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East Africa’s iGaming Industry A Prime Opportunity For Growth And Expansion

George Miller

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East Africa's iGaming Industry A Prime Opportunity For Growth And Expansion
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

East Africa is one of the regions in Africa that is garnering the most attraction when it comes to the betting and gambling industry. We meet Alessandro Pizzolotto, STM Gaming’s CEO and Certified Partner of BtoBet in Africa what he thinks about the subject and how the region could further evolve in the short to medium term.

Is it your opinion that sports betting is more rampant in Eastern Africa? Why?

There is no doubt that the popularity of sports betting in the whole of Africa derives from the huge popularity of sports across the entire continent. The popularity of sports, especially football, has been further highlighted in recent years with the huge success of African players in major European leagues. One could make reference to Napoli’s strong Senegalese centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly, Arsenal’s Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and Liverpool’s Sadio Mane, amongst many others.

Nonetheless with numbers at hand, a report published by Dublin based research firm “Research and Report” clearly indicates that the iGaming industry in the Sub-Saharan region is seeing an increase in the number of millenials who make use of mobile phones to place bets. The report states that the eastern region in Africa, with Kenya and Uganda as the primary examples, is at the forefront of the continent’s gambling market.

How did weak laws and regulations offer the perfect environment for the growth of gambling in Eastern Africa?

I wouldn’t state that East African markets are afflicted by weak regulations. The M-Pesa and SMS payments conundrum that resulted in Kenya last year was in effect a demonstration that local regulations do work, and in blocking these vital payment systems to the country’s largest operators the Kenyan government was effectively cutting the operators from millions of customers.

Whilst one can argue to great length regarding the escalating enforcement measures that were introduced by the government, this does not in itself demonstrate a weak regulatory framework that would benefit black or grey markets.

Does East Africa have more nations that participate in sports betting than any other African region? 

To understand why the iGaming industry has registered stronger growth in Eastern Africa than in other regions one has to understand the payment gateways and services available, which are fundamental to the industry. East Africa is undoubtedly at the forefront of the entire continent when it comes to payment gateways, especially mobile money. It is a known fact that from a financial inclusion perspective Africa is still lagging behind more established markets, such as Europe.

Yet when it comes to East Africa, the region – with countries such as Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda – is a global leader in regards to the highest per capita registered and active mobile money accounts, and volume of mobile money. The region has the fastest growth in mobile money accounts and in each country the number of mobile money accounts surpassed the number of bank accounts.

The phenomenon of mobile money has been ongoing in the East African region since 2007. The roots of mobile money lie in Kenya with the launch of M-Pesa by Vodacom . With the lack of financial infrastructure in the region and the cost of mobile phones dropping rapidly in that same period, mobile money spread quickly through the rest of East Africa.

If one were to compare two leading markets in Africa – Kenya from the East African region and Nigeria from its Western counterpart – one would find huge discrepancies from this perspective. Whilst in Kenya 56% of the population aged over 15 years have an account with a financial institution, on the other hand 73% report having a mobile money account. At the same time the situation cannot be more different in Nigeria, with 39% of the population having an account with a financial institution and only 5.6% having a mobile money account. This obviously has a very strong impact on the iGaming industry.

Nonetheless this situation is set to change in the short to medium term, especially with the continuous expansion of companies such as MTN Africa and Airtel Africa across the whole continent. Such an expansion will pave the way for a true pan-African payment gateway facilitating money transfers, deposits and withdrawals when it comes to the regional iGaming industry.

Africa

Betsafe Officially Launches in Kenya

George Miller

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Betsafe Officially Launches in Kenya
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Bet High Kenya Ltd. is pleased to announce the official launch of its online sports betting brand, Betsafe, with a demonstrable commitment to Kenyan football, responsible gaming, and an exceptional sports betting experience.

“Our Responsible gaming program is unlike any other in this market with the safety of the Kenyan sports betting fans in mind. Our online site contains unique control and safety features directly on the site. Our communication will initially be focused on responsible gaming messages and we will furthermore support “Gamehelp” an organisation that supports Kenyans with gaming problem behaviour. We are also the first gaming company to hire a Responsible Gaming Officer who will be dedicated to pursue and improve us in this area,“ noted Alex Kobia, Acting Managing Director of BetHigh Ltd.

