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How the best gambling dapps retain over 80% of their monthly audience

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DappRadar

Gambling dapps offer users a new way to experience gambling and casino applications.

The monthly retention rates of the six gambling dapps covered in this report demonstrate large variation; both between dapps and across months for individual dapps.

Table of contents

Key takeaways

Introduction

Methodology

Retention overview

Gambling dapps on TRON

888TRON

WINk

RocketGame

Gambling dapps on EOS

BigGame

Dice

Gambling dapps on Ethereum

Dice2.win

Conclusions

Key takeaways

  • Retaining users is a key factor in the long term success of any gambling dapp.
  • Features such as dividends, airdrops, and prize jackpots enable developers to better retain their audience month-on-month.
  • On this basis, the best gambling dapps can maintain monthly retention rates of 70% 
  • Yet during 2019, the monthly retention rates for gambling dapps proved to be highly volatile, ranging from 4% to 87%
  • TRON continued to build on its reputation as “Las Vegas on the blockchain”. A constant stream of new gambling dapps as well as market leaders like 888TRON and WINk.
  • EOS has seen a decrease in gambling activity. Although the amount of value spent on EOS gambling dapps has remained solid at around $4 million daily.
  • Gambling is often overlooked on Ethereum. Around $1 million is spent daily on gambling, around 11% of the category’s total value by USD

Introduction

As discussed in our high-level overview of the dapp gambling ecosystem. Gambling remains the largest single dapp category on DappRadar with almost 1,000 dapps tracked. 

However, because they are so simple and quick to make, it’s difficult for gambling dapps to sustain a loyal audience. Gamblers are always on the lookout for new and potentially better opportunities to make money

And that’s why the focus of this report is the retention metrics of six of the top gambling dapps

These dapps are concentrated on the EOS and especially the TRON blockchains. Although some gambling dapps also successfully run on the Ethereum blockchain

Methodology

There are many ways of measuring retention and for the sake of clarity and timeliness, in this report. We’re considering the monthly retention of unique active wallets on a per dapp basis. 

This metric breaks down each dapp’s monthly audience into new users and retained users. Each compared to the previous month’s unique active wallets. From this, it’s simple to calculate the number of wallets that have stopped playing. 

This provides a snapshot of whether players are enjoying the experience and continuing to play month-on-month, or quickly churning out.

Note, this methodology doesn’t attempt to measure the medium or long term re-engagement of audiences over two or more months.

Gambling dapps retention overview

The largest variation in retention rate was experienced by 888TRON. Although it’s important to note that its retention rate improved during 2019. As shown by the dark color of the dots at the top of the graph. (The darker the dots, the later the month.)

Not all gambling dapps experienced this spectrum of retention rates though. RocketGame, another TRON dapp, maintained a high level of retention throughout this period. 

But this sort of behavior is usual for gambling dapps. In particular, the two dapps covered running on the EOS blockchain – Dice and BigGame. Both suffered from strongly declining monthly retention. In part due to the overall congestion impacting the EOS chain in late 2019. 

Ethereum gambling dapp Dice2.win had the lowest average retention rate of all the dapps covered. This is due partly to the restrictions of running a dapp on a blockchain that uses proof of work consensus. Hence has long block times – and partly due to the dapp’s lightweight features.

Gambling dapps on TRON

In terms of the total number of active unique wallets interacting with all gambling dapps. TRON dapps currently account for around 83% of monthly activity.

However, this figure reduces to around 43% when taking into account TRON’s proportion of the total monthly spend in USD across all gambling dapps. Roughly $4 million worth of the TRX cryptocurrency is spent daily in TRON gambling dapps. 

(Note: For technical reasons, in this analysis, we can only track the interaction of the TRX cryptocurrency, not TRON-based tokens.)

In this report, we cover three TRON gambling dapps: 888TRON; WINk; and RocketGame.

888TRON

Launched in early 2019, 888TRON experienced a difficult early couple of months. Thanks to an immature token economy that was exploited by players. But the developer persevered. By the end of the year, 888TRON was one of the strongest gambling dapps on TRON. Both in terms of daily activity and daily value.

This trend can clearly be seen when looking at the monthly flow of new and retained wallets interacting with 888TRON. 

There was a large inflow of new wallets in March, but the majority of these were not retained into April. In the final quarter of 2019, however, retention was much better, as demonstrated by the increasing blue line from November. During January 2020, 888TRON attracted 3,462 active unique wallets.

As with many gambling dapps, a key retention mechanic within 888TRON is its custom 888Token. Used both to encourage players to spend TRX, as well as freeze (or lock) their tokens for long periods to gain greater rewards. This activity is reinforced with regular jackpot special events which provide the opportunity for even higher payouts.

Looking more specifically at the monthly retention rate for 888TRON, the struggles the developer had to overcome during 2019 are obvious. The game retained fairly well for its first two months. Then retention declined to a low of 19% in July. 

But adding more retention features, especially large jackpots such as its current 50 million TRX event, has seen a steady increase back to a monthly retention rate of over 75%.

WINk

Previously called TRONbet, this gambling dapp rebranded as WINk in July 2019 following a strategic partnership with the TRON Foundation. 

As with many other gambling dapps, it has its own WIN token. Used to gamble with, or frozen for a period to time to generate dividend payments. It also lets users gamble with additional cryptocurrencies. Including the BitTorrent BTT token and the TRON version of the USDT stablecoin. 

Nevertheless, in 2019, WINk saw a steady decline in monthly activity. It peaked at over 16,000 active unique wallets during May, dropping to around 8,300 in January 2020. WINk remained still the most popular dapp on TRON.

