Influencer Marketing in iGaming - The Rise of Casino Streamers
The transformation of the online gambling industry over the last decade has been significant - in many ways, especially when considering the development of new niches that have become a vital part of the sector.
Arguably, one of the biggest and, by extension, fastest-growing roles in the online gambling industry that appear to have emerged from nothing is that of casino live streaming or, more specifically, slots.
This has exploded over the last 12 months, with many different casino enthusiasts setting up their own YouTube and also Twitch channels in order to show themselves to fans playing particular slots. As a result, the most successful live casino steamers generate thousands of dollars in revenue per month, such as the popularity of their channels, enticing advertisers to pay a premium.
For the most influential gambling streamers, there are instances where a live casino will even pay them a monthly retainer. There are even cases where affiliate commissions have been paid for ensuring that viewers of their channel sign up to their particular casino site and enjoy the game there for themselves.
While influencer marketing is nothing new in the world of business - certainly within the last five years at least, it is for the online iGaming industry. Of course, the most notable operators have and do use brand ambassadors who feature in commercials and marketing campaigns, however, this is different.
Similar to the cosmetics industry - one of the first to really boom in the world of digital influencers, where, often, older teenage girls would vlog about their favorite brands and provide tutorials on how to apply makeup, therefore collecting thousands of subscribers and ultimately, advertising revenue, in the gambling industry, streamers show their progress playing a slot game.
It has proven to be somewhat of a commodity, with it seemingly considerably popular. The online gambling industry as a whole has been one of the biggest growing in the world for the last couple of decades, with this continuing following the gaming regulation of the industry in new markets.
The Effect of Casino Streamers on the Gambling Industry
While the definition of a casino streamer could well still be distinguished, there is an obvious answer that is more or less widely acknowledged.
For all intents and purposes, the most authentic casino streamers enjoy what they do; they get a kick out of showing enthusiasts how they play online slots and/or casino table games.
As a result, this is demonstrated in how they engage on their channels with their audiences. Essentially, they are not too concerned about growing their subscribers or even making money - they just love what they do and are enthusiastic about it, which in turn, helps them to grow their fanbase.
Like with most things, word of mouth is the way that the most successful casino streamers have grown their subscribers, often with fans recommending them organically via social media channels, and then, of course, this leads to more mainstream media outlets picking up on their success and writing articles about them.
For many, this is how they have been able to witness considerable growth; when you have developed fans, these will essentially market your service, and this is what has happened with casino streamers.
A role that has been seemingly made up by individuals over the last couple of years, it is one that does not exist in the traditional sense, however, it could be the case that we may see affiliate companies, especially, create these to boost their brand profile over the next few years.
As such, the role of a casino streamer is largely undefined; responsibilities remain unwritten, though for many, the primary requirement is to make sure that they can keep their viewers engaged - educating them about the casino game in as informative manner as possible, while still providing some form of entertainment.
Obviously, like with anything, every streamer has their own style, which means that not every influencer will appeal to every fan. Each one has an individual personality which means that a particular audience will relate to them.
There will be many fans that follow more than one streamer of casino games, especially if each one focuses on a particular type of niche, such as only playing slots, that are developed by a certain type of software providers such as Playtech, or slots that have either a low or high volatility level.
How Do Gambling Streamers Generate Revenue?
It is inevitably the question that most people want to know the answer to - especially because many casino streamers do this on a full-time basis. Let’s explore some of the ways in which the most successful influencers make money from this.
Subscription Income from Channels
It is possible for casino streamers to receive revenue from viewers if they charge them to sign up to their channel, usually for a nominal fee. This grants the audience access to a service in a way that is similar to paying for Netflix.
Often, casino streamers won’t charge until they have generated substantial interest and have made a name for themselves, however, a small monthly subscription fee, or even a one-off payment can generate a significant amount of money.
The most successful casino streamers provide the ability for their subscribers to make donations, and these occur for a number of things. Whether it is for winning a particular achievement, such as winning a game, or just a regular donation in the form of a tip, casino streamers can earn hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars per month just from this method alone.
Arguably one of the main sources of income for any YouTube or Twitch channel, this comes into play usually when a channel hits a certain number of followers, often around the 10,000 mark.
