Rapid Response to Loss of Email Service Provider
Due to Gaming Content
Although many casinos use MailChimp as their primary email provider, few know that their service can be terminated without notice if they are caught sending betting content and/or gaming offers.
In the very small terms and conditions print that is often overlooked Mailchimp states, “I’m afraid we’re not able to support sending for gambling services or products, and accounts found to be sending this kind of material may be subject to suspension.”
Screenshot from MailChimp’s website
MailChimp was the primary email platform provider for Colonial Downs Group (CDG), operator of Colonial Downs Racetrack and the Rosie’s Gaming Emporiums in Virginia prior to March 2022.
When you receive a notification like the one below, you are in jeopardy of having your account immediately terminated with few alternatives to reach your players in a timely fashion. This is what occurred at CDG.
Due to the abrupt account lock-out from MailChimp, CDG was forced to quickly find and use three different new email providers to send all the various types of player email communications. Each provider’s tracking of unsubscribes, hard bounces (bad email addresses) and other subscriber metrics was siloed, causing significant issues.
Specifically, each system had its own sending domains and reputations, causing confusion for ISPs to properly authenticate the sender (CDG). It ultimately hindered deliverability to the inbox and visibility into crucial email program metrics.
Additionally, being forced to use three different providers created larger deliverability issues for CDG. It was more costly and ultimately created player dissatisfaction, confusion, and frustration for either not receiving their offer or by continuing to receive emails after they had unsubscribed.
It was determined that the triage approach of using multiple providers was not a viable solution-from both a financial and time management/resource perspective. With the two most widely used services, Mailchimp and Constant Contact, not an option Colonial Downs Group needed a responsive enterprise service provider who could assist internal team members with email strategy, automation, and campaign execution while offering a self-service platform that allows stakeholders at CDG to access the system when necessary.
A new comprehensive email engagement strategy was implemented, starting with an automated players club sign-up journey. This strategic approach focuses on the “ideal state of a player” and setting the expectations of the email program, while laying the foundation for engagement with other digital programs.
After overcoming initial deliverability issues due to the massive disruption caused by MailChimp, overall deliverability quickly recovered to 98.672% on all sends using Salesforce Marketing Cloud after the transition period. Furthermore, in just 30 days, the average open rate jumped over 3X to 39.12% from 13.91% and all other metrics continue to outpace the results using MailChimp.
Most importantly, CDG cut its overall costs by hundreds of dollars per month due to the consolidation of three unique providers and the reduced personnel time managing multiple platforms, plus all 90-day monthly improvement goals were achieved in the first 30 days.
Considerations for Success – ISP and Regulatory Compliance:
Understanding the regulatory issues, Internet Service Providers’ (ISPs) rules, and best practices are vital to a successful casino email program. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are the gatekeepers. Yahoo! Mail controls more than 30% of Colonial Down’s player email database. Knowing the rules of deliverability can determine program success or failure. Append data is typically problematic for delivery, and platforms like MailChimp do not accept append data or purchased lists and don’t allow gaming offers.
With casino email being viewed as “adult content,” providers like MailChimp and Constant Contact have refused to support casino businesses. Engaged Nation’s Salesforce Marketing Cloud Instance is its own network providing an ecosystem of managed IP Addresses that give casino clients unrestricted abilities to send casino offers.
Sending from multiple email deployment platform providers causes issues for compliance with CAN-SPAM and CASL laws as well as ISP guidelines. Honoring unsubscribe requests is at the heart of email regulations and managing opt-outs across multiple sending platforms is challenging. Delivery is also affected as sending domains need to be managed by each platform provider to ensure accurate and up-to-date authentications.
The importance of balancing the US (CAN-SPAM), Canada (CASL), and the Utah and Michigan Child Protection laws with those of gaming commissions in states like Pennsylvania and Illinois can be costly if not managed properly.