With the surge of startup businesses this day in age, you might be wondering just how easy it is to set up a fully-functional casino company! Well, we can tell you now it is certainly not an easy task and requires a lot of careful planning, research, maintenance, patience and of course – money.  But, that doesn’t mean it’s next to impossible! In this article, we’ll touch on some fundamental basics needed to operate a land-based casino from the ground up, as well as what it takes to launch an online casino in the very lucrative yet expensive world of gambling.

Starting Your Own Brick-and-Mortar Casino

Naturally, operating a land-based casino is going to cost you mammoth sums in comparison to an internet-based platform; however, if you do happen to have a few million tucked away in the bank, and you’ve got a ruthless and proactive mindset – you might just be able to get away with it!

#1 – The Legal Part

Before you even think about putting a plan together, the first thing you need to do (and something which will save you a lot of time) is to check whether it’s actually legal to operate a casino in your area. All casinos are regulated by a specific gaming commission or gaming control board. These are also the gambling deities responsible for dishing out operating licenses, and who also regulate the gambling activities in your region/state etc. On top of a license, there is a lengthy string of other major legalities which must be addressed such as liability insurance, other licenses for things like alcohol, and several other factors which we’ll detail as we go!

#2 – The Plan

No successful business, operation or empire ever got to where it is without some kind of contingency planning. The thing is, when trying to execute and pull off such a big move as opening a casino – you really need to plan ahead, long into the future. The market is constantly changing, as are the rules, the games, and the people who play them – so keeping all of these factors in mind when setting up your business is essential. Not only that, but there are probably a few other people who will have the same idea at some point, and if you face some stiff competition, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to keep the place ticking over. A good plan will account for every eventuality including marketing & PR, human resources, accounting, equipment, staff, security, maintenance, competitors – the list could really go on!   

#3 – Money, money, money!

It’s all fair and well scoping out the first 2 points, but unless you were a highly successful entrepreneur before reading this, or just happen to have robbed a bank – the next thing you’re going to need is money – and A LOT of it. The license fee alone will cost a minimum of $200,000 and even then, that’s not taking into account the taxation system the license will be subject to. You’ll also need funds for building the casino site including all of its interior circuitry, plumbing, and décor. Then you’ll need to budget for staff salaries, promotions, software, and the products themselves such as gaming machines, poker tables, roulette wheels etc. Kitting out the place is going to be one of the most expensive processes, so you should have plenty of budget, and also look for investor input.

#4 – Marketing

Marketing is one of the most fundamental aspects of any successful business. When it comes to casino operators – there’s a lot of competition out there both online and offline. So how do land-based casinos make sure they keep players coming back and not heading to the joint down the road? They pay close attention to what their “enemies” are offering, and make sure they come up with something far more enticing. For a startup company, proving you’re the crème da la crème is going to be tough, that’s why many casinos will hire SEO agencies, PR agencies, hand out flyers, free gifts, and push for media coverage as much as possible in the lead up to launching.

#5 – Employees

Now that you have everything in place, it’s time to appoint people to managed and handle the casino for you. These people come in the form of security staff, surveillance staff, pit bosses, dealers, cashiers, croupiers, waiters and waitresses, chefs, bar staff, valets, receptionists etc. Each one of these people will require their own gaming license issued by the relevant state regulator and must also undergo a background check. This part is to make sure they have no criminal history or secrets which could be detrimental to your business and its overall reputation. You’ll also need to hire technicians to maintain the machines from time to time, etc. Make sure that’s something which stays in the long-term budget!

#6 – Launch

Get those scissors ready to cut the big ribbon and make sure the paparazzi are present – because it’s crunch time! Your opening day should be a memorable one for you, your staff and your soon-to-be precious guests; making sure you have a grand opening is the surest way to make that happen. Think free drinks, welcome offers, competitions, live music, fireworks, magicians, and other forms of entertainment which will leave a mark on anyone who is present for the big day. Remember, first impressions count – so this is your chance to shine and show the world just how fabulous your new casino is, as well as give punters a taste of what’s to come!

Starting Your Own Online Casino

We won’t both listing every individual step for opening an online casino, simply because the processes are practically the same. Of course, it’s going to cost you much less in comparison, but you will still require a lot of money to get it off the ground at first.

