How is Big Data used by online casinos?


If you spend much time in a casino, you’ll quickly notice the familiar relationships that develop between croupiers and their regular players. Casinos are an unusual and unique world, many patrons visit to unwind or to meet a friendly community; a certain level of player/dealer intimacy certainly helps in that aim.

Online establishments can sometimes struggle to offer the same level of community experience. Many of the latest, most advanced casinos include chat functions, live games and “hosts” to help recreate the “live playing experience”. However, Big Data can also play an important part in improving the consumer’s gaming experience.

Big Data refers to the extremely large data sets available to modern companies and researchers; often derived from cookies, loyalty cards and other tracking tools. In few industries do consumers reveal as much about their preferences as they do while gambling and casinos record it all through cameras, chip scanners and loyalty cards.

An online casino will know, for example, exactly what games a customer plays, when and with what pattern. Some players will make regular, predictable deposits and play slot games with an unwavering stake, while another might play Poker tournaments and turn to roulette if winning. The biggest sectors of the online gambling market are sports, bingo and table games. Given that the games are generally provided by a small pool of developers, and sports odds set by tote, the main factor that distinguishes competing gaming brands is bonus offering. Customer data can be invaluable in crafting personalized bonus messages, arriving at relevant times.

Part of the challenge is gathering useful data from as many sources as possible. Fortunately a new generation of social games is emerging which will likely connect directly into social media. If they take off, gambling businesses will be able to plumb Facebook and Twitter accounts for telling indicators. Betting sites often offer hospitality packages and prize draws to reward loyal players and incentivise regular play; they would have much more emotional draw if they could be individually targeted to a customer’s favourite team or band.

Casinos already offer bonuses tailored to a player’s favourite game type. However, Big Data at sites including Uptown Aces, promise the ability to tailor bonuses on a completely individual level. For example, some casinos are now timing bonus emails to coincide with player’s return from work, and adding extra offers for their favourite teams.

Sports betting has long been the richest online gambling market, with the vast majority of gambling advertising focused on, and screened around major sporting events. Online sportsbooks have adopted a strategy of competing indirectly on “insurance” or “money back” deals – which play to natural superstition and avoid damaging price competition.

The problem is, we each have our individual bugbears and bogey men when sports betting. One player may be constantly undone by last minute penalties, while another may constantly see his team reduced to 10 men. The ultimate objective of Big Data will be achieved when sportsbooks can seamlessly anticipate our worries and choices, providing individual markets based on the fate of previous bets.

Big Data has become a buzzword over the last decade, but for good reason. The human race now generates vastly more data than it can currently find a use for, finding that use will undoubtedly create many more efficiencies in our lives. As companies learn how to simplify and sort their vast Excel spreadsheets, they should take some pointers from the gaming industry – where information has been successfully leveraged for long term profit.

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Published by

Mario Meir-Huber

I work as Big Data Architect for Microsoft. With this role, I support my customers in applying Big Data technologies - mainly Hadoop/Spark - for their use-cases. I also teach this topic at various universities and frequently speak at various Conferences. In 2010 I wrote a book about Cloud Computing, which is often used at German & Austrian Universities. In my home country (Austria) I am part of several organisations on Big Data.

One thought on “How is Big Data used by online casinos?”

  1. digital vaults. Also problem gambling can be measured and acted upon.

    Unlike brick and mortar casinos there is a large amount of regulation happening with LICENSED jurisdictions. This is just as big a challenge.

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