This shows potential advertisers that a channel has a substantial audience to potentially market products and/or services to and, as a result, often pay a premium for the opportunity to do this, knowing that they can possibly make a significant ROI (Return-on-Investment).
Gambling Company Collaboration
As previously touched upon, the most successful casino streamers often get approached by gambling companies (whether these are operators or affiliates) for partnerships for collaboration.
This gives them even more exposure to a particular channel’s followers. There are many ways in which these collaborations can be structured. It could be a monthly retainer package, revenue share or even a hybrid deal. This means that the streamers still get some form of revenue if a viewer is converted to a player via one of these operators.
Different Brand Sponsorships
Similar to the collaboration format but slightly different, this sees streamers engage in two forms of brand partnerships as a form of revenue generation.
The first one is product sponsorship, whereby streamers will advertise a particular type of software, game or even product to help boost the popularity of a certain brand within the industry. Some may actually pay more for exclusivity.
In addition, a lot of operator brands run tournaments and having a streamer participate in this may boost sign-ups and, as a result, they will advertise this on their channel.
How Much Do They Earn?
Of course, there is no right answer to this because the amount that casino streamers earn varies based on a number of factors.
The best and most popular casino streamers can earn between $5000 and $10,000 per month from subscription fees alone - this does not even take into account other streams of revenue, such as from advertising, collaborations or brand partnerships.
As a result, it is normal for the top Twitch casino streamers to earn anywhere between $10,000 and $50,000 per month, according to data from Time2Play.
In 2021, meanwhile, the highest ranking Twitch earner, whose channel is ROSHTEIN, generated $2,489,082, this being broken down as $39,043 average monthly earnings and $48,803 in average monthly sponsorship (advertising and collaborations) earnings.
This figure was just higher than second-place Trainwreckstv, who made $2,485,452 for that year, Yassuo was considerably lower in third, with an income of $1,149,088. Even the 10th most successful channel produced a respectable income of $261,881.
This figure is still considerably higher than the average salary of the majority of professions in the US, with a high school teacher earning an average of $62,285 and a police officer bringing in an average of $58,800. To put this into context, the total average monthly income of ROSHTEIN far eclipsed each of these, with this figure of almost $87,000 per month.
Casino Streamers and Real Money Wagering
With regard to this, there is no right or wrong answer, and usually, it will depend on the level of success of the particular casino streamer. Of course, those who are just starting out will invest a certain budget for streaming their slot playing progress in the hope that they not only win but are able to increase their earning potential via advertising revenue and possible partnerships.
The most successful streamers may be given demo funds to use from a particular operator in exchange for promoting their brand. When casino streamer gets to this level, they have effectively made it because they do not need to worry about parting with their own money - of course, they cannot benefit from potential winnings (because they are using demo funds); however, invariably, they will be generating a substantial amount in revenue.
Gambling Streamers Set to Increase?
As more online casino enthusiasts (certainly seasoned players) begin to realize the potential of casino streaming, there is a strong suggestion that we could see the number of casino streamers increase exponentially over the next couple of years.
One factor that will play a major role in the increasing popularity of casino streamers is the fact that new markets are opening up all the time around the world. Online gambling has become increasingly popular over the last few years, and as a result, it has seen new countries become regulated, in line with growing demand.
A country that has witnessed unparalleled growth rates over the last couple of years is the US, with more and more states having now passed legislation. Certainly, the US has shown that it has considerable potential when it comes to casino streaming, with many streamers hailing from there in various states.
Simply searching for casino streamers on YouTube reveals a vast number of these, and a quick watch of numerous channels shows that they are from the US based on their accents alone.
What often occurs when a particular niche becomes popular, it is possible that casino streaming might develop over the next couple of years. As a result, we could see streamers (especially new ones) begin to specialize.
As such, this might mean that they focus on one or a couple of types of slot games and essentially become authorities on these to satisfy search demand on both YouTube and Twitch.
If they are able to become an authority for one type of slot, slot theme or even software provider, it could greatly increase their earning potential instead of being a ‘generalist’ streamer.
This could especially work in certain markets, where the best streamers will do market research to see which slots, themes and software providers are the most popular with players.
When all is said and done, casino streaming could evolve into the next big niche in the online gambling industry, and it may be the case that operator brands can no longer ignore such a potentially large source of income at their fingertips, which could see more of them partner with operators as a cost-efficient marketing strategy.