SBC’s Year In Review: July’s big betting news

As 2019 comes to a close SBC looks through the year to highlight major news that you might have missed in the sports betting world. 

This seventh edition looks at July and more specifically at the Kenyan market, the product journey of BetBlocker, Brazil’s sports betting potential and Regulus Partners’ review of UK betting consequences.

Winning Post – Kenya bringing down the big beasts

Regulus Partners details how the tables have turned on Kenyan sports betting incumbents, operating in a market which was formerly branded as the ‘leading example’ for further regulated African gambling jurisdictions.

The Kenyan government has reportedly written to telcos including Safaricom, the country’s leading mobile (and therefore payments) provider, with a list of operators that have not had their licences removed, requiring that they are no longer supported with mobile money transfer services (M-Pesa Paybills and SMS shortcodes).

Safaricom has a c. 63% market share in Kenya (falling by 10ppts in two years but still dominant) and mobile money is the payments service of choice in the country, so compliance is likely to be very significantly disruptive – even potentially terminal – to many key operators in the Kenyan betting sector.

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From ‘concept-to-launch’ Duncan Gracie on BetBlocker’s product journey

SBC spoke to the manager of BetBlocker Duncan Gracie, who detailed the product journey of BetBlocker, as well as how the app is aiming to boost the prevention of problem gambling. 

Gracie stated: “Gambling addiction is a problem that has grown as our industry has grown. Without question mobile, capable devices have been a huge positive for the gambling industry. The increased portability and ease of access has resulted in diminished barriers to users and increased uptake.

“But these same factors have increased the availability and ease of access to gambling services for those individuals who are prone to addictive or compulsive tendencies related to gambling. This greater exposure for vulnerable players requires that the industry be subject to stronger oversight and make greater effort to minimise the negative social impacts that the business can create.”

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Betinvest: Why sports mad Brazil is ready to be LATAM’s next Colombia

Valentyn Kyrylenko, VP of Business Development at Betinvest, discusses the huge potential of sports betting in Brazil, which of Peru and Brazil is better prepared to take the next steps towards regulation, and why betting operators need to be aware of the key betting habits across LATAM, where the average stake “totally differs” from Europe.

Kyrylenko commented: “This market has a big land-based network. It’s interesting to note that having large betting shops isn’t a must. It’s much more important to have good equipment – TV screens, monitors, etc. 

“In terms of revenue, European suppliers and operators need to be prepared for the fact that the average stake in LATAM countries totally differs from the European average: it’s only around $1.

“However, people love sport and gambling so there are a lot of these kinds of bets. Since the population of Brazil is comparable to a huge portion of Europe, there’s huge potential, even with lower stakes.”

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Winning Post – Different defensive strategies will lead to the same outcome

Industry strategic consultancy Regulus Partners reviews a week of conflict and consequences for UK betting incumbents adjusting to new FOBTs and social responsibility realities.

Last week saw optically conflicting news coming from the GB LBO sector as to the impact of the B2 ban (primarily) on likely shop closures. First, William Hill guided that around 700 shops (30% of the estate) were likely to close, with the 4,500 affected staff starting a consultation process and closures beginning before the end of the year.

Shortly after this announcement, GVC trimmed its estimated closures to 900 (26%) from 1,000. On the one hand, both are suggesting cuts in a relatively narrow ballpark of 25-30% and both have pulled back from previously bigger numbers. But there are more supposed differences than similarities, with GVC suggesting a much more resilient outcome. What might be going on and what does this mean for medium-term sector closures?

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