Home to 1.4bn people, around one fifth of the earth’s population, and with a plethora of growing economies, Africa has become an emerging hub for both domestic and international operators.
On a recent SBC Webinar, Adekunle Adenji, Managing Director at Nigerian firm betBonanza, and Retief Uys, Chief Yield Officer, Sportingbet South Africa outlined the dynamics operators must take into consideration when looking at African expansion.
As moderator Peter Murray, Head of Gaming at Verrif, observed, positive regulation is ‘critical’ for the success of any gambling sector, regardless of country, region or continent, and this requires a collaborative approach between operators, suppliers and other stakeholders.
So how does this play out in Africa? Finding common ground, Adenji and Uys both upheld that, in a general sense, the continent is on the right path to regulatory clarity despite some hurdles in a few nations.
“It is not yet where the UK is, but Africa is growing. Politicians and governments are trying to grasp what gambling is all about,” Adjenji began.
“It used to be negative, but now it is looked at as a source of revenue and politicians are taking their time to find out how they can make more money everyday.
“Right now it is business oriented, they are looking how they can get the best out of this and how much money can be made out of this.”
Efforts are being made everyday to improve regulations, and although Adenji noted that the correct decisions are not always made, he held the view that ultimately Africa’s betting scene is heading in a positive direction.
Stating that he ‘couldn’t agree more’ with his co-panelists’ arguments, Sportingbet’s CYO observed that the South African market ‘has opened up’ in recent years and regulatory perceptions are improving.
“Maybe five years ago there were still some bad perceptions, but recently casino gambling and slot gambling in the online space became legal,” he said.
“It definitely feels like there is a positive attitude towards changing, but regulators have realised that there is revenue to be made.”
South African customers are generally younger, in their 20s and 30s, and although traditionally deeply interested in sports betting, casino products are becoming more popular, Uys continued.
“In terms of sport, the brands I’ve been involved in have been footbal dominant, especially in Ghana,” he remarked, sharing his view on customer differences from nation to nation.
“I think the player value in South Africa is relatively high, there is a medium spread between low, medium and high, whilst in Ghana it tends to be low value.”
However, casinos ‘is definitely a big thing’ across Africa, and operators should bear this in mind and diversify their portfolios – firms should be gambling operators, not solely casino or sportsbook operators.
In Adenji’s assessment, 50% of African customers will be low value, with the remainder split relatively evenly between high and medium.
Examining Nigeria, where the speaker has accumulated substantial experience, he explained that there retail and online are two distinct channels.
“We can divide customers into two – the ones who prefer to go to retail, and the ones who prefer online only,” he said, arguing that literacy levels are often the dividing factor between the two customer groups.
Other topics of discussion on the webinar included technology and the importance of personalised and localised offerings, whilst the speakers also accepted questions from viewers.
To watch the full webinar, click HERE
If you are interested in learning more about African market developments, check out this panel from the SBC Summit Barcelona.