Back in March of 2021, when the pandemic was in its first full year of transforming consumer expectations about how they pay and get paid — including in the online gambling space and specifically payouts — Trent Striplin, FanDuel’s director of customer finance, told PYMNTS:
“Withdrawal speed has always been important to our customers. It’s the No. 1 thing that we hear about, and one of our top priorities right now is to speed up customer withdrawals, and get them out the door as quickly as possible.”
Fast forward 19 months, and now, as VP of payments and fraud at FanDuel competitor Caesars Digital, Striplin is taking that focus on speed to the Caesars Sportsbook app — and he’s making instant payouts part of the overall gaming experience.
Striplin and Drew Edwards, CEO of Ingo Money, told Karen Webster that instant payouts enhance customer satisfaction, and they may have the positive ripple effect of keeping dollars flowing throughout the Caesars ecosystem — across online and brick-and-mortar channels.
Online gaming apps allow customers to deposit funds instantly and use those funds to wager instantly, Striplin noted — and yet, historically, it can take some time for the funds to land back in their bank accounts. This is disconnected from and inconsistent with the expectation of consumers, which is that all manner of payments should move at the speed of the internet.
“I personally cannot imagine winning a bunch of money and then being told [by the site], ‘OK, we’ll send you a check in a week.’ … This needs to be a digital-first experience,” Ingo Money’s Edwards remarked.
Today, Edwards and Striplin announce that Caesars Sportsbook has selected Ingo Money to power push-to-card instant payouts inside of the company’s Sportsbook app.
This new payment option delivers winnings in near-real time, which — for about 97% of Sportsbook users — means about an hour in order to maintain compliance with an “array of regulatory, financial and accounting controls and fraud reviews,” Striplin said.
“The speed of withdrawals is something that’s very important to people in their experience with the Sportsbook.”
Consumers Expect Instant Payouts
The clamor for faster receipt of gaming payouts is there. The data, as reported in PYMNTS’ Disbursements Satisfaction Report, bear out this sentiment, where the demand for instant payouts of monies including lottery and gaming winnings grew from 6.3% to 2018 in 20.8% in 2022.
As to why Caesars chose Ingo, Striplin remarked that Ingo “has experience in the financial services space — and as we look to build this industry, we need someone who is going to partner with us and get into the trenches.”
As with any new service, decisions about how to come to market, how to reach consumers and how to incentivize them to try what’s on offer must be made in the context of how any new capability will be monetized.
For Striplin and Caesars Sportsbook, the company made the conscious decision not to pass any costs along to the customers. Striplin is betting that an improved customer experience is likely to engender repeat business — in other words, consumers will not just take the money and run.
There’s also the stickiness fostered by the Caesars rewards programs, where credits are earned through the app and in-person based on casino gaming, hotel, dining and entertainment activities. Winning big on the app can help finance a weekend in Vegas, said Striplin, tying together a range of experiences.
“The rewards program and platform are among the strengths we have in the industry — our goal is to create an omnichannel experience, and Caesars Rewards is a way to do that,” he said.
Looking Ahead — and Taking a Cue From Amazon
It’s early days yet in the joint Ingo/Caesars efforts, but Striplin observed that the company’s marketing emails to customers have a markedly high open rate, so the interest is clearly there to get funds more quickly.
Looking ahead, instant payouts will be common for online betting apps, Edwards predicted. But at the moment, faster payments remains a competitive advantage, cementing customer loyalty.
There’s a parallel here, said Edwards and Striplin, where Amazon’s two-day delivery and Prime have kept millions of subscribers clicking their buy buttons. Walmart and Target are following suit, which gives the nod to other gaming operators following Caesars’ path.
“It’s going to become table stakes,” Edwards said. And those companies (in the gaming vertical and beyond) that have not yet adopted instant money mobility will be at a disadvantage and will be working on adding it.
Leveraging advanced technologies and the huge wealth of information that accumulates about repeat users will be key. Striplin said that the company will look to use segmentation data that it has to identify users who bet consistently with, say, the same debit card time and again — and use fraud-prevention and risk scoring tools to eliminate the review periods and make instant payouts live up to its branding.
“It’ll be as real time as getting your chips at the casino and taking them to the cashier,” Striplin said.