For a casino operator that’s been in business for decades, jumping in to the online space might seem intimidating. But it’s increasingly becoming a necessary move, and as Americo Loureiro Director of Solverde Casinos and Hotels told our Becky Liggero, it’s a lucrative one.
Solverde has been a staple of the Portugese casino industry for a long time, but to keep its customers, it had to move online. “Yes, in fact, we operator for more than 45 years in Portugal,” Loureiro said. “It’s a brand recognized in Portugal for sure, and we decide to move to online to still continue offering gaming to our existing customers, and also to other Portuguese customers. So that moved us to move to online.”
There were hesitations about the move though. “In fact, the first decision is to consider if online is our business or is not our business,” he revealed. “So we decided it’s our business, and in order to still continue offering the same entertainment to our existing customers, we move to online, and we move fast.”
Liggero asked Loureiro what kind of cross-polination Solverde has seen, with online players visting physical locations, and if existing players are signing up to play online. “The numbers showing that our existing customers, they’re already playing online,” he noted. “So they get used to the terminology of online, and also the games that online offer. We see that around 15% of our existing customers, they now play online. And also, online is also a revenue stream for land based, because some customers that they register online, they can play also in land based. We have the thrilling of the real venue to play the real slots and physical tables.”
Ultimately though, the players choice isn’t that important to Loureiro. “Doesn’t matter if it is online or land based, what we want is customers still having fun with us,” he told Liggero.
If other brick and mortar operators are considering the jump to an online platform, Loureiro had some advice:
“The first thing they do is decide a business model, if a partnership or they do it themselves If they do it themselves, it be a very thrilling and challenging bet. So what I say is you should move to online, all land based should move to online, and they should move fast.”
As online increasingly sweeps up market share, Loureiro had some predictions for how that will affect physical casinos. “In 10 years’ time, I believe land based, they will reduce the number of equipments,” he began. “They will give more offers, live shows, and more entertainment activities. And online is growing, doesn’t matter if it is online customer or land based customer, it should be a customer and we should treat him like that. It’s just a new revenue stream, or a new channel of revenue.”