“Betsafe’s commitment to football was demonstrated even before our launch when we signed a three-year sponsorship deal with both Gor Mahia FC and AFC Leopards in June 2020. We are very glad and proud to be able to support two of Kenya’s top-tier football clubs. With two of the largest fan bases in the country, these exciting partnerships provide Betsafe with the perfect platform to engage football fans with our unique offering. This will be followed up by investments and commitment to the progress and positive development of grassroots football and infrastructure that will literally provide the breeding grounds for Kenya’s budding football stars,” Alex Kobia continued.

“In terms of product, our ambition is to deliver an industry leading sportsbetting experience. Quick payouts are essential for both us and our customers and we will do our utmost to ensure that over time we are the best in the industry here. Our brand Betsafe is proven in more than +20 countries, but we have also been working hard to tailor our product to the Kenyan market. In terms of SMS betting, we have a revolutionary innovation that will allow our customers to easily make a bet through SMS without a gameID. Just SMS your bet and stake to #23333 and the bet will be placed. If the customer changes his or her mind the bet can be cancelled within a time window after the bet is placed. We will also be launching this service via Telegram. In the next couple of months, several new product features will be added and launched, such as a jackpots offerings.

“As a Company keen on responsible gaming, we wish to commend and appreciate the recent efforts made by the Kenyan Government in the last couple of years through the Regulator, Betting Control and Licensing Board, to introduce regulations to further regulate the industry and wish to confirm that we will strictly adhere and fully support the Regulator in its objective of ensuring responsible gaming is achieved in the market. We are indeed glad to be entering the market during this interesting time under this new environment that has been enabled by the Regulator.”

“We also wish to highlight that it is our intention to provide jobs in the Kenyan market in this industry which is largely driven on technology, and our objective is to provide jobs to at least 150 Kenyans within the next two years which in our estimation will have the domino effect of providing livelihoods to about 1000 Kenyans.”

“In essence, our ambition is to deliver a trustworthy product with safe and quick pay-outs, innovative betting services, passion, and commitment to Kenyan football, responsible gaming, and outstanding customer support,” Alex Kobia concluded.

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Africa

BTOBET ANNOUNCES STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP WITH YELLOWBET

Zoltan Tundik

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Cameroon-based betting site to be powered by Neuron 3 platform

BtoBet will be strengthening its presence in Africa announcing a strategic partnership with iGaming group Yellowbet to power its Yellowbet Cameroon brand with the Neuron 3 platform. The deal encompasses the operator’s digital channels. The partnership also allows Yellowbet to migrate its other brands in Africa to BtoBet’s advanced betting and gaming platform.

Seeking to deliver a tailored user experience to its players, Yellowbet will be delivering a wide range of content including local and international sports betting which includes live sports events, online and live casino, jackpots and a wide range of virtual sports.

I am pleased that Yellowbet have chosen BtoBet and the Neuron 3 platform to power its brand in Cameroon. Throughout the years BtoBet has transformed itself into the primary gateway for operators seeking to expand into Africa without having to adopt a one size fits all approach. Our in-depth knowledge of the regions and their various micro-elements, such as the varying player betting behaviours, enable us to help all our partners to position themselves in an optimal position and deliver a betting experience that reflects their brand. I am positive that Cameroon will be the first of many more success stories with Yellowbet,” states Sabrina Soldà, BtoBet’s Chief Marketing Officer.

We take great care of our players and BtoBet, with its Neuron technologies, constituted the ideal technological partner for us to provide a betting experience that would enable Yellowbet to tailor the UX according to the different player profiles. I am looking forward to collaborate with BtoBet and to increase our brand value through their vast wealth of knowledge of the African iGaming industry,” states Nkurunziza Dominique, Yellowbet Cameroon’s Country Manager.

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Africa

Multichoice Acquires 20% Stake in Betking

Niji Narayan

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Multichoice Acquires 20% Stake in Betking
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South African pay TV operator Multichoice has paid R1.3 billion ($81 million), and may still make more payments of R500 million, to acquire a 20% stake in the Nigerian sports bet company BetKing.

In a brief interim statement, it stated that the first payments were an upfront investment with Multichoice valuing BetKing at a minimum of R6.5billion ($31 million). The additional payment was dependent on earn-out targets which is undisclosed and lasting till the end of 2023.

BetKing which has been described by Multichoice as Pan-African and has, however, only had significant betting operations in Nigeria and Ethiopia. As of June 2020, they began operations in Kenya and bagged a sponsorship deal in the soccer league.

Multichoice stated that the deal is intent on pushing forward the revenue prospects by introducing new products and services that will create more growth opportunities.

However, Multichoice has no intention of making continuous payments to hold rights on European soccer. The partnership with BetKing is expected to push more prominent African players into the gambling industry.

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