Seven Reasons to Launch Sports Betting with Free-to-Play Games

Free-to-Play games, also known as ‘F2P’ games, have grown increasingly popular as customer acquisition and retention tools with operators in Europe.

Free-to-Play games present an immediate opportunity for operators in the US that will be rolling out sports betting operations in the coming weeks, months and years.

Quite simply: F2P ‘sports betting lite’ games are a simple, legal and effective first step to engaging, acquiring and retaining your future customers. It’s the quickest and cheapest way to start engaging sports bettors of all types.

Most importantly, F2P games drive clicks, sign-ups, deposits and bets when integrated with live sports books.

While F2P games are obviously not THE complete answer, in the mix of owned, earned and paid media, Free-to-Play games offer a compelling and cost-effective starting point to the customer acquisition mix. There are few better ways to prepare for live sports book for your customers, and for your team.

Since we founded Chalkline three years ago, we’ve connected with and listened to dozens of operators. We’ve operated a sports book inside a casino. We’ve run online sports books and ADWs.

And, as we reflect on what this historic post-PASPA opportunity is for operators, we begin with a focus on a few key values:

  • Keep it simple.
    Simplicity empowers you to start customer acquisition for your (future) sports book today while driving real value for your property.
  • Educate your customers.
    Many Americans will hear about sports betting, and it’s good business to deliver learning experiences plus responsible gaming as part of the mix.
  • There’s a huge cost benefit to starting now.
    First movers will not be the only winners in the sports betting space, but there are many cost-effective programs that savvy marketers can kick off today, even in states that do not yet have regulated sports betting.

With that, we present seven reasons to launch sports betting with Free-to-Play sports betting games.

1. A Free-to-Play sports betting ‘front door’ is the simplest and most economical way to get started today.

Stat: Free-to-play live odds ‘sports betting’ games are legal in 50 states. Today.

Free-to-Play Games with Tropicana Sports

An operator can launch a custom-designed F2P ‘Front Door’ for sports betting in less than two weeks.

F2P sports games empower operators to engage existing and new customers around sporting events that fans care about. Launching with a mix of NFL, NCAA Football, NBA, NHL and even MMA or Horse Racing F2P games gives you an opportunity to provide a breadth of content immediately.

2. Engage and qualify your existing loyalty program members around live sporting events.

Stat: 55-70% of all casino loyalty program members bet on sports.

Very few Americans have placed a legal sports bet. According to the AGA, last year 97% of all sports betting in America was done illegally.

Live sports are the most reliable TV ratings draw across your customer base. Every person on your loyalty program has a favorite sport, a favorite team or a favorite event.

Free-to-Play Games Pro Tip

Pro tip: Use on-property prizing to start simply. Give your existing customer base an opportunity to ‘Bet on the Big Game’ for room nights, free slots play or even future site credits when you roll out your sports book.

3. Free-to-Play enables you to acquire customers at a low cost.

Stats: Chalkline programs can acquire F2P customers for single-digit dollars per player. Current customer acquisition costs in NJ are $250-$300.

Marketing dollars spent today will return hundreds as sports betting regulation rolls across the USA. Sports bettors are typically brand-loyal, and the average player will spend 18-24+ months with a book.

Eilers & Krejcik Gaming estimates that by 2023, nearly 30 states will have regulated sports betting.

The economics are clear: operators that wait to start capturing customers the day that sports betting goes live in a state (or after) will pay a premium and face stiff competition.

4. Use Free-to-Play retail programs to capture email addresses and mobile numbers from anonymous guests across your property.

Fact: Most casinos have hundreds, if not thousands, of ‘Unknown Patrons’ visit their property every day.

What percentage of your retail visitors do you, as an operator, have an email address or mobile number for?

With simple retail F2P sports betting programs, you can build your database with new customers that are already engaged with your property–like patrons sitting in property sports bars.

Sports betting games leverage pop culture waves that engage players around the Super Bowl, March Madness, The Masters, The Kentucky Derby, the next Conor McGregor fight. Each event provides a significant opportunity to capture data from your patrons.

5. Provide live-odds ‘Bettor Education’ games to future customers.

Stat: 30,000,000+ Americans will place their first legal sports bet over the next five years, according to the American Gaming Association.

Let’s face the facts: many future sports bettors do not yet understand spreads, fractional odds or moneylines.

Operators educate players about craps, roulette and other games. Further, operators provide low-stakes poker tables for players to start at. It’s a smart practice and good for business.

Why not provide education for sports betting?

Chalkline Free-to-Play Games are built with live odds from any sports betting data feed.

Players can naturally progress from simple ‘spread pick’em games’ to ‘correct score games’ to mixed ‘sports betting markets PLUS player prop’ games.

Pro Tip

Pro tip: the parlay picks from a F2P games can be converted to a QR code that can be scanned for wager entry by a betting terminal when the sports book is live. And, of course, parlays have significantly higher margins in real money play.
Free-to-Play Games

6. Free-to-Play games are inherently social, and empower you to convert social visitors and convert to email addresses or mobile numbers.

Stat: 77% of online customers prefer email over social for permission-based promotional messages.

Weekly Packers Pick Em

F2P sports betting games (for prizes) provide a frictionless incentive for social fans or web visitors to share an email address or mobile number and play a game.

Good news: sports betting games are inherently social AND the vast majority of social media traffic is mobile. Offering mobile-first F2P games simply meets bettors on their preferred digital device.

7. Free-to-Play Games pay for themselves almost immediately.

Stat: 20+% of F2P players click on revenue opportunities for operators, both inside and outside of live sportsbook.

Chalkline BettorGames engage customers, then consistently deliver the customer to the next revenue opportunity.

Free-to-Play games deliver the first step in a player progressing to full registration for a sports book. Chalkline Sports allows players to port their light registration profiles over to a sports book registration with a single click.

Chalkline BettorGames have also driven thousands of clicks to rewards program sign-up pages, online casino registrations, and live event ticket sales.

Looking Ahead: integrations drive even greater value.

Free-to-Play games can:

  • feed customer leads directly into your CRM and customer cultivation flows with key data markers from Chalkline.
  • deliver state-specific messaging in all transactional emails.
  • incorporate custom odds feeds for automated betslip population in your live sportsbook.
  • integrate with ad tech to significantly drive down customer acquisition costs.

Pro Tip

Pro tip: Once sportsbook goes live, Chalkline Sports games enable players to place free-to-play picks directly into a live sports book.
Sunbet Deep Link

About Chalkline Sports

Chalkline Sports provides turnkey solutions for operators and media companies to acquire and engage sports bettors at scale. We build simple, fun, mobile-first games for sports bettors of all experience levels. Then, we measure everything and deliver actionable data to our clients.

Learn more about our BettorGames and BettorBI tools.

Want to Learn More?