For one business sector, December has become the biggest acquisition opportunity of the year. Giving small freebies throughout December makes players come back for more in January and February, and this time opening their own wallets. For the online casino business there is no time like Christmas.
The road to the Casino Christmas Calendar
The Casino Christmas calendar works the same way as the chocolate calendars you grew up with – you get a little treat and a little surprise every day in December until Christmas.
Originally an invention from Germany, the advent calendar became immensely popular in the Nordic region in the second half of the 20th century. It was helped by a yearly TV production for children starting in the 1960’s where the national TV stations would broadcast one daily episode from the 1st through the 24th of December of the yearly “Julekalender”.
By 1991 the children growing up with these shows had grown up, and TV2 in Denmark where first to create a similar concept aimed at adults called “The Julekalender”. The show got big ratings and was later remade for Norwegian and Finnish TV. Since then advent calendars for adults have become increasingly popular containing anything from whiskey to makeup.
For the online casino business, the format creates a unique opportunity for repeat engagement with new players. While a normal promotion is a one-shot opportunity to convince a new customer to sign up and ideally make a purchase, the Christmas Calendar can engage the potential customer every day for almost 4 weeks and establish the necessary trust for the player to take the next step.
Believing free money is in fact free
With low establishing cost and high earning potential, the competition amongst online casinos for new customers is fierce. That has resulted in virtually every online casino offering free money – either with or even without a deposit – for new players to try their casino.
Usually the promise of free money is met with a healthy dose of scepticism amongst consumers, but at Christmas the guards are lowered someone – especially when the offer is wrapped in a familiar concept like an advent calendar. So, even though the offers in the advent calendar is similar to those offered the rest of the year, more people are responding to them because at Christmas it feels more natural to get something for free.
And with the new regulation that has been introduced in Denmark this year, the promise of free money is much more real than it used to be. Online casinos operating in Denmark no longer have the option to put wagering requirements on winnings from Free Spins, meaning that a player that hits the jackpot can cash out immediately – even if she didn’t make a deposit, but only played a free casino bonus. Wagering requirements remain on other type of bonusses, but they are much lower than before.
Christmas comes in January for the casinos
The Danish Online Casino portal https://www.casinopenge.dk collects information about all the casino advent calendars in Denmark, and according to the owner, Jens Hokka, no other time of the year brings in more new signups for the casinos than this. But the fact that fact that players can play for free at multiple casinos every day in December means that many do not find it necessary to risk their own money.
“December’s many signups is followed by an increasing number of first time depositing players January”, say Jens Hokka, “many players enjoy the free offers in December and never come back, but about one in five customers starts playing for their own money once the free offers dry out, and that is enough to make it worthwhile for the casinos”.
That the casinos find it worthwhile can be seen on the increasing number of advent calendars being offered every year. This year all the major casinos in Denmark are expected to offer either a “Casino Julekalender” with daily gifts or an “adventskalender” with a gift for each of the last 4 weekends before Christmas. That includes international brands like Mr Green, LeoVegas and Unibet and local Danish operators like Royal Casino, Spillehallen and Spilnu.