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“This Is Personal!”: 3 iGaming Personalization Myths Busted

July 3, 2023

Hello, and welcome back! Here we are again: busting marketing myths and gaining more knowledge with our “MythBusters” series.

Today’s episode is about iGaming marketing and personalization, discussed by host Olha Olifirenko and special guest Bryan K. Oldham in our LinkedIn Live Broadcast event series. During these events, we ask industry experts to dispel some marketing myths.

Bryan K. Oldham
Bryan K. Oldham
Chief Marketing Officer at Rival Fantasy
 Olha Olifirenko
Olha Olifirenko
Product Marketing Lead at Retainly

Marketing automation equals spamming — busted! AI marketing is only for large companies — busted! And in Episode 3, Olha and Bryan discussed theories like:

  • Personalization leads to gambling addiction
  • Personalization is intrusive and invades privacy
  • Personalization only benefits iGaming operators

Will they be busted? Let’s find out.

But first, introductions.

Olha Olifirenko is a product marketing lead at Retainly. Her extensive experience in B2B marketing with industry giants like Microsoft and Ciklum and her expertise in multi-channel marketing, sales, and SaaS make her an invaluable asset to companies looking to gain a competitive edge.

As for our guest, we’d like to dive a little deeper into his biography.

A few words about our guest

Bryan Oldham is an experienced marketer with a background in various digital marketing disciplines. Originally starting his career in U.S. politics, Bryan moved into marketing, serving as an SEO specialist, media buyer, copywriter, digital strategist, and more. After his time at companies like Hewlett Packard and Hawke Media, Bryan is now chief marketing officer at Rival Fantasy.

fantasy sports platform

Rival Fantasy is a fantasy sports platform with over 1,700 daily players and unique games, including the patent-pending Fantasy Bingo. For those lost after the term “fantasy sports,” allow us to explain. Fantasy sports isn’t Quidditch from the Harry Potter universe, but an online game that involves creating a virtual team of real-life sports players to earn points based on their real-life stats. The better the players do in real life, the more fantasy points they earn.

Bryan knows all about iGaming marketing, so we were excited to make him a part of our MythBusters team.

Myth #1: Personalization leads to gambling addiction

The topic of gambling addiction is sensitive, and as the Mayo Clinic notes, no one actually knows the exact causes. Certainly, some factors, like the influence of friends, can make people start gambling. Still, current legislation is doing everything to limit the influence of marketing and personalization in iGaming and the gambling business.

Personalization leads to gambling addiction

Let’s at least look at this fact: The laws of most countries (e.g., GDPR) prohibit companies from sending personalized messages via email, notifications, or SMS unless an individual has consented to it.

Another preventive measure initiated by lawmakers and supported by companies is Know Your Customer (KYC) and Geocomply verification. Each operator should verify a new customer’s age, geo-location, ID, and sometimes finances before allowing them to register on the platform.

Bryan also believes that personalizing a person’s experience doesn’t make them more or less susceptible to addiction, especially in gaming, as there are methods to limit these effects of marketing. For example, people can turn off notifications in the app or opt out of iGaming email or SMS marketing.

iGambling companies are also proactive in promoting responsible gambling. Most operators integrate responsible gaming messages into their marketing campaigns, educate players about safe gaming, and provide relevant tools. For example, players can set spending limits or sign up for self-exclusion lists that exclude them from gambling on one or more iGaming platforms and physical establishments.

So there is no reason to claim that personalized recommendations or notifications drive gambling more than other internal motives or external influences. 

Myth #2: Personalization is intrusive and invades privacy

Even though we’re talking about iGaming marketing here, the intrusiveness of personalization is a sore spot for any business. People love accurate recommendations, but at the same time, they’re afraid of marketers knowing too much about them. That’s why they often agree to marketing that doesn’t usually violate privacy regulations and continue to debate its dangers. And that’s where the myth originates from. 

But Bryan admits that personalization can go too far.

