Online Gaming World SurveyOnline gaming continues to generate much debate, pro and con, within the industry and in government. Many states (by some accounts as many as 12) are considering legislation to legalize some form of online gaming within their jurisdictions. While revenues generated  thus far in Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware have failed to live up to initial projections, there is still a belief among some that online gaming could have a big, negative impact on traditional brick-and-mortar casinos.

In an attempt to determine that impact, we recently conducted our annual survey of almost 4,000 gaming consumers. We asked them about their online gaming activities as well as their casino-visitation patterns. The survey as well attempted to determine what gamblers are looking for in online gaming, in terms of such things as branding, desired activities and the security of their personal information. We also utilized the survey results to identify distinct consumer segments in gaming. 

Overall, our survey results indicate that online gaming might not negatively impact visitation patterns to traditional brick-and-mortar casinos. In fact, our survey results suggest that if developed and implemented properly, online gaming could potentially increase revenues for casino operators.  Some specific highlights from our survey include the following:

Over two-thirds say online gaming is not expected to impact casino visitation patterns. Sixty-seven percent of survey respondents indicated that online gaming would not negatively impact their visitation patterns to brick-and-mortar casinos. This outcome is similar (at least in magnitude) to last year’s survey, when over 85 percent of respondents said legalized online gaming would not impact their visitation patterns.

Familiarity with the online gaming operator is important. Our survey indicates that most consumers would be more comfortable with online gaming sites run by known casino operators.  Eighty-five percent of our respondents indicated they would be more likely to gamble on an Internet site operated by a known casino operator.

• Loyalty program integration is key. Online gamers in our survey indicate that they have a strong desire to earn loyalty points during their online play. Eighty-six percent of survey respondents said they would be attracted to an Internet gaming site that also allows them to earn loyalty points. These results could indicate additional opportunities for traditional casino operators to leverage their loyalty programs in the online world.

Meanwhile, through our analysis of the survey results, we were able to identify five distinct customer segments based on a variety of gambling and visitation patterns.  These segments are: “Casual Players,” “Destination Players,” “Indifferent Members,” “Loyal Members” and “Online Enthusiasts.” Within the Online Enthusiast segment, here are a couple of key insights we identified:

• Casino-Visitation Frequency: This segment averaged almost five visits to a brick-and-mortar casino last year. This was the second-highest casino visit average amongst all the segments, following only the Destination Player segment.

• Average Annual Theo: This segment had the second-highest average annual theo value among all segments (see chart), behind only the Destination Player segment.

Bottom line, this survey, like last year’s, suggests that brick-and-mortar casinos may possibly benefit from an expansion in online gaming in America.  If an expansion does happen, these results also indicate that those casinos that can offer a secure gaming platform, and one which is integrated into their loyalty program, would likely be the ones to succeed in the online gaming market.


John Bonno (jbonno@alixpartners.com) is a director in the Gaming Practice and Drew Carter (dcarter@alixpartners.com) is a managing director in the IT & Applied Analytics Practice at AlixPartners, LLP, the global business-advisory firm (www.alixpartners.com).