Launch an Online Poker Site


Launching an online poker site is easy; getting players to play there can be much harder.

In this post we shall take you through the steps to build an online gaming site. 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 club/agent pokerplatform.

First of all, we are going to assume that you are inexperienced in online gaming or require some managerial assistance. Also, we assume that you require a management team to setup and operate the website. Hopefully, you will have some thoughts and plans for marketing the gaming site. The following post explains the processes and associated costs from start-up to operating your online poker and casino site.

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, such as Payment processing, security and anti-fraud measures, licensing, reporting and back office management software, customer relations software, affiliate software, etc. A company that has a licensed platform can offer you a B2B product (a casino platform) by way of 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 marketing your brand, maybe you see a niche, or maybe you have access to players or are a marketer. However, there are many rules on where, how and to who, you market an online gaming site. Your management team will have the experience to guide you through this minefield and provide you training (if you require). Or you can leave the marketing to management.

Marketing Area & Compliance 

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, you will start with a Curacao licensed White Label. 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 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.

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, and every White Label Agreement will be different. Below, we give actual figures for a recent online casino and poker room setup where our staff provided management services. (Letereg Poker News staff members and contributors are highly experienced online gaming consultants).

Management Team

Engaging a Management Team under contract will be a lot less expensive in the early months and the first year of operation than directly employing staff. For example; the management team will have other White Label operators under contract with the same gaming operator. Therefore, when they implement a network wide promotion for your 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.

Due Diligence & White Label Agreement

There will be some simple due diligence that your management team will guide you through. Your company documents and Director proof of ID 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).

Branding & Website Build

Your management will meet with you to discuss your ideas for website branding. When agreed, the management would brand the website with banners and content. The website will need to be GDPR compliant (General Data Protection Regulations) and have Terms and Conditions, and 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. The customer support protocols will be set up.

Back Office, Software & Management Tools

A large proportion of your players will come from affiliate marketing. Online casino and poker affiliates will promote your brand to players. For this, you will require specialist affiliate software and an affiliate website. Management will build the affiliate website. As a result, your affiliates will be able to access marketing materials such as banners and links. The creatives that the affiliates use from this software carries a code that identifies the player that they have introduced to your brand. The software allows the gaming site to pay affiliates a share of revenue earned from players.

Keeping Your Players

Getting players to the site is key. Once that 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