Think of Africa, and the next thing that comes to mind is her population. Naturally, with every location with a high population, the economic translation is in high demand.
This demand is the same for essential as well as recreational goods, in this case, gaming. The gaming industry is developed extensively in other parts of the world, if not in fact, at least theoretically. Africa is the only place with a population that, until the recent past, was still a virgin to the idea of gambling, much less iGaming.
Sub-Saharan Africa alone carries over 1 billion people, mostly made up of the age range most likely to engage in gambling. This is a population with a growing interest and hunger for technology and all it has to offer. One of these technologies is the introduction of internet gaming, a drastic shift from the land-based betting shops most prevalent in the continent.
After attending the Sports Betting East Africa conference, the Principal Consultant of 1710 Gaming, Christina Thakor-Rankin, commented about the emerging African market. According to her, the market is particularly impressive for its ability to adapt global practices into its circumstances instead of just copying and pasting. She also commended that unlike other parts of the world where iGaming is still taking roots, Africa has accepted the inevitability of the industry and makes conscious efforts to regulate it.
Countries to Look Out For
Factually, every country in Africa has grown to accept gaming, especially with the widespread use of cable TV, commercials and the growth of sports and talent exports, especially in football. However, even more, factual is the reality of a country like Nigeria with its organic demand made possible by its over 200 million people. Nigeria comes first as the destination that offers the needed demand with its population.
Countries like South Africa, which is one of the most developed in the continent, afford enough technology to boost the functioning of casinos that can grow into recreational outfits. Recreational destinations like Seychelles and its assortment of hotels present a green opportunity in which investors are interested in increasing land-based extensions of their casinos to venture.
The player in the Market
Most brands in Africa at the moment are local brands enjoying the sponsorship of external investors. This combination of influences underscores the importance of any iGaming investor going to Africa to present its service in a flavour the locals will recognize.
Many Africans are, in fact, aware of the European gaming giants through football-sponsored commercials. However, the nitty-gritty and structural processes of how these international brands function are lost on them. Africans would always choose their local brands that present gaming in languages they cannot misconstrue. And for games that involve staking money, which is in short supply in the continent, ensuring you are understood means everything.
Some of the most popular players in the market include Bet9ja, 22bet, 1xbet, Betking, Betway, etc. The list of online casinos may be small now, but it is expected to grow rapidly, with the likes of Betway making big plays across Africa.
The Potential of iGaming in the African Market
The growth of internet connectivity in the continent is the primary triggering factor that made iGaming possible in the first place. Recent research estimated the worth of the sports betting industry in Africa at $37 billion. The same research projects that the industry will hit a $100 billion mark within the 21st century.
A case study in Nigeria shows that over a quarter of its population actively engages in sports betting. The average amount of money these punters spend on bets with local sports bookmakers is about 3,000 Naira daily.
Like the rest of the world, Africa witnessed a boom in the iGaming industry when the global pandemic hit, necessitating nationwide isolation in the most affected countries. Instead, many gamblers who would go to betting shops created online accounts with their favorite bookmakers for the first time as the most convenient substitute.
Considering the level of insecurity in most of these countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, many punters have expressed a preference for online gaming. The level of privacy afforded by internet gaming is a lot safer than claiming their winnings in betting shops where ill-intentioned people could rob them.
At the moment, the African gambling industry is dominated by land-based bookmakers. However, the future of internet gaming in Africa is not a question of whether it will transition online; it is a question of when.
The transition is currently ongoing, and it would serve investors best to adapt processes that will accommodate the change. Like other parts of the world, land-based betting shops may never go obsolete, but if there is anything known about punters, they would likely prefer the option. Brands that wish to survive the African market must throw in the option of iGaming to capture the population that desires it.
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