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Nigerian Law Firm predicts businesses will thrive by ‘embracing the community of operation’ at ICE Africa

George Miller



Nigerian Law Firm predicts businesses will thrive by 'embracing the community of operation' at ICE Africa
Reading Time: 4 minutes


The enhanced focus on responsible gambling ahead of this year’s ICE Africa has been hailed by Nigerian legal expert Olafadeke Akeju, Partner at WYS Solicitors, as evidence that the continent’s gaming industry is evolving but that more needs to be done by both regulators and operators working in unison. An ICE Africa Champion, Akeju explores why the idiosyncrasies of each nation matter, the power of community and why the small print needs to be bigger!

What are your key goals in terms of developing Nigeria’s position on the continent?
As an industry consultant with both a regulatory and an advisory background, my aim is to enlighten as much as possible on the existing regulatory, operational and licencing framework in Nigeria and provide adequate information for prospective investors and providers interested in the Nigerian market.

How would you assess the key market dynamics?
We are likely to witness mergers, acquisition and consolidation in the gaming industry in the short term. Also, the stalemate that persists in the regulatory framework and licencing process in Nigeria is getting attention with a view to achieving a sensible resolution.

There is a renewed focus on responsible gaming, in your eyes how do you achieve the balance between social responsibility and enabling business to operate in a competitive environment?
The call for responsible gaming shows that the market is evolving and that the focus is shifting from having an effective licencing process to the assessment of gaming as a business and its impact on the society. Stakeholders have to recognize that business will thrive when it is embraced by the community. The rising general perception that the adverse effect of gaming exceeds its benefit to society, is a pointer that operators and regulators are not doing enough.
A combination of regulatory policies and social responsibility initiatives by operators is required to find the missing balance. Operators must be seen to contribute to the development of the community. Gaming businesses must offer more than employment opportunities and a source of income to be considered socially responsible. No doubt every business has its negatives, but operators must actively contribute to the clean-up of the adverse effect of gambling especially gambling addiction and actively promote self-exclusion. Advertisements aimed at enticing patronage should also include messages condemning addiction and emphasize responsible gaming. It is not enough to have this in small prints of the terms and conditions.
Gaming companies cannot rely on the lack of a regulatory directive on responsible gaming. A knee jerk reaction to impose regulation may erode the industry or prohibit gaming as seen in some parts of the continent. As a consequence, regulatory policies must ensure that all stakeholders collectively protect the vulnerable among us and give fair returns back to players. The industry must not sacrifice moral decency on the altar of profit.

Do you feel regulation can ever keep pace with an industry powered by technology?
Technology drives most human interaction and activities; it is not peculiar to the gaming industry. If legislation or regulation of other sectors keeps pace with technology, then the gaming industry should not be left out.
The challenge with legislation in many African countries is that it pre-dates the online era and sports betting as a business. A number of African countries put regulation in place in the last decade and regulators are still grappling with understanding the operation of technology driven gaming while also required to provide regulation to operators of the business. Also, lack of access to study the operations of sports betting businesses and an independent monitoring/appraisal system makes it difficult for regulators to perform optimally.
The good thing about technology is that it also provides access to resources which regulators and law makers should utilize to learn more about the operation of online gaming while studying the framework in more developed jurisdictions. ICE Africa presents a platform to compare notes with fellow regulators, providers and key stakeholders in the industry.
In Nigeria, changes in regulation of complementary sectors has a positive impact on gaming industry regulation. For instance, the introduction of an aggregator system in the telecoms sector by the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) requires all mobile transactions to pass through an aggregation platform. The implication is that gaming regulators can collaborate with the NCC to access gaming related transactions on mobile platforms.
For African countries in the process of amending gaming laws and developing a national gaming policy, the emphasis must be on providing a flexible legislative framework which empowers regulators in consultation with stakeholders to develop policies and introduce processes in response to technological advancement.

