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Kenyan MPs Vote to Repeal Sports Betting Turnover Tax

Niji Narayan

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Kenyan MPs Vote to Repeal Sports Betting Turnover Tax
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The National Assembly of Kenya has approved a budget bill removing the controversial excise tax on betting stakes.

While the 20% excise tax on stakes, which was introduced in the country’s 2019/20 budget, was initially set to be carried over in the 2020/21 finance bill, an amendment put forward by the National Assembly’s Finance and National Planning Committee led to its removal.

The tax removal was suggested by an entity named Shade.co.ke, which said the tax “has made many betting firms strapped for cash hence cutting down on sponsorships to local sports clubs.”

This was then adopted by the Committee, which told Shade that “the reason behind [removing the tax] was that the high level of taxation had led to punters placing bets on foreign platforms that were not subject to tax and thereby denying the government revenue.”

Removing the tax would “reverse the negative effects […] on the industry, which has led to the closure of betting shops in Kenya,” it explained.

In the National Assembly debate, Finance Committee chair Joseph Kirui Limo repeated this sentiment, arguing that the reduced tax would actually increase revenue.

“This is going to enhance revenue, because currently, revenue is going down,” he said.

The bill will now be put before President Uhuru Kenyatta, who can sign it into law or send it back to the legislature.

Africa

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

George Miller

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Outlook on Africa's Gaming Industry 2020-2025 - Mobile Gaming Will Hold a Major Market Share
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The “Africa Gaming Market – Growth, Trends, and Forecasts (2020-2025)” report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com’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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Africa

Pragmatic Play Expands to Africa and Appoints Solomon Godwin as Continent Manager

George Miller

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Pragmatic Play Expands to Africa and Appoints Solomon Godwin as Continent Manager
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Second regional head appointment in recent weeks

Pragmatic Play, a leading content provider to the gaming industry, has expanded its senior team with the hire of a new Continent Manager for Africa, Solomon Godwin.

He will be responsible for growing Pragmatic Play’s network of partners across the region and expanding its reputation with the help of the supplier’s multi-product portfolio. Pragmatic Play’s developmental strategy will be focused on ensuring its innovative products enhance its presence across the continent.

Godwin’s appointment follows on the heels of the company’s addition of VP Latin America, Victor Arias, with the provider making significant hires in regional hubs as it expands in regulated markets across the globe.

Lena Yasir, VP of Malta at Pragmatic Play, said: “We are delighted to bolster our growing senior team with the hiring of Solomon. Having regional leaders allows us to accelerate our expansion through a sizeable presence in the region and we’re thrilled to have Solomon on board.”

Solomon Godwin commented: “Pragmatic Play has a fantastic reputation for creating immersive iGaming experiences. It’s exciting to be joining a company with such a focused global vision. There is a clear roadmap ahead for success and I am looking forward to driving the supplier’s growth across the regulated territories in Africa.”

Pragmatic Play currently delivers up to four new slot titles a month, as well as an extensive range of Live Casino and Bingo products through its multi-vertical offering. The company’s entire portfolio is available through a single API integration.

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Africa

Incentive Games Partners with NewPlay Group

Niji Narayan

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Incentive Games Partners with NewPlay Group
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Incentive Games has announced a new partnership with the UK-based NewPlay group.

NewPlay is an investment company specialised in providing mobile entertainment, gaming and media content services to customers in developing markets with a focus on East and West Africa.

As per the deal, Incentive will provide its virtual football wagering game to two of Newplay’s operator brands in Kenya and Ghana, Playabet and Betyetu respectively.

The virtuals game is optimised for low-spec smartphones, meaning it can be used by customers in developing markets where technological penetration is lower. It also offers continuous wagering opportunities during the suspension of live sports.

“Playabet is an exciting up-and-coming brand in Africa, and we look forward to launching with their respected and recognisable Betyetu brand in Ghana in near future, therefore we are really excited to be working with them to launch our virtuals game in Kenya and Ghana,” John Gordon, chief executive of Incentive Games, said.

“We also look forward to expanding our product offering in the near future when the sporting world resumes competition. Until then, we are excited to support NewPlay Group’s activity as it continues to be a market leader in the African iGaming industry,” John Gordon added.

Conor O’Donovan, CEO of NewPlay Group, said that his business understands the technology and market constraints in African jurisdictions, which had necessitated “significant research” to find a suitable virtuals partner.

“We were attracted to Incentive, as they have achieved the balance in delivering a compelling UX while remaining light and accessible on low-end devices. We are delighted to be partnering with Incentive, going live with Playabet in Kenya initially followed by Ghana with view to expanding this relationship into other territories in 2020/2021,” he said.

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