WINk maintained a fairly solid monthly retention rate of around 50% for most of 2019. Of course, this isn’t a particularly strong performance as it means half of the players during a month didn’t come back the following month. 

And retention fell significantly during January 2020 to 28%. Most likely driven by the rise of new gambling dapps on TRON such as Dragon7.

This is something the developer is clearly aware of and is working on a new user loyalty and reward system. Due to be released as a beta during Q2 2020. 

RocketGame

Compared to more traditional gambling dapps such as 888TRON and WINk, which have a strong casino component. RocketGame offers a much simpler set of gambling experiences. For example, there’s no live video poker or slots. 

However, it still has all the deeper retention features you’d expect from a blockchain gambling dapp. Including its own token – called RKT – as well as lotteries, dividends, and special events.

More significantly, RocketGame has also integrated what could be considered game-style retention features. These include daily tasks, challenges, and leaderboards to drive engagement amongst its users. 

This approach appears to have been successful with RocketGame sustaining an audience of at least 3,500 monthly active wallets.

It also has the highest retention curve of any of the gambling dapps in this report; averaging 80%.

Gambling dapps on EOS

In terms of the total number of active unique wallets interacting with gambling dapps. EOS dapps currently account for around 11% of daily activity. Historically, though, EOS used to make up a much larger part of the gambling dapps ecosystem

When it comes to value, EOS currently accounts for around 46% of the total monthly spend in USD across all gambling dapps. Roughly $4 million worth of the EOS cryptocurrency and EOS-based tokens are spent daily in EOS gambling dapps. Similar to spending in TRON gambling dapps

In this report, we cover two EOS gambling dapps: BigGame; and Dice, both of which experienced a declining audience in 2019.

BigGame

Much like RocketGame on TRON, BigGame isn’t a traditional gambling experience. For one thing, it only contains six games compared to the hundreds available in some other dapps

It does have plenty of blockchain-enabled retention features. Such as a strong VIP program that offers more rewards the more players spend. Players can also earn passive income through token mining and the game’s dividend plan.

For the first half of 2019, this strategy appeared to work fairly well. BigGame retained more than half its monthly players. But over time, and as it attracted more new wallets, the dapp’s retention rate declined.

Dropping particularly heavily from November onwards, which was when the EOS blockchain started to suffer from congestion. 

More generally, BigGame has never maintained a solid – far less a growing – monthly audience of retained wallets. New wallets always make up the majority of its audience.

Dice

Something of the volatility of the blockchain gambling economy can be seen by looking at Dice’s performance during 2019.

Up until September, it retained a steady audience of at least 1,000 active wallets. Only a small number of new wallets were measured every month. This changed dramatically for the four final months of 2019. Dice gained more than 19,000 new wallets, including over 8,000 during September alone.

However, the vast majority of these new wallets were immediately lost. Dice suffered from a monthly retention rate of 4% in January 2020. This was the lowest measured in this report. 

In combination with EOS’ congestion, one reason for this could be the dapp’s complex features. Combining simple gambling games like dice, blackjack, roulette and sports gambling with an overt investment angle. 

This is demonstrated by the prominent positioning of the earning rate. Users can get by either just depositing tokens into the dapp, and dividends that can be earned by staking the custom DICE token. The dapp also has an inbuilt token exchange. 

This sort of structure can attract a very large number of users. Looking for direct i.e. non-gambling – ways to generate a return on their tokens. Especially when driven by marketing and special promotions. Such inflows are very hard to retain, however, leading – as in this case – to a sharp collapse in activity.

Gambling dapps on Ethereum

Because the largest gambling dapps run on EOS and TRON, gambling activity is often overlooked on Ethereum. 

Currently, the combined monthly wallet activity on Ethereum gambling dapps accounts for around 6% of the category’s total, and around 11% of the category’s total value by USD. This is around $1 million in terms of the daily value spent using ETH and other ERC20 tokens. 

Because of the limitation of Ethereum’s proof of work consensus model, these gambling dapps tend to be much simpler and less casino-focused than those running on EOS and TRON. Examples include peer-to-peer sports betting game Degens, lottery Lottoshi, and gamified ETH option trading experience YOLOrekt.

Dice2.win

The most popular Ethereum gambling dapp is dice2.win. Although it only had an average of around 600 monthly active unique wallets during 2019.

It only consists of four games: Coin flip; Roll a dice; Two dice; and Etheroll, a percentage-based game of chance. The only retention mechanic is a jackpot into which 1% of all bets are accumulated. 

In this way, Dice2.win offers by far the most stripped-down and simple gambling experience of the six dapps covered in this report.

And this is most likely the reason that dice2.win has a steady but very low monthly retention rate of around 25%. This is the lowest sustained retention rate for all the gambling dapps covered in this report.

Conclusions

While audience retention is important for all dapps, it is particularly vital for gambling dapps. Which, because of low barriers to entry, suffer from intense competition. 

This is particularly true for gambling dapps on the TRON and EOS blockchains. Indeed, during 2019, TRON continued to build on its reputation as “Las Vegas on the blockchain”. This has continued into 2020, with a constant stream of new and innovative gambling dapps launching on the blockchain. 

In contrast, EOS has seen a falling away of gambling activity, especially due to its network congestion. The amount of value spent on EOS gambling dapps has remained solid, though. 

For this reason, the developers of the best gambling dapps focus as much on long term reward features such as custom tokens, dividend payments, jackpots, and special events as they do on their core gambling games. However, ensuring such complex economics are sustainable and not open to exploitation is very difficult.

Nevertheless, as demonstrated by 888TRON, the good news is that even such serious problems can be overcome. It ended 2019 with a monthly retention rate of over 70% and a growing audience of almost 3,000 wallets retained month-on-month.

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