5 important lessons to learn about coding an online casino
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- event8 Oct 2019
- access_time7 min read
Online gambling is a big business. The global industry is worth around $70 billion – and it’s still growing. Every month more online casinos are opening their virtual doors to customers, all eagerly looking to muscle in on one of the most lucrative industries on the web.
With all that in mind, you would be forgiven for thinking that programming and coding a casino site is a walk in the park. However, even though new online casino brands are cropping up all the time, coding these sites takes time and is a huge task. It is one of the toughest challenges that a budding programmer can face as there are many factors to consider before releasing the finished product.
Thinking of creating your own online casino or teaming up with a global developer to bring one to the market? Well here’s everything you need to know before you get started.
Remember that design is key
For many websites hoping to get a foothold into the online casino industry, it might be tempting to go for a stock, white label design. Unfortunately, as the online casino market is heavily saturated, this approach just will not do.
It’s not about working harder than your competitors – it’s about working smarter and savvier. If an online gambling company is to be successful in the current market, it will need to carve out a niche – something that categorically differentiates it from the host of existing sites where customers can play.
Standing out from the crowd is important in any industry, not least in the casino industry, where there are so many operators vying for a share in a crowded market. So it stands to reason that the more different your site looks (without of course compromising on the user navigability) the more chance it has of winning loyal customers.
With a strong visual theme modeled on 1950s Vegas and a range of engaging casino games, there’s one unique online casino that does this better than most. If there’s ever a lesson to be learned about the power of UX and design, it’s here.
Of course, that means web development will take time to get right. If you go down this route you’ll be creating a design from scratch – and everything from the homepage to the welcome emails will all be aligned to the same brand.
All in all, it makes for a lot of work – but it’s definitely worth it, as taking time to establish yourself as an original offering can pay dividends.
Embed a Random Number Generator
Most online casino games are powered by a random number generator, which is fairly easy to code. However, there are two important factors to remember when coding your own RNGs.
Every country around the world has its own rules and regulations concerning RNGs in online casino games. For example, the Lotteries and Gaming Authority (LGA) of Malta has prescribed a list of requirements for RNGs. In the US, these rules and regulations vary on a state by state basis.
If your company is operating in a range of different countries or states, you’ll need to ensure that there are multiple versions of your RNGs to make sure your site meets the required rules and regulations. Most governing bodies are hot on policing this, so one small mistake could jeopardize the long-term future of any online casino venture.
If you are working specifically for a client to develop RNGs, you will probably be tasked with making specific RTP and hit frequency percentages. However, if you’re working solo, you’ll have to come up with these quantifiers yourself.
Balancing an acceptable hit frequency that will keep your customers happy while retaining the profitability of your casino game is a tricky business. It is something you may have to regularly update as the fortunes of your online venture change over time.
Track your bugs
Spend 10 minutes going through the reviews of online casino sites and one thing will stick out like a sore thumb – crashing sites. It is (no pun intended) the biggest bugbear of most online gambling enthusiasts.
Clunky games that constantly crash will scare customers off at an unbelievable rate, ultimately ruining the prospects of your online casino. But it could get worse than that if your site is riddled with bugs.
Remember that people will be gambling sometimes huge amounts of money on your games and that a simple crash could wipe out a player’s bankroll. While you should ultimately be able to rectify the issue for the customer, you won’t be able to stop them from taking to social media and denouncing your company.
Then, of course, there is the issue of cheats and fakers who will pounce on any bug to exploit it for financial gains. In summary, bugs will temporarily crash your site as well as setting you up for a major financial crash in the future. So it makes sense to add a robust bug tracking stage when you’re coding.
Get it right for mobile
Nowadays, a mobile app is often an afterthought, understandably as they are often released after months of laborious coding and programming has been spent on a desktop site. A number of high profile gambling companies initially skimped on the costs associated with mobile app development, to their detriment.
Even the best of casino apps available tend to have a poor rating on the App Store or Google Play, thanks to their initial bug-laden release. More people than ever are now playing games via the app rather than desktop.
For this reason, you will need to dedicate just as much of your time and attention to the mobile app as you do to the desktop site. Bugs and user interface are common issues that come up with gambling apps if you don’t address these your site will soon be subject to 1-star online reviews – losing out on customers and revenue.
Do your due diligence
This is more a question of common sense than programming nous, but it is still equally as important as any technical specifications.
If the casino site you are working with is disreputable or operates in an unscrupulous manner, your name and reputation will be tarnished for a long time – perhaps irrevocably.
There’s a lot at stake here, so the first thing to do is check whether or not your new employer has obtained a gambling license in the country that it will be operating. If that step hasn’t been taken, your code – however groundbreaking it is – will be meaningless.
This is the first step taken by any budding online casino and should either be completed or well along the process by the time you start designing the site. You can also do your due diligence by checking a list of trusted sources or speaking to legal professionals in the industry that might be able to provide you with some insight.
Coding is the bedrock of any website, but for a gambling site, it’s even more pressing. That’s because customers’ money is at stake. Negative critiques of casinos can spread like wildflower in an industry so reliant on reviews and ratings – so make sure you get your coding right by bearing the important potential slip-ups in mind.