With five African teams making it to the Qatar World Cup, bookmakers and suppliers alike are seeing plenty of betting action across the African continent. But while retail still holds strong for many bettors, BetGames has seen growing momentum towards the online space.
James Everett, Sales Director for Africa at BetGames, discusses why Africa is a core market for the company and where BetGames is eyeing up new opportunities for expansion in the months to come.
With five African teams in the World Cup this year, we’re certainly seeing plenty of betting action – wha has BetGames’ experience been so far in the tournament and how much popularity are you seeing with players?
We’re seeing some really good numbers right now, and in many ways, it’s not too much of a surprise. BetGames has made a real name for itself as one of the industry’s best cross-selling tools between sports betting and casino, particularly in football and virtuals.
I believe the key to that has been our success in providing one of the best products for complementing sportsbook spend, rather than cannibalising from it.
Talk us through the local betting experience when it comes to the World Cup – does retail still hold the crown and are you still seeing most World Cup traffic coming through betting shops?
Retail still holds a massive part in the African context, but it is by no means the leading player when compared to online.
With maturing infrastructure, the move to online has gained momentum. Although, as you allude to here, retail is still a key factor in Africa. Players in general see retail betting as a great social experience, and that will no doubt remain for years to come.
It’s a unique environment, where meeting with friends and enjoying the company and atmosphere that comes with any sporting event. Coupled with the current FIFA World Cup, the stars have really aligned for retail operations, and as expected, they are seeing a real increase in traffic during this four-week sporting period.
Why do you believe that BetGames products resonate particularly well with African punters?
BetGames provides players with fast action and that is what seems to resonate well with this generation. It’s all about short-form, live entertainment on tap. The underlying reasons for this are easy to see, players are able to place a bet and see the outcome within seconds.
Our core games are fun, safe to play and provide endless hours of entertainment with varying degrees of risk. The African betting public attributes a degree of personal value to numbers, which is why our Lotto and Wheel of Fortune games have always been strong proponents within our award-winning stable of games.
Onto your games – what parts of your portfolio are performing best during the World Cup, and are you seeing a shift in preferences during the tournament? Or is it a case of the BetGames classics still receiving the most attention?
It’s a case of a mixture between both. Naturally operators in retail and online will be seeing a big increase in traffic over this period – and as a result we have seen more online players as a residual effect. This translates into an increase in first time players who are more inclined to try different games. Our card games such as 6+ Poker, Andar Bahar and Speedy 7 have all enjoyed more action over the past few weeks, but of course our classic Lotto games, Wheel of Fortune and Dice Duel have certainly excelled, as we know they provide a format that really resonates with local audiences.
Last but not least – when it comes to African markets – where are you seeing the most popularity right now and what territories in particular do you have your eye on for expansion?
South Africa, Ghana and Nigeria are three African markets where we have seen huge growth since we first arrived in Africa, and they remain our strongest regions. However, we’re seeing the continent become increasingly dynamic, and with that comes a surge in new markets and players. Of particular note here are Ethiopia, Angola and Mozambique across the multi-channel. Zimbabwe also offers some increasingly attractive signs from a retail perspective, so it is definitely one to watch.