In the online gambling industry, it is not uncommon for a company to own multiple sites, whether these be casinos, sportsbooks or even bingo sites. Indeed, some companies own a multitude of each kind as a way of differentiating their asset portfolio.
Big conglomerates, such as Entain for example, follow more of the acquisition route, rather than the organic, start from scratch route. As a result, have built up a diverse portfolio of brands, with only a couple being twinned with each other.
However a more modest, yet still serious company like 888 Holdings, it is fair to say has taken a more organic route with its growth and a number of its sites (especially bingo), can be classed as ‘sister sites’. These run off the same network developed in-house at the 888 B2B (Business-to-Business) division, Dragonfish.
What is a sister site?
A sister site can refer to multiple iGaming sites that are owned by the same company, and run off the same technology. These have a very similar navigational functionality, though differ only in branding and colour.
It provides a good opportunity for business owners to really segment the market and make sure that they can attract customers that may be drawn to a particular niche. The same company could have a casino site with an animal theme. Meanwhile, another casino site with a theme about space and another with a very generic theme.
This then would attract the relevant potential customers based on their likes and what appeals to each of them. Some might be attracted more by the colours of a site and, as a result, this may mean a particular theme is more suitable for them. This is very much the same for bingo sister sites.
Of course, there are also many similarities, with welcome offers and promotions often being the same across sister sites. Again, in both online casino and bingo, the minimum/maximum deposits and minimum/maximum withdrawals are also the same.
In addition, eagle-eyed players will also notice that sister sites have exactly the same payment methods available. These are often Visa, Mastercard, Maestro and then PayPal as a minimum, depending on how well advanced the site is.
Another similarity (arguably one of the biggest), that players will find across sister sites, perhaps without even consciously realising it is that they have all of the same slot and casino games.
This is because usually all sites come under the same package deal with the relevant software provider.
Perhaps one difference is that they might have a slightly different layout across sites in terms of where you can use them, however, because the technology and software are the same and the exact frameworks are used, it means that there is very little difference.
What is the benefit of having sister sites?
For companies, there can be a number of different benefits associated with having sister sites, one of the main ones being that it is a more targeted stream of income appealing to a particular niche market (depending on the brand).
Though perhaps more strategically, if companies have sister sites, it is a chance to a/b test two or three, maybe very different sites and see how different target markets react to a tweak in design or even theme.
This data can then be used to segment their marketing efforts and define the right offer in the right design for those people who are likely to respond.
Of course, this can also work in the same way for online bingo operators and in fact does, as 888 are finding out with their Wink Bingo and 888 Ladies Bingo sister sites.
For 888 they have the added benefit of also being a full-service iGaming company that also offers casino, poker and sports, which means that they can effectively cross-market between their sites.
This provides them with a major advantage over their competition, who effectively have to work harder in order to make sure that their sister sites are just as financially rewarding, based on their marketing efforts.
Also, for companies who have sister sites, this can prove to be a really efficient hedge, which means that if one of their sites is going through a tough period, they know that they have another one or more to help the overall balance sheet.
In the online casino and even online bingo sector, the more choice that players have, the more appealing it is for them. iGaming companies are beginning to realise that this is essentially the same concept as having sister sites that are different in their theme. What appeals to one player, might not necessarily appeal to everyone else. Diversification can be key in this respect.
Will the sister site network keep on growing?
There is absolutely no doubt that the global iGaming industry will continue to grow exponentially, especially with the emergence of major new markets such as the US. This is likely to have a significant knock-on effect on the rest of the industry.
However, those iGaming companies that have a network of sister sites might well be better prepared to combat the threat of competition from other new markets.
Over the next few years, even more, the focus will likely shift towards analytics than it ever was before in order to aid a company’s growth more than before.
Because competition will likely increase, existing companies are likely to create and launch more sister sites in order to protect and also differentiate their brand.
It could well be that iGaming companies with casino sites also launch bingo sister sites and vice versa, in a bid to stay ahead of their competition and differentiate appropriately.
Whatever happens, sister sites have certainly proved to be an interesting concept in the
iGaming industry over the last few years and these are likely to continue to be developed.
Amelia Cassiday is an online bingo writer and player for the past 5 years. Her expertise and knowledge of the online bingo industry are utilised when covering the latest news and trends. Amelia particularly enjoys reviewing new bingo sites as well as writing detailed game guides. When offline, she can be found maintaining her garden and reading a good book at her home in Newcastle, UK.