Surprise Rewards to Retain Online Casino Players

6 min readDec 2, 2021


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Legal gambling games are a growing trend across the world. The advent and subsequent normalization of online gambling games powered by cloud technology have made this a worldwide phenomenon overcoming the physical barriers, which were previously constraints to a global audience.

The online gambling industry has leveraged some of the most advanced cloud technologies to store player information, drastically reduce lag and safeguard data using private servers. Handling traffic during peak demand is also a non-issue anymore with scalable servers. Not only do businesses remove the risk of losing business due to server issues, but the gamers have the smoothest online gambling experience. After all, not everyone can be regulars at a casino in the strip!

Gaming is a fiercely competitive industry today, especially after the spike in interest during the pandemic season. Once the initial interest fades away, the player base will stay active only with a consistent incentive of a rewards program.

The House always wins!

The online gambling industry is a lucrative genre so far. As of 2021, the online casino genre is sitting at a $230 billion value in the market.

There is a golden saying in the gambling circles — The house always wins. Sure, players occasionally win, but most players come back for another try after rounds and rounds of losses. Why is this?

The near-miss effect is a term used in psychology that perfectly explains this effect. In the ‘lost by a whisker’ mindset, be it a card game, lottery jackpot, or a racing game, the player can’t help but carry the adrenaline rush further and try to win.

While the gambling industry has pioneered in recreating this effect for a long time now, there’s a reason players stick on to gambling — win or lose.

Surprise Rewards.

Why Are Rewards Imperative in Online Casino Games?

There are fixed action rewards in games. The player is aware of the effort estimation to attain the said rewards. Perfectionists, and completionists who will stop at nothing but 100% achievements, are the perfect candidates for fixed action rewards.

But the majority of the players aren’t driven by the completionist mindset. When talking about gambling games, in particular, there isn’t even a completion aspect. For such players, there are surprise rewards.

Surprise rewards bring an uncertainty element into the mix, which makes the result unpredictable and exciting. We’ve seen this in games under the guises of loot boxes and mystery boxes.

How successful are these reward tactics? They are projected to generate more than $20 billion in market revenue by 2025!

Surprise rewards are a perfect solution to the player crunch and retention in online casino games. These rewards give the players small victories in their journey towards the big payout.

Even psychological studies prove random rewards as the ideal method to keep players hooked. There was a study conducted with lab rats and pigeons. The subjects could press two buttons. One button gave out food, and the other one gave out random items. On average, these subjects pressed the button for the random items more often. They chose the food at random intervals and spent more time doing it!

Psychologists derived that variable ratio enforcement fueled the decision of the subjects to choose the random reward button. When the rewards are predictable, there is not a lot of drive and incentive for the players to retry.

The study is a classic blueprint for the online gambling industry. The study can be comparable to human behavior. Casino games can leverage this pattern to groom human behavior and keep the players online playing their games, betting, and increasing their spending for surprise rewards at random intervals.

A classic real-world gaming example is Fortnite. The players are loyal to the game thanks to the surprise rewards.

How Do Analytics and Artificial Intelligence Fit In?

Everyone has received and given birthday and Christmas presents at least once in their lifetime. There is a bit of research involved, even in something as classic as this. People try to gift something that the person likes or has been eyeing on for a while. Personalized gifts are well received.

The same applies to surprise rewards in gaming. Random rewards, as enticing as they may be, won’t make a lot of sense after a point if they are just unique for namesake.

There are hundreds and thousands of in-game rewards and items. It is impossible to identify and allot unique gifts that appeal to every player when the player’s count is above millions.

Player Behavior

The casino genre is massive, so is the player base. Putting these players in a couple of baskets is not a feasible option. What businesses should look at is critical data points from user behavior online and in-game.

The massive data pool can help identify player footprint and behavioral patterns, bringing businesses one step closer to providing personalized options in the surprise rewards.

Recommendation Engine

As the next step, the behavioral data can help recommendation engines recommend in-game items and microtransactions, personalized to the user’s action and profile.

Recommendation engines can analyze the player profile and patterns to help gambling businesses provide their massive user base with hyper-personalized surprise rewards.

Game Analytics is the one-stop-shop to address many gaming challenges

Data is the fundamental aspect of business intelligence and predictive analytics. Structuring this data and making sense of it to make data-driven business decisions is imperative for a business.

Some data points gaming businesses can look to address are:

  1. How active is the player?
  2. Where do the players spend most of their time?
  3. What are the pain points/levels that they find challenging?
  4. Favorite in-game items or microtransactions.

These points address more than just surprise rewards. A complete player profile is available for businesses that can help in intuitive decision-making. With gaming analytics, businesses can look to address nuances by addressing them with data-driven decisions. It is a positive domino effect, setting things in motion.

The churn rate is a real issue for online gambling games. Game analytics with the right data points help reduce churn rates in gambling games using various data mining algorithms.

Player data is used to forecast player behavior to keep the player engaged with personal recommendations and unique rewards. A complex decision tree will take care of this in real-time without a need for manual intervention.

Personalized Marketing is another aspect that businesses have to address. Solid data, paired with predictive analytics, will churn out personalized marketing with a breeze, roping in new players and retaining existing ones in real-time.

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Game analytics can power business intelligence with data-driven solutions addressing core nuances of the gambling industry while establishing player retention, predicting revenue, and identifying and mitigating risks and fraud.

Vital player KPIs, addressed by data-driven solutions, provide the player with a personalized gaming experience of which surprise reward is only a piece of the puzzle. Game analytics will set the foundation for gaming data and smart data-driven business decisions.

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