Launch a Poker Site


A white label casino and poker site is the cheapest and quickest option to get your online gaming brand to market. This is actually simple to execute. However, getting players to your site can be much harder.

In this post we shall take you through the steps, from contracts to startup to live launch. We explain the processes and the associated costs. Also, you can read the post Poker Start-Up Options, which explains the different gaming platform options. Furthermore, there are posts on marketing your poker room and a mobile club/agent poker platform.

First of all, we are going to assume that you have little or no experience in operating an online gaming website. Therefore we shall assume that you require a management team to setup and operate your site. Hopefully, you will have some thoughts and plans for marketing of your brand.

The White Label

To build the engine or ‘platform’ where the gaming products are accessed is complex and costly. There are many moving parts to an online gaming platform, For example on the front end there will be; payment processing, signup, security and anti-fraud measures. The back end of the operation will require; licensing, financial reporting. back office management software, customer relations software and affiliate software.

You can choose a company that has a licensed platform solution who are willing to allow you to operate your brand with their technology on a B2B basis. This is called a ‘White Label Agreement’. Basically, for a price, the company will supply a fully licensed and operational casino gaming website with the very best of games, just like those games on the casino sites that you see advertised on your TV.

Not Just Poker

Of course, you can open a website with just poker, but today’s’ players want other products, such as slots or casino table games. Even PokerStars now offers casino and sports betting, which accounts for more than a third of revenues. Including casino and slot games on your site will not cost extra. You can also add sports betting; however, for the purposes of this post, we will assume you want poker, casino and slot games. You can always add sports betting later.

Marketing Your Website

Ideally, you will have some ideas about how you want to start marketing your brand, maybe you see a niche, or maybe you have access to players or are a marketer. Be aware, there are many rules on where, how and to whom, you may market an online gaming site. Your management team (explained below) will have the experience to guide you through this minefield and provide you training (if you require). There are some great poker website marketing tips in this post here.

Licensing

This is quite a complicated area. Many countries now regulate online gaming and require certain licenses before you can market to their citizens. If you wish to market to UK players, you will need a UKGC (United Kingdom Gambling Commission) Remote Gaming Licence (your White Label will need to be UKGC Licensed). 

For this post, we will assume that for your first foray into the World of online gaming. Therefore, let us consider a White Label Platform with a Curacao license. Alternatively, should you wish to apply the setup costs in this post to a UK facing brand, add £15,000 to the set-up costs. However, the monthly operating costs will be much higher as the UKGC insist on expensive KYC (Know Your Customer) and compliance procedures.

Marketing Budget

Your marketing budget could be anything from zero to tens of thousands; we cannot suggest a marketing budget for you. However, we have seen a start-up make good revenues and be successful with a £5,000 budget. Also, we have also seen one brand make a loss and cease operations after a £100,000 marketing and product launch budget.

Affiliate Marketing

Online gambling affiliates come in all shapes and sizes, such as, poker news sites or casino review sites, bloggers and poker training websites that will carry your advertising. Mostly, the advertising will be in the form of banners on their websites showing promotional sign-up offers. If a player clicks a banner and subsequently deposits and plays at your site, the introducing affiliate will earn a commission on the revenue that you earn from that player.

In order for your affiliates to obtain the promotional materials (banners) that contain a unique affiliate tracking code (attached to the players account that signs up to your brand), you will need software. Again, this is something your management team will take care of and provide software training should you require.

Setup & Operational Costs

This does not have to be complicated. There are five costs to consider:

  • Setup costs: Websites, gaming platform and third-party software integration.
  • Player acquisition costs (your marketing spend, basically).
  • Revenue share with the operator (White Label Provider) and games providers.
  • The minimum monthly website and platform operating costs.
  • Management Contract fees or employee salaries.

There are many gaming operators. As such, every White Label Agreement will be different. Below, we give actual figures for a recent online casino and poker room setup. This was provided by Real Deal Gaming Limited, a UK online casino startup and management specialist (link below).

Management Team

Engaging a Management Team under contract will be a lot less expensive in the first year of operation than directly employing staff. For example; the management team will have other White Label operators under contract. Consequently, when they implement a network wide promotion for the poker product, they will also do the same with 3 or 4 other brands that they represent.

A Management Contract could be negotiated on a basic fee and revenue share. They will negotiate the best rates with the operator and third parties and reduce your operating overheads. In the example given below, the management team enjoy a relationship with the platform operator and will be able to negotiate a lower startup cost. This is becasue the platform operator knows that the management company’s staff are industry experienced and therefore there is less risk attached to granting an agreement.

Due Diligence & White Label Agreement

There is some simple due diligence required for contracts and management will guide you through it. Your company documents, Director proof of ID and address will be required. You will need a domain name. If you have a brand name in mind, your management will secure the domains required and set them up on servers. Once your due diligence documents are accepted, the White Label Agreement will be ready for signing. The set-up fee for the White Label charged by the operator will be €20,000 (£17,000). You will pay 50% upon signing of the White Label Agreement and the balance on site going live and taking deposits.

Branding & Website Build

Your management will meet with you to discuss your ideas for website branding. When agreed, the management will brand the website with banners and content. The website will need to be GDPR compliant (General Data Protection Regulations) and have Terms and Conditions. Any promotions will need explaining on the site with T’s & C’s. The management will test the gaming site and all the products and functionality.

Back Office, Software & Management Tools

A large proportion of your players will come from affiliate marketing. The management will build the affiliate website with your branding and integrate it into the platform. The back office will have a minimal CMS (Content Management System) where gaming content can be arranged. There are finacial reports and pplayer reports that are generated from the back office. Full training will be provided by the management should you require.

Keeping Your Players

Getting players to the site is key. Once your players have registered, you will need to keep them as customers.  To effectively engage with your players, you will need Customer Relations Management Software (CRM). This software helps to manage the player life cycle and, prolong player lifetime, cross-sell and create campaigns with market segmentation. If one of your players for example, only plays poker, you could offer this player a bonus or free spins on certain slot games etc. Likewise, a player may not have visited the site for a while and offering a ‘re-load’ bonus or free tournament tickets could entice them back.

Monthly Fees

After the initial White Label Agreement fee, there are the monthly operational fees. The Management Team have agreements in place to reduce costs for the first three months (as it will take you some time to get players to the site and earn revenue). Monthly operational fees are €3,500 (£3,000) months 1-3,  then €6,500 (£5,500) per month after that. The fees include; management fees, affiliate software fees, CRM software, security software, domain and server hosting.

Total Start-Up Costs

A licensed, fully branded and operational online casino and poker website can be available within 60 days of signing the White Label Agreement which will cost €20,000 (£17,000). The first six months operational costs will total; €30,000 (£25,799). However, there will some revenue during this time, which has not been factored in.

Hopefully, the above post has helped you understand how a poker/casino site can be setup and operated as a White Label.

For any further information, please contact Andy via email: andy@realdealgaming.co.uk