Over recent months, Sirplay has continued to expand its presence across world betting markets.
Following the signing of new, high-profile deals in Africa and Latin America, SBC caught up with Bart Esposito, CEO of the Malta-based sportsbook and online gaming group, who discussed the company’s plans for the remainder of 2017 and beyond.
SBC: Could you provide a brief history of Sirplay and outline the primary scope of your operations in 2017?
BE: Sirplay brand was founded in 2011 to create the most innovative and fast sportsbook solutions; bookmakers understood it almost immediately and in about one year we became an international software house. Our mission is to enter emerging markets in developing countries and investing – in the real meaning of the word – by hiring local staff.
For some time, we have been focusing on Latin America. Our attention remains focused on the region in 2017, with a particular interest in Peru, where the betting industry is reaching an arousing rate of increase, and in Brazil, where an ad hoc regulation is expected to be created over the coming months.
But we won’t disregard Argentina, where we’ll be exhibiting at SAGSE Buenos Aires and maintaining our winning collaboration with Lotería de San Luis.
Another market we have been focusing on for a while is African. Nigeria is giving us great satisfaction, rewarding our efforts made when all the other providers decided to abandon the country during the recent economic crisis. Now we are pointing to South Africa, Kenya and Congo.
SBC: We recently reported on your successful partnership with Lotería de San Luis for the Jugadon.com online gaming site. How did this partnership come about?
BE: In Argentina, every province manages gambling activities autonomously and every lottery operates in its province of reference only.
At the time, we responded to a call for tender, as other online betting software providers did, but only Sirplay had the right credentials and certifications besides its availability to adapt the online betting platform to Argentinian market requirements.
In particular, for Lotería de San Luis, we redesigned our prepaid cards payment system to fit for casinos and the lottery’s agencies.
SBC: Across the Atlantic, you recently unveiled a partnership in Nigeria through a partnership with Betabet2000. How is this partnership faring?
BE: We entered the African sportsbook market five years ago and, as previously mentioned, the market is giving us a lot of satisfaction. In the first months of 2017 we registered four new activations, and others are coming.
BetaBet2000 decided to bet on our online software because of its cutting-edge technological advancement, prompt delivery service and convenience.
The platform launch only recently took place, so the volume of bets has been structuring little by little, but it’s a promising platform, and BetaBet2000’s CEO has big plans in mind.
Elsewhere, we recently established two new partnerships with Nigerian bookmakers, and the tenacity shown in the country, combined with the big success of our SBWA exhibition, has given rise to some important relationships, which we will disclose soon.
SBC: How important is the African betting market in the wider context of the global gaming industry? Which betting sectors do you feel are set to enjoy the most growth in the continent over the coming months and years?
BE: Although the average amount per bet is lower in Africa than in other regions where the market is already established, the game volume is balanced by the elevated numbers of players.
We estimate that if the market developments of the coming six months will continue, as foreseen by statistics, the African market will become one of the main characters of the online sports betting industry in two years.
Despite experts’ predictions that were talking about a decrease in sports bets, these are still the spearhead of the African online betting sector. Of course, mobile enjoyment is growing in step with the mobile spread. Our data show placed bets are 70% sportsbook, 20% virtual games and 10% the rest.
SBC: Recently, you mentioned your new bookmaker confederation in Africa. In what way will this confederation help bolster the African betting market?
BE: We are currently working on a project to establish a gaming confederation that is dedicated to our clients. This will start with the Nigerian market, but will spread globally.
It is our aim to create a network where member bookmakers, maintaining their autonomy, will be able to share each information about risks and dangerous players, creating an always up-to-date monitoring on the local and global betting market.
For Sirplay, this would be an opportunity to understand how sportsbook trends are changing and therefore where to invest in developing.
We will be revealing the full details of the confederation over the coming weeks.
SBC: Finally, what does the remainder of 2017 have in store for Sirplay?
BE: We are currently developing a new version of our betting software. The betting engine we are developing is designed to change the gaming industry as we know it. In October, we’ll release its first module regarding live betting, giving a taste of our long and hard work.
We want to start from this module because it will be the first live betting to be in real time, reducing the lag time to a few hundredths of a second; a module, certified by independent laboratories, unlike any other.