Definition of Promotions and Casino Bonuses
Before presenting the analysis further, it is important to clarify what a bonus or promotion is in this context.
A casino bonus or promotion is a specific offer a player can participate in to receive something from the casino. To receive the bonus or promotional prize, the player must meet certain criteria specified in the offer. Promotional bonuses or prizes can range from “in-game” features, such as Free Spins, to bonus funds, real money, or physical items and events.
To clarify, a bonus or promotion referenced in this paper is not equal to triggering a bonus feature or Free Spins round within a game.
Bonus Features are Profitable for Players and Casinos Alike
While bonus features won’t always guarantee financial gain for its participants, they do provide entertainment in addition to that already found within the games offered.
These incentives attract new players, enhance engagement, build loyalty, and drive revenue. For players, bonuses and promotions offer added value, risk reduction, increased winning opportunities, and an enhanced gaming experience.
Operators utilize CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools to tailor bonus offers to already existing players, while acquisitional promotions like welcome offers and campaigns with extravagant prizes are advertised through various channels both online and offline to attract new players.
Offers like these are optional, and while internal data from casino operators can reveal their success rate, public data on the success and effectiveness of bonuses and promotional offers has been extremely limited within the Indian market.
Demographics of Survey Respondents
The survey data represents a diverse demographic profile of Indian online casino players. Out of the whole group of respondents, 71.5% are male, and 27.9% are female, while a small amount (0.6%) preferred not to reveal their gender identity.
Looking at age groups, the largest group of respondents is that of 18 to 25-year-olds (50.5%), followed by 26 – 35-year-olds (29.1%), and lastly 36 – 44-year-olds (20.5%).
When looking at where these players are based, we can see that the majority are located in Delhi (27.5%), followed by Maharashtra (21.8%), Karnataka (19%), Tamil Nadu (12.2%), Telangana (9%), and Uttar Pradesh (7%). An additional 3.5% of participants reside in other states like Haryana, Punjab, Orissa, Goa, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and Rajasthan.
Casino Promotions Influential For New Players
As the Indian market matures, the importance of promotional features on online casino websites becomes clearer. The majority of respondents (87.6%) state that promotions played a big role in why they took up gambling. Most of these players (83.5%) participate in promotional offers when they are marketed directly on the casino website, contrary to just 16.5% of players who prefer promotions and bonuses to be sent via notifications.
On-site notifications or device notifications are a fairly new way to contact players with offers (previously only sent out via email or text message), and have yet to reach success among Indian players, where over 50% of respondents state to only rarely decide to participate in offers sent to them via notifications.
However, although the notification feature itself is new, the older age group of 36 to 44-year-olds prefer them, suggesting that older players are more open to the convenience of direct suggestions of offers through notifications.
Large Value Bonuses and Promotions that Minimize Risk Top Choices Among Players
Casino operators have numerous different types of bonuses and promotions to offer players, and when players were asked which bonuses and promotions they prefer, the answers were clear: Cashback (69.3%) is the clear winner of bonus type, while Random Prize Drops (35.6%) and Leaderboards (37.9%) tie for the preferred promotional mechanic.
As players could choose more than one answer to this question, the Welcome Bonus (46%) and Free Spins (38.8%) also ranked highly among bonus types.
These preferences indicate that players value risk-free opportunities, substantial rewards, and the thrill of competitive elements in promotions. Cashback, due to its risk-mitigating aspect, and leaderboards and random prize drops, for their excitement-inducing qualities, are particularly favored. The Welcome Bonus is often the largest possible bonus a player will receive at a casino, making it an appreciated offer type, especially for players regularly signing up at new casinos.
The least favored promotional types among Indian online casino players are Tournaments (11%), Super Jackpots (8.6%), and Draws (7.1%). Jackpots and Draws are based on luck, while Tournaments often stretch over a longer period, making them less attractive to players with limited time to play.
Size and Simplicity is Key
When looking at the why of what influences players to participate in a promotion or use a bonus, the size of the offer and the simplicity of it are the two most important factors.
- Bonus size: 56.4% of respondents prioritize the size of the bonus, seeking substantial rewards for enhanced gameplay.
- Ease of participation: 54.1% emphasize the importance of clear terms and conditions, valuing user-friendly and transparent bonuses.
- Entertainment value: 38% consider the entertainment value provided by bonuses.
The results are clear: players want to have fun without wasting time learning rules and are more willing to do so when there’s a decently sized reward at the end. The games in which the bonus is available aren’t even that relevant. Although “accidental” introduction to new games most often happens thanks to the offer itself.
This is a crucial takeaway for operators, who often spend lots of time and effort creating promotions and bonuses around new games or specifically curated game categories. While this model works well in Europe, Indian players aren’t as interested in being first on the latest. As long as the rules are simple and fun, players will play.
When asked about the reasons for not participating in an offer, only 15.9% answered that the bonus wasn’t applicable in their preferred game. The biggest reason players aren’t participating in bonuses and promotions (41%) is too complicated rules, followed by insufficient time to play (25.8%).
Bonus Aspect Importance by Gender
Looking at the important aspects of bonuses from a gender perspective, we can see that women across all age groups value simplicity above all else. This is true regardless of the reason for gambling.
On the other hand, men in age groups 18-25 and 36-44 state that the bonus size is most important when participating, with the middle group of 26-35-year-olds prefer simplicity. For reasons why a player isn’t participating in a bonus offer, younger men tend to decide based on the complexity of the rules, while both older male age groups state that a lack of time is one of the main reasons.
Promotions Directly Influence Player Behavior
Promotional content on Indian online gambling websites is affecting people’s choices and actions at a much greater scale today than when online gambling was in its infancy within the nation.
As mentioned earlier in this paper, a large number of people (82.1%) state that bonuses and promotions impact their decision to sign up to an online casino. Several respondents (83.5%) also feel that promotional offers add to the level of entertainment they get out of gambling online, and most (77.6%) also state that they gamble more often due to the presence of bonus offers or promotions.
Over half of the respondents (50.2%) believe that these additional bonus perks make them gamble in a way that is not healthy or responsible. The definition of responsible gambling in this context is rather subjective, and it should also be noted that it is not always clear to a person if they are having an unhealthy relationship with gambling or not.
Across Indian states, the older age group (36-44) reports having issues remaining responsible when promotions and bonuses are in the picture. Interestingly, this is the same age group that enjoys bonuses received via notifications. One could draw parallels between these instances, profiling this age group as more impulsive and less aware of the requirements and demands of an offer. At the same time, younger players will avoid complicated offers and thus more rarely expose themselves to offers that will alter their gambling behavior in a way that could be harmful.
India Enters a new era of Online Gambling, Catching up to Mature Markets
It is evident that India’s gambling landscape has matured over the last few years and that players have begun to take an interest in online casino features that expand beyond the games themselves.
Incentives, like tailored bonus offers or on-site promotions, attract new players, increase engagement, and drive revenue for platforms while offering users added value, risk reduction, and enhanced gaming experiences. Users tend to have slightly varied motivations behind their decision to gamble or not, but the demand for simple rules is the most influential factor for the decision.
Responsible gambling is still an ongoing concern, especially when bonuses and competitive promotional mechanics are present, as 50% of players state that these features directly correlate to irresponsible behavior during their gambling sessions. Clear rules and requirements mixed with less urgency for bonuses and promotions could mitigate the risks of participating in such offers.