Entering Africa: operators discuss best route to market

Entering Africa: operators discuss best route to market

Thursday, May 4, 2017 Posted by James Walker

Opportunities abound in the African sports betting market, but entering the continent requires many considerations – from securing solid partnerships to establishing a solid localisation strategy.

Africa was brought into focus at this week’s Betting on Football event in London, as three leading regional sports betting operators discussed the challenges and opportunities associated with entering the market.

Barney Barrow, CEO of betting and gaming operator Cheza Gaming, said: “The Kenyan space has been very interesting over the past seven years. One of the most difficult entry points I’ve found is that modern bookmaking techniques were very confusing and complicated for the punter.

“What you are used to in Europe often needs a lot of localisation and free thought into how the customer experience will be.”

Florian Guede, CMO of MyBet, discussed the company’s approach to entering the African market: “It’s crucial to have a very strong operating partner in the first place. Someone who is willing to help with licensing issues and invest.”

Matt Jellicoe, co-founder and CEO, Offsidegaming, provided a history of how his company approached the market. “About five years ago, we tried to get into Africa with standalone representative based in Johannesburg.

“It was a really bad decision. We didn’t put enough resources on the ground. The second attempt was via franchising. This has been successful for us in Uganda. Because of the requirement in Africa, you need resources on the ground. It’s very retail-driven and licence-driven.”

In terms of MyBet’s customer acquisition strategy, Guede said: “We rely very much on our local partners, and what we’ve seen is a very much an above-the-line approach. From a direct and promotional perspective to the customer, we offer very local promotions. We really make the brand a local player.”

Offering advice to prospective market entrants, Barrow said: “Don’t make yourself to big, too public, too quickly. Start small and grow over time. Finding the right partners, with the right structures and the right trust is something that’s quite difficult to find – but, of course, emerging markets are always going to be like this.

“Opportunity has a cost, and if you are not willing to pay that cost for the opportunity, then I don’t think you should be venturing into that space.”

TotallyGaming says: Africa remains a hot topic across many sectors of the gaming industry, but this unique market presents a range challenges to prospective market entrants. The continent will once again enter the spotlight at this year’s Gambling Indaba, which takes place in South Africa on July 16-18.

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