your customers and understand their needs. Customers and their needs unfortunately vary quite a lot and that makes our business complicated but also interesting.

Old-fashioned way to analyze customers is based on sex and age. I don’t believe on that method at all! All women or millennials are not same kind of consumers. I admit that there are some major differences between the gambling habits of women and men, but you can’t utilize that information because it doesn’t tell almost anything about them as gamblers. If you know that women are buying more scratch cards than men or men are playing more horse racing than women, what then? Just small percent of men are interested in horse betting and you should know who they are and understand why they are doing that.

There are now lots of talk about millennials and digitalization. That’s is relevant discussion but not in that way which seems to be the most usual way to do it. Digitalization is important change to everybody not only to young customers! Millennials are more used to use internet and mobile solutions, but also older customers have adopted those new channels. Millennials are playing more social games, but not all of them and there are more and more older people doing that too.

I’m not sure if it will be possible to understand all individual needs of your customers in the future. Anyhow, now it’s not possible due to so huge amount of data which we need to do that and it’s still expensive try to use all that data. Probably data scientists will find more effective and cheaper ways to take care of those analyzes in next coming years. At this moment companies like Google, Amazon and Facebook are utilizing that kind of knowledge already and other businesses should follow then as soon as possible.

Because it is in practice impossible to serve all our customers from individual basis we should find out other ways to do it. I think that we could analyze our big data of customer behavior and based on that categorize our customers to different groups which are based on motivation of gambling. In old days companies used to make customer surveys where they asked why people are playing games. Some companies are still doing that but that’s almost useless. It’s the fact that people give wrong answers when you asked about their gaming and gambling. They underestimate their consumption in that area and don’t tell the real reasons for gambling. It’s very common to say reasons which sound acceptable from public opinion point of view. I’m not saying that companies shouldn’t use customer surveys at all, but I’m saying that they should understand better the role of data analytics.

I try to describe my idea here in short way. It would be too long story to write is with all details. Let’s decide that there are just three main reasons for gambling and all other motivations are subsections of those three. Based on my knowledge those main reasons are: 1. dreaming, 2. to pass the time and 3. sports. It’s important to understand that one single customer could have all those reasons in different time and place. It means that we can’t say that customer X is “dreamer” and customer Z is “sport fan” but we could say that customer X’s main motivation for gambling is dreaming and that information we could use. That information we could find out from our customer database. I know that there are still some gambling companies who don’t have real customer database and they can’t use that method. To be honest, it’s not the biggest problem which those companies have…!

I’ll try to explain a little bit more my idea. Let’s take first “dreaming”. Quite many people are dreaming about the better life, but they don’t have practical ways to change it. Although almost everybody knows that it’s real difficult to win big money from gambling they are still willing to try. The main two subsections in “dreaming” are “daily dreamers” and “life change dreamers”. Daily dreamers are buying quite often scratch cards and playing Keno and that kind of games and they would like to win just some money. Life change dreamers are spending just some euros mainly to lottery games and not weekly basis. They might buy lottery tickets when there is big jackpot in that game. The big part of their playing is to dream about what I would do if I would win. Then there are lots of people who has “extra time” and they spend part of that to gambling. In that area social games have big part but also slot machines or even casinos are part of that life. The third main motivation is sport and there are two main subsections: sport fans and sport punters. Sport fans are interested in sports and they spend lots of time to watch sports and sometimes spend some euros for sports (& horse) betting. Gamblers are also interested in sports, but they are mainly keen on betting. They try to use their expertise in sports to make money.

It’s important to know what kind of motivations there are and what kind of moments and places might be favorable for different motivations – for example men might have some extra time in shopping centers. As a disclaimer I would like to say that gambling companies should take care responsible gaming issues all the time and shouldn’t misuse information based on their databases. I’ll write more about responsible gaming sometimes later.

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