Christina Thakor-Rankin, Chief Consultant at 1710 Gaming Ltd: “The Aim of Regulation is to Ensure That Everyone Plays by the Same Rules”

Christina Thakor-Rankin, Chief Consultant at 1710 Gaming Ltd: “The Aim of Regulation is to Ensure That Everyone Plays by the Same Rules”

How does legislative regulation affect the promotion of gambling and betting projects online? What factors are important for implementing a player retention campaign? How to promote online projects on the legal gambling market of Ukraine? Christina Thakor-Rankin, Chief Consultant at 1710 Gaming Ltd. answered these and other questions in an interview with Kyiv iGaming Affiliate Conference 2021.

Christina has over 25 years of experience in the betting and gambling industry. The specialist provides advice on all aspects of the gambling cycle: from market research and analytics to licensing, business launch and project management. Previously, the expert held senior management positions at renowned global companies such as William Hill and Virgin.

In an exclusive interview, Christina shared her expert opinion on how to promote online gambling websites in Ukraine in the most efficient way. The specialist also talked about the work of affiliates and explained what peculiarities are key for generating traffic on new markets.

The interviewer: Kyiv iGaming Affiliate Conference (KiAC)

The respondent: Christina Thakor-Rankin (C.T.R.)

KiAC: How does legislative regulation of the gambling industry influence promotion of gambling and betting projects on the Internet?

C.T.R.: Any form of legislative regulation will have some impact on how betting and gambling is promoted.

The most basic form of impact is that the product is age restricted (in most countries 18+), so straight away there is an impact on where, when or how betting and gambling products can be advertised or promoted across different channels such as no TV advertising before 9.00 pm or social media rules to prevent children seeing gambling content.

From here there are degrees of impact depending on the different laws and regulations in place in a country. For example, from gambling regulations with guidelines about player protection and how gambling must be promoted responsibly, to national consumer protection laws relating to bonuses, offers and incentives and marketing which apply to all businesses and industries.

KiAC: Is there a need to regulate the activity of affiliates separately? Why?

C.T.R.: Whether there is a need or not is always going to subject to debate. Regulation usually comes into place for two reasons - an opportunity to generate revenue (such as tax or license fees) or because people are behaving badly and pushing the boundaries of what is appropriate, and self-regulation if it exists is no longer working.

The aim of regulation is to ensure that everyone plays by the same rules, keeping good affiliates and their reputations safe and pushing bad ones out of the market. Where the situation is not good is if the regulation exists, but no-one is monitoring or enforcing it. This means that the bad affiliates do what they like and get away with it, whilst the good affiliates end up losing out, or ‘being punished’ because they are trying to do the right thing.

KiAC: In your opinion, what is more important for gambling business today – to attract or retain customers? Why?

C.T.R.: Attract. Keeping them assumes that you got them in the first place. If you can’t attract them, you can’t get them. And if you can’t get them then who are you keeping?

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KiAC: Tell us about efficient player retention techniques for online casinos and betting outlets.

C.T.R.: In a value driven industry where customers average between 3 to 5 accounts and have very little brand loyalty, quality content and treating each player like a VIP is king. If you don’t give the customer what they want, your competitors will.

The next best thing is innovation or exclusivity – something which players can only get with you, whether it’s a new feature, game or enhanced value – this could be guaranteed odds, free spins or anything which gives the customer more for less. And let’s be honest all of this innovation, exclusivity and enhanced experience is going to cost money – so understanding which customers are worth keeping and which are simply casual visitors is really important too.

KiAC: What nuances should affiliates take into account when they begin to acquire traffic on new markets?

C.T.R.: Take the time to understand what motivates the customer and when and why.

For example, football bettors. In some parts of the world this will be driven by peer and social activity – a fun bet whilst watching the match with friends. In others it will be driven by patriotism, loyalty and showing support for the team. And in others it is a test of their skill and knowledge. Once you know the reason for betting it becomes much easier to build a campaign that engages with the customer in a way that means something to them.

Also think laterally. Everyone thinks betting is just for men. It absolutely is not. But how you engage the non-male betting demographic will determine who successful you are - many operators do very well from novelty and specials markets – affiliates are a little bit behind the curve on this opportunity.

KiAC: Let’s suppose that a gambling operator decides to enter the Ukrainian market, where gambling business has been legalized. What steps will you recommend to take to promote an online project?

C.T.R.: This goes back to the point above.

What does your typical Ukrainian betting and gambling customer look like? What is their attitude to betting and gambling - are some products more acceptable to some types of player more than others e.g. sports betting is seen as more acceptable than casino gambling?

Look at which operators targeted the country when betting and gambling was not legal and which acquisition methods they were using, to get an idea of what customers are already familiar with and like playing.

Then look at the national attitude to gambling, and those customers who did not bet illegally before but might do now it is allowed. Will older people be open to gambling online or are the most likely players under the age of 35 – if so, what is the best way of engaging that group - most likely influencers and endorsements and peer recommendations.

For older people who are alone during the day a product which is low spend and offers community engagement might work best such as bingo or poker/card games.

And keep an eye out for global trends and see which ones might apply to Ukraine e.g. esports betting and free to play sports jackpots - a fantastic way of engaging those who love sport but are nervous first time bettors.


Join Kyiv iGaming Affiliate Conference 2021 on June 16 to learn about the methods of effective business promotion in the gambling vertical!

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