WYS works with regulators, government agencies, operators and investors, service providers and suppliers across the gaming and gambling spectrum, what does ICE Africa represent to you?
ICE Africa is a credible initiative that offers networking and learning opportunities for industry stakeholders. The exhibition aspect of the event provides a platform to meet with various product, software and complementary service providers and to compare offerings; this would otherwise be beyond the reach of many operators and stakeholders.
More specifically, the event must be customized to the specific needs of the continent. Despite its obvious similarities, Africa is rife with differences, peculiarities and individualities by countries and regions which must be incorporated into the ICE Africa offering. Effort must be made to continue to identify and address front burner issues on the continent.
Product and service providers participating at ICE Africa must also seize the opportunity to identify Africa’s peculiarities and offer products/services tailored for the African market.



Tsogo Sun to Buy Stakes in Betcoza

Niji Narayan



Tsogo Sun to Buy Stakes in Betcoza
Reading Time: < 1 minute


Tsogo Sun Hotels, the major hospitality group in South African, is moving closer to acquire Betcoza, the popular online betting platform in the country.

Tsogo Sun will acquire a 50.1% share in Betcoza (popular name for  for a price of R49m. This will give a foothold for the hotel giant in the online gaming sector. Betcoza possesses retail sports betting rights for operation in Gauteng and Limpopo.

A press statement from Tsogo Sun confirmed the development: “The acquisition represents a strategic opportunity for Tsogo Sun Gaming to enter the online betting space via an existing, developing business.  The loss attributable to the net assets that are the subject of the acquisition was R3.5m for the year ended March 31 2020.”

The acquisition is significant for two reasons.

First, Tsogo Sun’s main competitor  Sun International has developed a robust online gambling platform called Sunbet, offering live games and betting from last month.

Second, Tsogo Sun’s from its core hotel sector has witnessed a massive fall owing to the Covid-19 restrictions.

A move into gaming sector was anyway imminent following the company’s split into Tsogo Sun Hotels and Tsogo Sun Gaming. The Covid-19 pandemic seems to have accelerated the move.

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Spinmatic strengthens presence with BetStarters deal

George Miller



Spinmatic strengthens presence with BetStarters deal
Reading Time: < 1 minute


Leading developer and supplier of casino games Spinmatic and innovative iGaming bookmaker platform BetStarters have signed an agreement to offer Spinmatic high quality video slots.

This partnership will help Spinmatic strengthen its presence in Africa and Latin America, specially in Nigeria, Malawi, Kenya, Brazil, Peru and Paraguay.

“We are profoundly proud of the partnership with one of the most important leading developers and suppliers of casino games. With Spinmatic we make the difference enriching our portfolio and offering the highest level of games to our clients,” mentioned Salvatore Messina, COO of BetStarters.

“Africa and Latam are two huge countries that we find key markets for Spinmatic. We are very happy to be partnering with BetStarters and to provide their customers with our amazing video slots,” explained Gianfranco Arrichiello, Spinmatic’s Sales Manager.

BetStarters clients will now be able to offer Spinmatic engaging titles, such as Latam’s preferred games “El Fuego,” “Lama Glama,” “Plata o Plomo” and “Danza de los Muertos,”and the latest releases “Fall of the Beast,” “Mafioso” and “Shaolin Twins,” among others.

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Outlook on Africa’s Gaming Industry 2020-2025 – Mobile Gaming Will Hold a Major Market Share

George Miller



Outlook on Africa's Gaming Industry 2020-2025 - Mobile Gaming Will Hold a Major Market Share
Reading Time: 4 minutes


The “Africa Gaming Market – Growth, Trends, and Forecasts (2020-2025)” report has been added to’s offering.

The gaming industry is expected to register a CAGR of 12% during the forecast period (2020-2025). The most recent trend is the growing availability and popularity of multi-functional gaming console, which is emerging in the market and helping in growing the market of video games in the region.

Africa is the only region in the world where the youth population is increasing. By 2050 Africa’s young people, i.e., those aged between 0 and 24 years old, will increase by nearly 50 percent. Africa will have the most significant number of young people. Africa’s youth are critical to the continent’s future when it comes to mobile and gaming as a whole.

