Published: 11 January, 2022

Freeplay: The key qualities

Daniel Kustelski, Co-founder and CEO of Chalkline, shares four ways in which operators can maximise the potential of freeplay content

Since the skyrocketing success of Sky Sports’ Super 6 (and all the successful games before it), freeplay games have been a central acquisition and retention tool for operators around the world.

Face it, every bettor can’t bet every day or week, so how can operators keep them engaged, educated and entertained when they’re not betting? The answer is simple: freeplay games. 

But leveraging freeplay content is not without its challenges. Below, I share four key characteristics of the most effective freeplay sports game programs. 

1. Educate and Acclimate New Bettors

For new bettors, sports betting can be intimidating and complicated. Especially in the US market, you have to assume that your new customers aren’t familiar with betting concepts and terminology.

Working in gaming, I hear these questions all the time: what is a money line? What’s a half-time total? To help with this learning curve, education is key. 

Casinos educate players all the time for table games like craps and roulette, because it’s fun for customers and good for business.

Especially with your VIPs, providing new betting experiences (in-play, anyone?) in a freeplay setting will give players a risk-free chance to experience their favourite sporting event in a new way.  

The best freeplay programs empower players to learn. For example, you can incorporate tips, instructions and definitions into your freeplay games, and let new bettors learn at their own pace.

Nearly 20% of all freeplay players on our platform engage with helpful information: ‘How to Play’ pages, FAQs or tool tips. Meet players in their comfort zone, and it’ll create a much better experience for your customers. 

2. Localise and Personalise

Sports bettors come in all shapes, sizes and experience levels. To deliver great betting experiences, whether real money or freeplay, you must understand what your bettors like – their favourite teams, their favourite players, their familiarity with certain bet types – these are the characteristics that make bettors tick. Operators benefit greatly from building personalisation in your freeplay games.

Start with localisation, offering games based around teams in your bettors' geographical area. After that, track their freeplay game behaviour to see which teams, leagues and athletes they like to engage with.

With this data, you can craft more personalised experiences – and have a better shot at engaging and retaining players in the long term.

There’s a lot of noise in the market right now. The more you localise and personalise your freeplay games, the more likely you are to deliver relevant campaigns that speak to your bettors’ passion points, habits, and preferences, setting you up for more long-term revenue opportunities.

3. Easily Integrate with your Marketing Tech

As an operator, your teams spend a lot of time building customer journeys or cultivation flows. The best freeplay sports games will integrate into those journeys and feed customer data into your marketing stack in real time. It can start with Single Sign On, so that freeplay games essentially become a player’s first step towards registration and a deposit. Or, it can be a real-time update to your CRM so that you can convert the player around a big betting event.

If you’re a casino with a loyalty program, a freeplay sports game can provide a highly engaging experience for VIPs to earn (or burn) loyalty points around their favourite team or sport. 

4. Build Actionable Data Profiles for Conversions and Cross-Sells

Freeplay games can help you understand your players and get them to the next right step.

If you’re a casino with uncarded players watching The Big Game in your sports bar, a QR code or digital signage can easily convert those players into an email address or mobile number. 

And once you convert them, those freeplay player segments can inform your strategies and tactics for a range of player personas.