I think when personalization gets to the point when it almost feels like it's reading your thoughts or listening to your conversations, [it becomes intrusive], which we all seem to think has happened before. We've all had the strange experience of talking about something with a friend or family member, and then five minutes later, you get an ad for a related topic. Bryan K. Oldham

Still, users of responsible iGaming platforms rarely found themselves in such situations. First of all, because of legislation.

Bryan notes that we have probably never had as many digital privacy laws and regulations as we have in the last decade. Combined with the strict regulation of iGaming, this makes privacy a number one priority, but not in lieu of individual player safety. 

Privacy in iGaming

Safety issues are the second possible cause of the myths. When registering on the iGaming platform, customers have to provide a lot of private data to make sure that they aren’t fraudsters or have been banned for other reasons. And at this moment, they might feel like being under investigation.

It’s important to strike the right balance when using the information you collect to maintain a level of trust. If you go too far and make personalization all-encompassing, covering all aspects of the customer’s life with iGaming engagement marketing, you can fail just as easily as if you didn’t use personalization at all.

But when personalization and customer privacy are balanced], users feel a little more intimate, like it's a one-on-one relationship rather than a relationship with some faceless name in a suit in an office building," Bryan believes. "In the end, personalization is about ease of use but also comfortability and familiarity. Bryan K. Oldham

Myth #3: Personalization only benefits the iGaming operators

We’ve just established that personalization is key to a positive customer experience because it takes into account customer preferences and interests. Personalized and non-personalized iGaming marketing is like a handmade birthday card from your best friend and a cheap card your second cousin bought at a gas station — same purpose, completely different emotions.

But let’s look at the benefits of personalization for customers in more detail.

In discussing the benefits of marketing personalization, Bryan cites a Standford experiment that showed fewer options lead to higher conversion. If you imagine for a moment that you’re standing in front of an ice cream stand with 20 flavors, you can feel the confusion — which one is the tastiest? After trying fifteen of them, you don’t know which one tastes best and probably don’t buy any at all because you’re overwhelmed by the choices.

But with iGaming and streaming services, you don’t want to waste the whole evening choosing a 95-minute-long movie.

And this is where personalization plays a crucial role for customers.


You’re happy when Netflix recommends a great new cooking show after you finish watching Hell’s Kitchen, but you’d be frustrated and confused if it suggested a documentary about ice bathing instead.

The same goes for iGaming: personalization gives you a sense of familiarity and spot-on recommendations, resulting in a great customer experience.

Bryan gives an example of personalization in iGaming marketing that works for the company Rival Sports.

They’re adding a new dimension to one of their games based on a head-to-head fantasy challenge called Social Challenges. A player can create their own challenge and send it to a friend to participate. Basically, customers can create their perfect games and share them with like-minded people. Isn’t that awesome?

“We’re really focused on bringing a kind of this intimacy and this relationship-based gaming back to the fantasy sports community,” says Bryan, highlighting the effect of such personalization. 

So yes, personalization certainly benefits the company, but its primary beneficiaries are players who get an improved customer experience.

Instead of a conclusion

Once again, we have dealt with marketing myths, and once again, we have successfully debunked them. What’s in it for you? Priceless knowledge about personalization in iGaming that you can apply to other marketing areas.

Finishing off, we offer you final tips from Bryan:


Slow down. Don't rush to collect all your customer data at once, and don't push personalization too hard. Keep a balance between customer data and personalization.


Test one communication channel at a time. Send a notification to your customers and measure whether it has the desired effect — whether customers respond positively and open your platform or just swipe it away in annoyance. If the results are clear, switch to another channel.


Find a middle ground in your messages. Don't be too serious, and don't promise million-dollar winnings in every message. But don't jokingly reduce iGaming to a sandbox game, either. For your customers, iGaming is entertainment, but it can also be about big money. And don't bombard all communication channels with messages — marketing doesn't have to be intrusive.


If you're a small business, word of mouth is the best tool for personalization. Use referral systems and discounts to spread the word, but don't forget about classic analytics tools, iGaming marketing automation, and email marketing.

Together with Bryan, we hope that no myths will stop you from successfully using personalization in your marketing strategies.


Watch the recording

What else to read
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“It’s Not for Small Companies” And Other Myths About AI in Marketing