#1 – License, Website and Software

So… we’ve established the legal requirements for opening an online casino, and the fact you’re going to need a ton of cash to get started. But you’ll still need an operating license for your country, as well as a site for hosting the platform on. Researching website developers and reputable software providers to power the games are the first things to consider.

Some tips for choosing a software provider are:

  • Check they are certified
  • Find out what other casinos they work with
  • Read up on client reviews
  • Establish a cost
  • Check their terms and conditions
  • Make sure they have a technical support team

#2 – The Games

You need to attract as many players to your online casino as possible, so ensuring you have a mixture of the latest, hottest and most popular games and content is essential. You should also consider the fact that there are multiple variants of online gaming categories these days – so don’t just stick Texas Hold’em on your site and hope for the best – think bigger and research what other online casinos are offering. The more options you have the better, because at the end of the day, everyone has their own preference and not all games are suited to one type of sportplayer. If the relevant authority permits, you could even look to go beyond things like slots, blackjack, craps and typical games, and incorporate other features such as a sportsbook, bingo, even live dealers and VR are proving to be popular trends found to be enticing players online these days. So don’t be afraid to think outside the box. 

#3 – Payments and Transactions

In an age where hackers and cyberattacks are so common, making sure you have a secure and safe gateway to carry out payments is an absolute must. We’re not just talking password protection either – you’ll need special encryption technology for securing all payment details, and you’ll also need a variety of different e-payment options available for making both deposits and withdrawals, antifraud protection, advanced risk management and a full team of advisors to help when things go wrong or when a player needs help. On top of this – practically all online casinos offer regular promotions and codes which can be redeemed at the cashier, so you’ll also want to do the same for yours and make sure that the process for all payments is as smooth and straightforward as possible.

#4 – Shout About It!

Again, marketing is your greatest ally when it comes to spreading the word about your online casino and just how astic it is. It won’t require a big film crew or anything on the day you launch it either – but you should aim to expose your brand to the public as much as possible, which you can do with an effective advertising strategy and a strong campaign to back it up. Hit up magazines, television ads, and also make sure your SEO guys are working round the clock to get your rankings as high as possible. With hardly any traffic on the site, this one will be tough at first – that’s why it’s also incredibly beneficial to give your players far more than just games – more on that next.

#5 – Populate the Site

Naturally players are going to be navigating to your site primarily for the games, but, the best way to increase traffic and visits is to make sure there’s plenty of content and call to actions on the site, aside from just the games. Not everyone is a pro gambler, so what do you think many novices look for before they play games for real money? They look at how to play them! If your site contains, FAQs, blogs and articles which will ultimately help players become better and give them a higher chance at winning – you’re already well on your way to becoming a go-to hub for this kind of information. Hire writers to put together how-to-guides, winning tips and tricks, facts and stats about gambling, history, news etc. Make sure you use keyword optimization, links, strong images, and references in order to push your site up the Google list and make you more visible to the online world.

#6 – Get People to Vouch for Your Brand

People are very hesitant to make purchases online without an honest representation of the brand or product these days. It’s so easy to be subject to acts of fraud and dishonesty because you haven’t proper evaluated a company first. This is why you’ll want to make sure you have earned credibility from your players and affiliates if you want to appear as a reputable online casino in the eyes of others. Displaying real-life success stories on your site is a great way to show that it is certainly possible for anyone to be a winner, while reviews and ratings from consumer sites are a big advantage for brand awareness, and cementing your position as a reliable, fair and trustworthy online casino.

Conclusion

Whether you choose to open a land-based casino or an online casino, just be weary it’s certainly no easy task and requires a lot of time, cash, effort and stress. On top of all the steps above, you’re also going to have to account for a million other factors such as addictions, underage players, fraud and cheats, violence and intoxication, changes and hiccups in regulations – the list could go on and on. The hard truth is, gambling really isn’t all glitz and glamor, especially when you’re the one advocating it. But, if you do happen to pull it off, it can be one of the most fruitful and fulfilling careers out there. Plus, who doesn’t want to be their own boss and play games for a living while making ludicrous amounts of money in the process? We’ll let you decide that one!

Nick Johnson is a lover of game theory and mathematics. After years as a quant on Wall Street, Nick stepped out of the fast lane to become a stay at home dad and write. After chasing the kids around all day and tucking his little ones in bed, Nick loves to relax playing in online Casinos and is a life-long poker enthusiast.