Payment processing, geolocation and product quality are three of the most commonly cited forces depressing revenue. All are improving, but at a sluggish pace unlikely to abate anytime soon.
In the meantime, there’s a simple step New Jersey operators could take to improve revenue: adding uniform trust seals to their online poker and casino sites, a feature curiously absent in the status quo.
The trust seal I have in mind would:
I think there are three outcomes this trust seal can drive: increased consumer education, legal / illegal delineation and improving conversion rates.
In terms of the percentage of residents aware of legal online gambling in NJ, I’ve heard numbers ranging from 10% to 50%. Our own internal research suggests that ~60% of males age 25-44 are unaware that regulated, legal online poker and casino games exist.
A trust seal won’t reach all, or even most, of these consumers. But it will reach some. And it will also increase the level of education among existing customers, making those customers more effective, reliable ambassadors for the product within their own social sphere.
Executives at nearly every regulated site have bemoaned the revenue lost to illegal sites.
Fair enough; offshore sites enjoy lower (or no) taxes and regulatory overhead, offer players an easier sign up process and, in the case of poker, a wider array of games to choose from.
The one thing that regulated sites can offer that an illegal site can’t: the protections and assurances that come with being licensed and regulated by the DGE.
But the industry has done an incomplete job to date of communicating that difference to consumers. A standardized trust seal deployed by all regulated sites would help teach consumers the critical, but not always readily apparent, differences between legal and illegal sites and provide consumers with a tool to quickly distinguish between the two.
And logic suggests that a clear government endorsement of online gambling – an activity that has been mired in legal ambiguity for over a decade – could easily provide the necessary nudge to consumers on the fence about playing online, especially with a brand they might be less familiar with – and especially again when that brand asks for things like bank information and social security numbers.
As the table below generates, there’s an almost-improbable lack of consistency among NJ’s regulated poker and casino sites when it comes to use of trust seals.
A few quick stats also make the point:
|Site||Which seal||Where||Clickable||Links to...|
|Borgata Casino||DGE Logo||Footer||Yes||DGE Home page|
|Borgata Poker||DGE Logo||Footer||Yes||DGE Home page|
|Party NJ||DGE Logo||Footer||Yes||DGE Home page|
|888 Main||NJ State Logo w/ license number||Above fold||Yes||Internal page with information|
|888 Casino||NJ State Logo w/ license number||Above fold||Yes||Internal page with information|
|888 Poker||NJ State Logo w/ license number||Above fold||Yes||Internal page with information|
|Caesars Casino||NJ State Logo, no license||Below fold||No||n/a|
|Golden Nugget||US flag icon, text of license number||Footer||No||n/a|
|Tropicana||Text link to DGE||Footer||Yes||IGP holder list|
|Virgin||Text link to DGE||Footer||Yes||IGP holder list|
Here’s a quick sampling of the various seals used by sites. These are actual size as they appear on the sites:
As mentioned earlier, placement is a major issue. Consider Borgata, which drops the seal down at the very bottom of a fairly long page:
Contrast that with 888, which features the seal in a prime piece of home page real estate, while giving consumers an additional opportunity to access the same information via the US flag icon / New Jersey text: