Sportsbook players: ever get an email from your sportsbook to play in a blackjack tournamet? Casino players: ever solicited by your customer support rep to play Texas Holdem? Poker sharks: ever clicked on that blackjack icon that appears at the top of your poker table image, hoping to make big bucks playing 21? No matter which type of gaming you prefer, such cross marketing techniques are regular nowadays. Here’s why.
A Little History
When internet gaming first got big, probably circa 2000, there were 3 distinct camps: sportsbooks, casinos, and poker rooms. In general, these different genres of gambling did not mix. Most reputable operations chose to play it safe and stick with their respective specialty, in order to provide the very best gaming experience possible for their players. The result of this business model, to a degree, was the development of internet mega-brand casino or sportsbook or poker sites. They all pretty much kept to themselves, mostly because gaming technology and financial transaction processing was still in its infancy (so to speak).
Fast forward to 2005, before the USA’s passage of UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act), an eleventh hour addition to the much needed National Port Security Act. Suddenly, sportsbooks began to realize that they could greatly improve their operations by offering casino games and poker. Likewise, many casino brands adopted poker networks and created their own brands (although to be clear, most all casinos, with the exception of 888.com and PartyPoker.com, DID NOT add a sportsbook to their general operations). Poker rooms also jumped in and starting offering casino games, initially starting with Party Poker’s launch of “Party Casino” and later “Party Bets”.
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This natural evolutionary step in the development of web gaming made sense: many brick and mortar casinos, like the famous Wynn Casino and Resort in Las Vegas, offer poker, casino, sportsbook, and horse betting to its customers. In fact, if you’ve ever visited The Wynn, you’ll note that it is literally possible to walk over to the sportsbook and place a bet while your blackjack dealer is shuffling up for the next shoe. On your way back to the table, you can swing by the racebook or even grab a refreshment . All of this was created to offer “one stop shopping” for hotel guests, so that they wouldn’t stray outside the resort and spend their money elsewhere.
One problem facing many sportsbooks that wanted to incorporate online casino games and poker was that the financial aspects of each type of gambling were all extremely different. In sports betting, bets are made on inexact odds and measured by risk. With casino games, the odds are fixed and relatively predictable in terms of return. Finally, with poker, online gaming sites make money on “rake” per hand, essentially a surcharge for using the poker site’s internet infrastructure for your game of Texas Holdem. This meant that some sort of baseline financial processing system had to be created that would allow players to move their money between each type of gambling, without defrauding the sportsbook/casino/poker room, and most importantly, in a manner that did not allow the internet gaming site to take advantage of the player.
So the online gaming operations pressed forward with the creation of one important technology: The Common Wallet. The common wallet allowed players to make one deposit after signup at a sportsbook/casino/poker room that could be used across each different genre of gaming. Monies used in the sportsbook were subject to sports betting bonus rollover requirements, just as money used in the casino and poker room were each subject to their own bonus conditions. For the first time in history, online gambling sites successfully mimicked offline casinos, creating mega-sites that serviced all sorts of gamblers, opposed to just mega-brands with singular gaming offerings.
Now, sportsbooks could recoup losses from a tough weekend of NFL betting if they encouraged their players to try the casino, just as online casinos could now market their own poker room to players and feel confident that they would increase their earnings dramatically.
These developments, which are now standard operating procedure for most large gaming sites, presented a number of options to players. Naturally, the goal of any gaming site is to get as much money out of players as possible, so they created tricks and marketing gimmicks to entice players to hopefully hand their money back over to the house. Sportsbooks offered players blackjack tournaments; casinos emailed their customers with poker promotions; and poker rooms alerted players huddled around their computers that casino games were available for “instant play” (just leave the poker table and try your luck at table games instead).
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Tips for Managing Your Funds at Multi-Genre Gaming Sites
Now that all of these new developments commonplace among top online gambling destinations, we’ve come up with a few tips for keeping money in YOUR pocket, seeing as the casinos, sportsbooks, and poker rooms are now keener then ever to keep you playing at their websites, no matter what the game.
- Deposit in Increments - If you’re at an online sportsbook, and plan on making a few bets on the NFL, only deposit the money you need for these bets (even if you might play roulette or baccarat later on). Why? Well if you make one large lump sum deposit and let it languish in your account, you’ll be tempted to gamble it away faster. Instead, only get your credit card out when you’re completely out of funds. If you are a winning sportsbook player, use your winnings, not more deposits, to play casino games. The same goes for casino and poker room sites: you probably will face better odds of winning at the poker table (depending on your skill), so don’t over deposit and then lose it quickly in the casino. Take your time and enjoy yourself. It will save cash.
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- Ignore Cross Marketing Promotions(unless you understand them) - Sportsbooks and casinos are famous for sending out promo emails about casino game tournaments, poker events, and other marketing ploys that attempt to lure in novices in hopes of making some easy money. So, if you only bet on sports, and are clueless about blackjack, we recommend you don’t signup for your sportsbook’s blackjack tournament UNLESS you know how to play the game. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you’ll quickly see any winnings in your account evaporate in the casino or poker room. Likewise, poker players that click the “play blackjack” or “play craps” icons are literally rolling the dice with their bankrolls. Learn games you don’t know offline or in “free play” mode first BEFORE you pony up your hard earned cash.
- Withdraw Winnings Promptly If You Need the Money - Let’s say you’ve just won $1000 playing poker. Instead of just leaving that money in your account, we suggest that you request an IMMEDIATE payout, just in case you have the itch to play slots or place a bet at the website’s sportsbook. That way, you know that you’ll be getting your payout for sure, and won’t risk any of the winnings you worked hard to make. Equally important: make sure your payout has cleared the sportsbook/casino/poker room before you engage in any other gambling activities. Online gaming sites are famous for sending out “payout complete” emails to unsuspecting gamblers, who then login to their accounts only to see their original balance still active. This means that if you continue gambling, you will be docked any losses you incur from your winnings balance before the website actually processes a payout. This is similar in many ways to land based casinos that put their cashier’s cage in the middle of the gaming floor: once you’ve got your winnings in hand, they want to give you every opportunity possible on your way out to lose some money back to the house. When in doubt, call your website’s customer service department to check on the status of your payout.
When it’s all said and done, the old adage “Know when to Fold’em” applies to this article as well. Quit while you’re ahead, or else you might lose precious winnings back to the house (be it a sportsbook, casino, poker room, or horse racebook).
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