Following a dearth of new online casino launches in the UK, Winlandia has made its debut in what is a highly competitive market. While the UK still presents significant opportunities for new casinos to take advantage of, the going can be tough considering the tightly regulated nature of the market, the high cost of customer acquisition and player promiscuity.
Despite this challenging backdrop, Winlandia is confident that it can replicate the success it has enjoyed in Finland – the operator recently rebranded from Finlandia to Winlandia – by delivering a unique player experience with a Finnish twist that includes generous no wagering welcome offer, a well-stocked game lobby and a good choice of payment options.
We sat down with Christoffer Grönlund, Head of Acquisitions & PR at Winlandia, to learn more about the operator’s plans for the UK market and how it will engage and acquire players.
Winlandia has just made its debut in the UK market. Why have you identified the UK as offering significant potential for your brand?
“The UK is an established market with plenty of opportunity for a new brand to come in with an exciting proposition for players and take a decent share of wallet. There has been a lack of new brand launches in the UK in recent years, so this offers a significant acquisition opportunity for Winlandia and thanks to the compelling player experience we offer, we believe we can retain the customers we acquire at scale. We understand that we need to provide something a bit special to stand out from the other casino brands in the market and that we most certainly do through our playful Nordic character and Finnish Sisu, a choice of two welcome offers, a lobby packed with 3,000+ games and localised payment options.”
As a new online casino brand in the UK, what are the key challenges you face when it comes to engaging players and driving acquisition?
“Customer acquisition is always a challenge, and it’s always expensive. As a smaller operator, our marketing budgets are a fraction of the size of those of our larger rivals so we have to spend smart and ensure that all activity generates the return on investment that we are looking for. Of course, marketing is just one piece of the puzzle. It’s just as important to deliver an experience that not only meets but exceeds player expectations – if you don’t do this, churn will be high as customers will simply move on to play somewhere else. We are confident in the experience we offer to players – it saw us become one of the most popular brands in Finland in a short space of time and we believe we will be able to replicate this success in the UK.”
Can you discuss some of the approaches you will use to boost brand awareness in the UK?
“I can’t give away too much because our marketing strategy contains plenty of secret ingredients that we don’t want to share with our rivals! What I will say is that we are focused on the lower end of the funnel and will be using channels where we can accurately track the performance of campaigns/activity and the returns they are generating for us. The founding team has a strong background in affiliation, so we plan to lean on affiliates quite heavily and have identified an exclusive partner for the UK that we will work with for a month or so before onboarding more affiliates. We also have a comprehensive digital marketing strategy in place, and as I have experience in programmatic, it should be no surprise that it includes an element of that, too.
“We also believe that being the only new casino brand to launch in the UK for several months will drive brand awareness as players are always on the lookout for new casinos to try and experience.”
What is your approach to bonusing? Is it important for a new brand to offer a big welcome package?
“We are offering two welcome bonuses in the UK – 21 no wagering free spins and a 100% deposit match up to £100 plus 66 free spins (a nod to the World Cup winning year!). These bonuses appeal to two different player segments – VIPs who don’t like to get caught up in wagering requirements but still want to claim a welcome offer, and standard players looking to boost their bankrolls with bonus cash and free spins. The welcome bonus is important, but it’s more important to ensure the player has a seamless experience across all other areas of the casino. Once the bonus has been used up, they need to have a reason to stick around and not move on to another casino just because there’s a bonus to claim. Of course, we have a strong CRM plan in place that includes regular promotions and rewards for players to continue to wager at Winlandia.”
Aside from bonusing, how can a new brand stand out from the established sites already active in the UK market when most offer the same payments, games, etc to players?
“It really comes down to branding and the experience delivered to players. They need to buy into the values of the casino and enjoy how that makes them feel when playing. This is where Winlandia really stands out – we bring a playful, friendly Nordic vibe and provide a casino experience that aligns with these characteristics including smart design, quality and security. Our marketing activity will capture our personality in a way that really engages players and draws them to our casino and the fantastic experience that we offer. It is an experience that has hit the mark in Finland, and we are confident will be just as popular with players in the UK.”