African studios are making new inroads by launching original locally produced content on Netflix. Several local content productions have been nominated for several global awards, including the Oscars. The Annecy Festival in 2020 will be focusing on animation from Africa. In addition to this, government initiatives in the region are adopting gaming solutions for educational purposes. Developments such as these will provide opportunities for the gaming industry in the area.

During the lockdown, the Entertainment streaming and gaming industries are thriving. The global suspension or cancellation of most sporting events has left punters without live games to bet on, aside from re-runs of filmed matches. The knock-on effect is that sports betting, which accounts for most of the industry’s revenue, has crashed to almost nil.

While the traditional gambling industry is facing unparalleled losses, online gambling sites have reported a surge in activity since the national lockdown came into effect on 27 March 2020. While online casinos worldwide have reported a sharp increase in gambling, as lockdown periods are extended, and financial stresses intensify, people may become increasingly hesitant to spend money on non-essential pastimes, such as gambling.

Key Market Trends

Mobile Gaming Segment Expected to Have Major Market Share

  • Mobile gaming generates close to half of the revenue that the gaming industry gets annually. More than 200 million Africans are below 35 years, and this figure might double in a decade. Africa has a huge market for gaming and smartphone companies.
  • Mobile gaming is gaining popularity in remote parts of Africa. For example, more than 290 million people in North Africa use mobile phones. The mobile market in the region generates $90 billion annually.
  • One of the major drivers for the growth of mobile gaming is the potential to spawn a massive real-money gaming industry around the continent. Mobile tech spreads around the continent, large swaths of Africa are also paving the way for legal betting and gaming.
  • However, acceleration in network rollouts by mobile operators in Sub-Saharan Africa has been a vital driver of the reduction in the coverage gap. Infrastructure deployment in Sub-Saharan Africa increased 3G coverage from 63% in 2017 to 70% in 2018, extending access to more than 80 million people. 3.3 billion people live in areas covered by mobile broadband networks but do not use mobile internet – this usage gap’ is more than four times greater than the coverage gap. Such factors might harm gaming companies operating in the region.

Issues Such as Piracy, Laws & Regulations, and Concerns Relating to Fraud During Gaming Transactions will Impact the Growth of the Market

  • Most African countries have gaming commissions and laws that regulate gambling. South Africa has clear gaming laws and regulations. It was the first country to create gambling regulation in the continent. Also, online casinos are popular in the country.
  • In South Africa, several legislative attempts to further restrict online gambling and payment transactions of unlicensed operators have been postponed in recent years. However, some legislators and regulators at the provincial level have called for a less restrictive regime.
  • There is currently an ongoing political and religious debate on the perceived high number of minors accessing gambling. As a result, in May 2019, the minister of finance urged the National Gaming Board (NGB) to stop issuing gaming and betting licenses immediately. The government restricted gambling advertising as of January 2019. Additional measures to ensure responsible gambling and revenue collection to the state budget are on the list.
  • A new advocacy organization designed to collaborate, coordinate, partner, build and sustain the growth of esports on the continent has been formed. ESFA or The Esports Federation of Africa is established by a community of both private esports entities, and national federations. WESCO affiliates it. With the launch of the ESFA, African gamers now have a voice, an advocate, an organization with grassroots developments of players at its core. These will provide better opportunities and therefore strengthen the local market in the region.

Competitive Landscape

The gaming market is fragmented as the demand for online games, and increasing penetration of mobile applications across the region will help attract new players in this market over the next few years. Recent developments in the market are:

  • In May 2020, Sony announced new PlayStation Studios branding for its first-party PS5 games. Sony will be using the new PlayStation Studios brand for its first-party exclusives going forward as a way to let customers know that a game comes from one of Sony’s in-house development teams.
  • In August 2019, Konami Digital Entertainment BV announced that the mobile version of e-Football PES 2020 would be released in October, and it represents a complete overhaul of the current PES 2019 mobile game. The latest major update to the PES Mobile series, which celebrated over 200 million downloads earlier this year, brings many of the critical features and licenses already announced for e-Football PES 2020 on PC and console.
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