Hey, Jersey, Have A Free Round
Golden Nugget, Resorts and other online casino operators are now offering Free Rounds, a mainstay of traditional casino slot clubs, as part of an overall package of player rewards called the OpenGaming Suite.
Thousands of iGaming devotees have been going to live casinos for years, and appreciate the perks and rewards they get through slot clubs. Luckily, technology has made many of those features available for online players.
One of the most recent is Free Rounds, launched this year in New Jersey. Free Rounds are the online equivalent of the “free” spins that appear on a casino slot as promotional credits on the game.
It’s part of the OpenGaming online casino suite from SG Digital, a division of slot giant Scientific Games. The OpenGaming Suite, or OGS, is a platform that feeds games not only from from SG Digital (Bally, WMS, Shuffle Master) but from a lineup of third-party manufacturers too. That makes Free Rounds available on a large library of slot titles.
The OpenGaming Suite generates not only signing bonuses but instant jackpots, tournaments and other promotions that bring some features of traditional casino slot clubs to the iGaming player. Some operators let players pick their favorites from the library, but the versatility of the technology means operators can use Free Rounds in any number of promotions, and even can tie the feature into their casino slot clubs.
“The genesis of Free Rounds is as one of many features that SG Digital’s OpenGaming product suite offers,” said Robert Hays, SG Digital’s vice president, commercial for the Americas, in an interview with iGamingPlayer.com. “It’s built within a framework that provides additional features and functionality to games—specifically, free rounds, missions, jackpots, tournaments, and so forth. That’s really the basis for Free Rounds and free spins.”
Hays added that in addition to operators already using the OpenGaming system to fuel their online game offerings, others are able to tap into both the games and features such as Free Rounds through an integration with the SG Digital system. That translates into an increasing number of New Jersey sites offering Free Rounds and other OpenGaming features.
GoldenNuggetCasino.com “has been very active in utilizing this tool,” said Hays. Resorts (MoheganSunCasino.com, PokerStarsCasinoNJ.com) is using the functionality as well. “We have numerous operators that are in some level of integration, user acceptance or actual deployment of the feature. We’ve got an anchor with some key operators in New Jersey, and we’re expanding rapidly across the network.”
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Golden Nugget is among several casinos using Free Rounds as a welcome bonus and at the same time promoting a specific game.
“For any new player coming to their site that would like to register, the Free Rounds are awarded to players specifically around the game 88 Fortunes as the welcome bonus,” said Hays. “It’s a matter of just registering.”
The idea with Free Rounds was to provide something different than a deposit match as a signing bonus. Free Rounds actually add a little fun, through actual game play that can lead to winnings without players having to make a wager.
“It allows the player to have a user interface/user experience with the actual site, if they’re new,” said Hays. “And it also allows them to actually experience the game.
“Rather than coming in with a welcome bonus, getting into the casino lobby, then hunting and pecking trying to decide which game you want to play, the operator can take what they think is compelling content, put a Free Round welcome bonus around it, and then the player can use those Free Rounds on that game, which not only highlights the actual user experience with the site, web or mobile, but also the actual game.”
One advantage SG Digital has in adding new features to Free Rounds and the OpenGaming Suite in general is that the company already has a longtime proving ground in the form of European and British iGaming operators. “In our case, we’re fortunate, because we’re a global operator, that we can take learnings from the European market—the U.K. and Europe—where Free Rounds are used at a very high level of frequency by almost all operators,” Hays said. “We get what we learn from our global engagement and bring those (features) into product development, and then they re-emerge as an enhancement, or possibly a new feature” in the OpenGaming Suite.
Those enhancements will be improved when the system is linked to an operator’s established slot system, which in the future could lead to a player’s favorite game popping up as the Free Rounds signing bonus.
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The OpenGaming Suite is being utilized in different ways by various operators, with many running several promotional campaigns a month on their sites, according to Hays.
“Of course, we’re constantly working with our operators to figure out the best ways to promote engagement around our content, and certainly Free Rounds is one of those tools,” Hays said.
It’s a tool that’s still in its infancy. More to come.