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“Land-based Casinos Should Crisis-proof Their Operations and Diversify Online” – WinPrincess’ Guven Eraslan

George Miller

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“Land-based Casinos Should Crisis-proof Their Operations and Diversify Online” - WinPrincess' Guven Eraslan
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

After announcing its partnership with WinPrincess, whereby the principal retail casino in Tanzania will be diversifying its operations, incorporating the digital channels to its retail business strategy, leading iGaming platform provider BtoBet meets with Guven Eraslan, Executive Coordinator of the WinPrincess Group, to understand key market traits.

Coming from the casino vertical, do you intend to stick to your core brand strategy or diversify and grasp the opportunity that other verticals keep in hold?
Our core business is the operation of land-based casinos. At heart we are a family owned traditional bricks and mortar company with strong values. But like any other company we need to grow in order to continue to remain relevant.

Therefore, we cannot afford to miss any of the opportunities that lie ahead of us, and our focus will be on all verticals within the iGaming industry. Our mid-term strategy is to be online in all the countries where we operate land-based casinos already. With marketing being key to the success of the online business, we believe that we can create a synergy through our already existing physical presence, knowledge of the culture and manpower on the front.

You have targeted Tanzania for your first expansion to online gambling. Why Tanzania?
Tanzania’s betting industry has more than doubled in the last three years. Moreover three of the fastest growing cities in the world are in Tanzania. Dar Es Salaam has a population of 6.7 million people and is projected to grow by 100% to 13.4 million by 2035.

Apart from this it is important to note that all of the fastest growing 15 cities in the world are found in Africa. We believe that Africa is a safe bet if you need a good start. And that is exactly what we need, if we are to tackle and master diversification within a traditional casino company such as ours.

From a global perspective land-based casinos have been slow to shift or expand their operations to the digital channels, and thus providing a more complete betting experience where all the channels are interlinked. Why do you think is there such a reluctance from retail casino operators to transform their business strategies?
I think people are reluctant to change in general. We are talking about two totally different cultures as well, with the online branch of the business considered as the disruptor in our traditional casino world, where until recently people always needed to be physically present in a brick and mortar casino in order to place their money on bets. Thus there always needed to be a live interaction and it was more like a personal experience.

That is not required anymore, with online casino bringing about a clash of cultures, if you will. Well it is quite clear that it is us, the land-based casino operators, the ones that need to change and adapt. Diversification can only be made in the direction of progress. Business diversification is definitely something that all land-based operators need to address in the short term. We are up to the challenge, and with the right vision and the right partners such as BtoBet we will get there.

The coronavirus pandemic has brought about never before seen measures requiring social distancing. How has this effected the retail casino business?
All but 12 of our casinos are closed at the moment. So we are talking about 20 closed casinos of which we do not know yet when they will be allowed to reopen. The best business model is a crisis-proof one, and there will be a lot of analysis from all industries on how they can achieve this.
Nonetheless I dare say that if we could have achieved a diversification to online more early, and by doing so hedged our investments, we probably would have not been hit as hard.

Do you think that the pandemic will eventually change the players’ behaviour?
We cannot foresee with certainty what the player behaviour will look like after the crisis. People might be more hesitant to go to a casino but on the other hand once normality returns I believe that social interaction will be a key element that will characterize people’s lives.

My guess is that everything will go back to normal once the pandemic is under control. People have a tendency of wanting to forget bad times. After all social interaction is what makes us human, so we will not easily give up on that.

What elements made you choose BtoBet’s Neuron 3 platform as the technological core of your online business?
When I did my own research for iGaming and sports betting platform providers, which are active in Africa it was amazing that under every stone I turned I found BtoBet. When a company of our size wants to go online there is a lot of demand for working with us. And although we had contact with all the main companies in the online gaming business, our decision in the end was quite easy. Knowledge, expertise and trustworthiness are key elements that distinguish BtoBet, and we look forward to work with them on other similar projects.

Africa

TCSJOHNHUXLEY Africa Working With Customers Across the Continent to Open Safely

George Miller

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TCSJOHNHUXLEY Africa Working With Customers Across the Continent to Open Safely
Reading Time: < 1 minute

Casinos across the globe are working tirelessly to re-open safely to provide peace of mind for their staff and players, ensuring they are properly protected.

TCSJOHNHUXLEY has been focused on this during the pandemic, launching the Care & Protect range of products designed specifically for live gaming requirements. From Play Safe Shields for table games to chip sanitization products, the company is dedicated to providing operators with the right tools to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

With the South African casino market re-opening this week, the TCSJOHNHUXLEY team has been working around the clock to provide and install literally thousands of Play Safe Shields for casinos in the region. The clever designs feature safety glass that can be finished with the casino’s logo etched into the edge. This provides an extra safety feature, making the screens easily visible whilst also allowing extra branding for the casino.

Christiaan Els, Managing Director TCSJOHNHUXLEY Africa, comments, “The last few weeks have seen our team pulling out all the stops to ensure the Care & Protect Play Safe Shields were supplied and installed to all the casinos in the Sun International and Tsogosun Groups prior to re-opening. Our focus has been making sure our customers are ready to welcome back their guests and staff in a safe and protected environment and I’m pleased to say we delivered this in record time.”

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Africa

Kiron Debuts Virtuals Online In South Africa With Jika Sports Launch

George Miller

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Kiron Debuts Virtuals Online In South Africa With Jika Sports Launch
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

Specialist virtual games provider Kiron has become the first supplier to provide virtual content online in South Africa, after launching its Jika Sports portfolio with all major betting operators in the market.

First introduced with leading retail operators in September 2019, the popular Jika Sports brand, which offers localised versions of Kiron’s virtual football and horse racing products, will now be available for local players to enjoy online.

Similar to the meaning of the word Jika, Kiron aims to ‘turn around’ the way people bet on sports in the most significant African gaming market, focusing on the nation’s most loved sports, Jika Soccer and Jika Racing.

The action-packed Jika Soccer game is available in English, Italian, and Spanish league formats, while Jika Racing consists of Kiron’s thrilling market leading suite of racing games, including horse racing, motor racing, jumps and greyhound racing.

Kiron has broken new ground on its home turf by becoming the first virtual games supplier to make virtuals available across all major South African bookmakers online, on mobile and in retail outlets across the country, including top names Hollywoodbets, Supabets, Betway and World Sports Betting.

The company’s online debut in South Africa builds on a period of strong commercial growth and completes a trio of recent first-to-market launches in regulated territories, after it premiered virtual content to players in Spain and Colombia.

Steven Spartinos, co-CEO of Kiron, said: “Being the first to go live online in our home country with Jika Sports is a great milestone for us and our team, giving testament to the value proposition presented by our strong games portfolio and localised offering.

“South Africa has a long established and successful track record as a key regulated market internationally and the positive uptake of Jika Sports demonstrates the growing demand for fresh content among both players and operators locally.”

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Africa

Kenyan MPs Vote to Repeal Sports Betting Turnover Tax

Niji Narayan

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Kenyan MPs Vote to Repeal Sports Betting Turnover Tax
Reading Time: < 1 minute

 

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.

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