SBC Digital Africa – Raising brand awareness crucial in ‘fast growing’ Nigeria market

The betting and gaming market in Nigeria holds many opportunities for both domestic and international operators.

Moderating a panel at the SBC Digital – Africa event – sponsored by Pronet Gaming and ZugiDan Phillips, CEO of NEL Advisory and host of the Big Betting Balagan Podcast was joined by three guest speakers to discuss the dynamics of this developing sector.

Moritz Boullenger, Managing Director at Pulse Nigeria began the discussion, highlighting the core opportunities of the Nigerian betting industry, particularly with regards to demographics and technology, but also acknowledged regulatory challenges.

“First, just from a demographic standpoint, this young market is very fast growing with a lot of potential growth, there’s a strong interest in sports as well. I think the most important part for me is the openness to new technology and to new ways of doing things we can see in the markets.

“I think a lot of the behaviours online that we can see in Nigeria or trends –  people spend tonnes of time on social media, for example. If we think as well about things like crypto, which is a huge topic here.

“So there’s a lot of new ways of doing things and I think that’s very exciting also for betting. That also means that from a regulatory standpoint you know this space can also be considered sometimes maybe a bit unstable, going back to crypto for example we saw that this happened at the beginning of the year with the crypto ban so that’s something that should be considered in general when entering Nigeria.”

He also highlighted the importance of developing mass awareness and building local trust among Nigerian bettors, using Betway as a successful example. He said “One example would be Betway, who last year sponsored Big Brother Nigeria, which is the biggest TV show in Nigeria every year. And it basically got massive awareness, and I think also gained some local trust that is difficult to get at this scale.”

Building on Boulenger’s comments on regulation, Simon Burrell, Managing Director of Nigeria at LiveScore Group, noted that operators must understand the significance of both state and federal regulatory bodies, and tailor their interactions with both depending on their business model.

He stated; “There is a disjoint between state regulators and the national regulator. For businesses coming in, the question is that it really depends on what you’re trying to achieve and how you’re trying to achieve it. 

“So if you’re coming in as a digital only brand, then you’re going to take different parts of regulation and to licencing, then if you are going to come in and look at bricks and mortar, look at agents on the street, where you absolutely cannot ignore state licencing.

Similarly, it depends on your marketing strategy. If you’re going to run above the line campaign, and you want to engage in outdoor activity, our home activity, then you absolutely need to ensure that you have state licences in place because you’ll be contravening state regulations, rather than the federal regulation. 

“So it’s a little bit of a minefield, but what it means is that anybody who wants to enter these markets must be very, very clear in terms of their strategy, and in terms of the channels that they’re going to look to activate.”

Burrell also commented on the importance of KYC initiatives, outlining how different these are in the Nigerian market when compared with other international sectors, and also addressed the issue of underage gambling in the country.

“Where operators in other countries can rely on the telcos to have done the KYC piece to prove that somebody is who they say they are and that they’re over 18 to ever get by by account – That’s not the case in Nigeria,” he said.

“It adds a layer of complexity for digital. Underage gambling is an issue in many of the countries if not all of the countries that I’ve operated in the last five or six years. And that is borne again, predominantly, by retail. 

“And it is formed by the fact that people see sports betting, see virtual games, they see these products as a way to make money is a social demographic factor, in that people who have cash in their pocket with an opportunity to make something more with what they have will find a route. And usually those routes lead to betting shops.”

Lastly, Africa CMO at 10bet, Gadi Shoshani, reiterated the point regarding branding and the importance of building up market awareness and local trust among Nigerian players, arguing that there is plenty of room in the market for new entrants.

He stated: “Do they have room in Nigeria? The answer is yes. I think it’s all about marketing, because it’s a question of awareness. And the main difference of brands that come from outside of Nigeria, is whether or not they have retail shops. And that’s because people can see it physically.  

“A way to circumvent it is to reach out using mass media, whether TV, radio, billboards, or whatever other way possible, even newspapers, to make sure that you reach those clients. And if we get to the same awareness level, without a physical shop, brick and mortar shop, I think we can reach the same targets, if not, if not exceed them.”

Shoshani also noted that although Nigeria may pose regulatory hurdles, the country is ‘not overly regulated as in the UK’. He continued: “Together with average age in Africa, and specifically Nigeria, and the fact that there is so much interest in Nigeria, Nigeria is probably one of the most advanced countries in terms of participation in gaming, as opposed to some other African countries 

“I would say that all of those reasons above make Nigeria a very interesting country for not only 10bet, but also other brands as well.”

Taking place from 30 – 31 March, the SBC Digital – Africa event includes a range of sessions featuring experienced speakers, providing insights on sports betting, iGaming, affiliates, casino and more.

To register for your free ticket, click here.

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