Creating safe and sustainable VIP programs

VIP Programs with Trustly
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Trustly's John Parsons
John Parsons

With growing competition for high-value players in sports betting markets across the US, John Parsons, VP of Gaming at Trustly, explains how VIP programs can help to build loyalty among serious bettors. 

Picture the scene. Chuck is sitting in front of the TV waiting for tip-off in the first March Madness Final Four game. He’s studied the form and knows how he wants to use the $10,000 bankroll waiting in his bank account.

There are thousands of Chucks across the nation, sports fans with the means to place big wagers. The goal of operators across the country is to leverage tools that will allow Chuck to earn rewards while he plays and make bets without unnecessary friction and downtime, and both can be accomplished with a VIP program. 

What is a VIP program? 

Betting USA defines a VIP program as “automated tracking systems that monitor bettors’ play and issue rewards based on their activity”. VIP programs are often tiered, and as bettors place online wagers, they accumulate status points and earn increasingly valuable rewards as they move up the tiers. Intended for high-rollers and serious bettors, VIP programs are typically invitation-based and members are invited based on betting history. To mitigate risk for the operator, members are also required to adhere to strict qualification standards and are vetted during the application process. 

Most commonly, players who enjoy VIP status with a sportsbook benefit from a dedicated account manager, enhanced promotional offers, access to exclusive competitions, and invitations to hospitality at big games. In addition, VIP programs can provide preferred players with higher limits, hassle-free access to winnings, and white-glove customer support.   Operators will work with third parties, who facilitate deposits and withdrawals, to ensure a smooth and uninterrupted betting experience, with many of the barriers to placing a sizable wager removed due to their VIP status. 

The benefits of VIP programs for players and operators

When implemented effectively, VIP programs benefit operators and players alike. Operators are able to cater to valuable players, increase retention, and cut down on the operational work associated with high-value transactions. The true value of VIP programs for players is that members are effectively pre-cleared to place any size wager without being flagged by trading systems, subjected to further checks, or restricted from betting.

Using the information from the player’s betting and deposit history, along with KYC information collected during onboarding for the VIP program, players can qualify for higher limits and a more straightforward betting experience, effectively using their own financial data to their advantage.  Higher limits and a faster time-to-bet give the VIP player the ability to react immediately to changing odds and to make decisions more strategically. 

VIPs also benefit from more flexibility around betting times. This sort of relaxation also means that, with the relevant AML checks already completed, they can deposit funds in and withdraw winnings from their sportsbook account 24/7 via an agreed method.  

Risk and VIP programs

The ability for operators to control the criteria for VIP enrollment allows them also to more easily control risk, a historically tricky obstacle for high-value transactions. A solid and sustainable risk management strategy gives an online sports betting company viability. Because high-value wagers from new or occasional bettors can be difficult for sportsbook trading teams to handle. 

Risk management has always been a challenge for operators – and the requirements of different markets and geographies can add complexity to the implementation. It’s important for operators to strike the appropriate balance between owned and outsourced risk strategy. By working with a third-party payments provider with experience adhering to VIP tier limits operators can more easily make the VIP experience cohesive throughout the entirety of play. 

Social responsibility and VIP programs

While VIP programs are commercially valuable, to the point where they are a must-have in the most competitive markets, they do have one potential pitfall. In some European jurisdictions, they have, rightly or wrongly, been widely portrayed in the media as an example of player protection failings. 

Any activity an operator undertakes to directly incentivise sports fans to bet runs the risk of being perceived as contributing to an increased likelihood of players developing a gambling disorder. Free bets and bonuses are perhaps the most monitored types of promotion by regulators, but things like exclusive VIP experiences and competitions are likely to draw increased scrutiny. 

So, from both a customer care and a regulatory standpoint, it is vital that all relevant player protection measures are properly implemented for VIPs. They may be high-net-worth individuals who can absorb bigger losses than the average player, but that alone does not protect them from gambling harm, so safeguards and regular checks must be in place. 

Partner with Trustly to build a VIP program 

As veterans in Open Banking Payments and as a trusted name in sports betting, Trustly works closely with operators to create safe, sustainable, and lucrative VIP programs. Operators like PointsBet have seen noticeable improvements in revenue and loyalty by using VIP tiers. 

Implementation of a VIP program is simple: identify VIPs and assign betting limits

based on percentage of total payment volume, adjust the risk rules for VIPs and offer a high-limit experience, and update the VIP list according to player changes. 

Looking to improve the player experience for high-value players? Learn more about VIP programs or chat with our team.