Q&A: VirginCasino.com a Force in NJ iGaming
Sir Richard Branson sure has the Midas touch. The entrepreneur and Virgin Group founder has made billions in everything from recording to transportation to telecommunications. Not surprisingly, in November 2013, his empire launched an online gaming arm: VirginCasino.com, which operates in New Jersey under the Tropicana Casino license.
The site has since become a major player. According to the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, total revenues from iGaming in May came to $21.1 million, up $1 million from April. Virgin Casino and Tropicana Casino brought in a combined $4 million, placing them second in the market just behind the Golden Nugget.
We recently talked with Leon Earp, general manager of Gamesys US, operator of Virgin Casino, about Virgin’s most popular games and best player perks.
iGamingPlayer.com: More than three years into the market, how are you doing in the busy online gaming market here?
Leon Earp: VirginCasino.com has gone from strength to strength, building a solid base of loyal players and consistently providing them with high-quality content.
We were the first operator to offer a unique, customer-friendly bonus with only a one-time play-through and a real cash-back signup offer. We were also first to bring 90 Ball Bingo to New Jersey, something that’s resonated extremely well with our audience.
One of our key objectives is to develop a strong bond of trust with our players through the community, local customer support and player-friendly bonusing. You can’t find that at any other online casino in New Jersey, and we believe it’s a key driver of our growth in the market. We know our conversion is strong.
What sets VirginCasino.com apart in the market?
We have over 40 high-definition, multi-device games on our roadmap that will be exclusive to the Gamesys platform. Our competitors’ message is the volume of games on offer. Our focus is very much quality over quantity.
You offer $100 cash back for new players. That’s a pretty nice signup offer—“cold hard cash,” as you put it, not bonus bucks. Is that offer exclusive to Virgin Casino?
This offer is exclusive to the platform. We knew there would be potential customers who would be apprehensive about online casinos. We felt confident with our product and wanted to make an offer that didn’t require a lot of explaining about requirements and wagering contributions. If players lost, they got their own money back. It’s a win-win for the customer.
While the offer is not thousands of bonus money on your first deposit like other operators out there, it’s real cash we’re giving back to the customer should they lose—they can withdraw it straight away, no strings or bonus rules attached.
What are the most popular slot titles?
We offer casino-floor classics but the content we’ve created—through our parent company Gamesys—has been a big hit with players and constantly in the “most frequently played” lists. The added benefit is they’re exclusive to the platform.
In the feedback from players, they tell us they want more “Secrets of the Phoenix,” which we just rolled out onto our apps.
How about table games? Which do people like best? Do I have to be a skilled player to get started?
We have all the standard table games: blackjack, roulette and variants of each and craps. We’d have to say blackjack is a popular choice, probably as we have a number of variants and available across all devices.
Except for 90 Ball Bingo, there’s a demo mode for every game to get started.
What exactly is 90-ball bingo? And what goes on in those chat rooms?
In simple terms, 90 Ball Bingo is a social game that gives players multiple opportunities to win. The tickets have a total of 15 numbers over three rows that you have to check off by the balls being called. If you’re the first player to complete a row, you win until there’s a full house.
Thankfully no one has to manually daub the numbers, and players get to chat with each other while watching the game play out. It’s a multi-stake game, too, which has the added benefit of building prize money quickly and means everyone’s playing for the same full-house prize.
The site-wide chat feature is something we take pride in. We have a dedicated team based here in New Jersey who host and manage the Lounge Chat Room and have built a social community with our players. The hosts have taken on hosting parties once a month, where any member is invited. They have games and singing competitions—yes, we’ve phoned members and asked them to sing!—and have also done some features via Facebook Live, all while building and generating a great community.
The Community Jackpot sounds like a sweet deal. How does it work?
It’s a great feature—players can win up to $30,000 at any time on any real-money game on the platform! This is on top of any game they are playing.
A player is served a treasure chest. If their key opens the chest, it reveals the level of the win. There are four: Red, Silver, Gold and Platinum. The winning key holder will win a fixed amount (relative to the level) and anyone who was wagering within the hour of the win will also win a share—you don’t even have to be online anymore. You have to be playing for real money but everyone is a winner!
To date, we’ve paid out more than $1.5 million in Community Jackpots to our players, just for playing their favorite games all while having an additional chance of winning.
Talk about your Frequent Flyer plan, where players can win trips to Paris and other exotic locales.
It wouldn’t be Virgin Casino if we weren’t sending you on vacation with a touch of luxury. The Frequent Flyer promotion is running over the summer and will be rewarding trips to all corners of the globe. There’s a destination for everyone, from the streets of Paris to a sun-soaked Caribbean island. The world is our oyster!
There’s a choice of 13 destinations and every week a new destination is revealed. By wagering on your favorite game every week, you could be taking a vacation to a destination you’ve always wanted to go to.
How do you think VirginCasino.com stands out in the market?
VirginCasino.com strives to provide the customer with what they want: great content available on their device, no-strings attached bonuses and rewards, and dedicated player management with New Jersey-based customer service.
We keep our players central to any decision we make. And we believe that makes us stand out.
Can you share some of the top winners and jackpots on VirginCasino.com?
There are too many to mention. Please take the opportunity to view our winner’s page and let our winners do the talking: www.virgincasino.com.