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ESA Gaming’s Thomas Smallwood: Reading into the African iGaming Market

ESA Gaming's Thomas Smallwood: Reading into the African iGaming Market

Smallwood discusses the intriguing African markets where the supplier recently launched its content with 888Africa and five BtoBet operator partners, serving players in Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, and Zambia.

Q: What countries in Africa do you see the most potential with regulation around iGaming still evolving?

Several governments are exploring a licensing structure for online gambling, allowing global operators and suppliers to enter the lucrative African industry.

South Africa and Nigeria now have the most potential, with both countries recently announcing the change. Sun International, South Africa’s largest operator, estimates that the country’s online gambling business is worth $370 million, demonstrating the potential for regulation to be appropriately implemented.

Tanzania is another country to keep an eye on, as we anticipate that special online gambling rules will be proposed soon. Because many African countries are still unregulated or developing, the market is ripe for a diverse material selection.

Q: What are the biggest challenges in African markets compared with countries in Europe?

There is a considerable danger in treating Africa as a single market; we see this all the time. From an iGaming standpoint, Europe is not a single market, and each country has its unique set of issues. Africa has a solid and dynamic Muslim community, and gambling is forbidden in several locations, which must be considered. As previously said, regulation is in various stages, and each country takes a somewhat different strategy, implying that considerable research is required before entering an African market.

Other issues include connectivity and the widespread usage of mobile devices. Low data speeds and incompatible devices are still typical, necessitating the development of lightweight, fast-loading games.

Sports betting remains more popular than online casino material. Thus educating the local audience on other verticals is equally essential. We focus on introducing innovative ways to cross-sell, and our goods sit in the sportsbook, giving short casino games by effortlessly swiping between the two verticals. This offering is suitable for the African market because it is mobile-optimized and provides players with simple non-traditional titles without interfering with the betting experience.

Q: Retail sports betting has traditionally been prevalent in African markets. Is there potential for an online casino to boom?

One thing that many African markets have in common is that they heavily rely on sportsbooks. This equates to a four or five-to-one revenue ratio for sports betting compared to casinos, implying plenty of room for cross-selling. As we’ve seen in other nations that launched online casinos following sports betting, the vertical swiftly grew in popularity and now accounts for a larger market share in well-established iGaming regions. Non-traditional material has proven popular in Africa because it can contain sporting themes and provide a simple, lightweight alternative to feature and graphic-rich slots. Crash games are an excellent illustration of this, and we are seeing an increase in popularity in this sector.

Gambling in Africa has a fundamental social aspect, which can be blended into non-traditional material through multiplayer aspects and chat functions.

As online gambling becomes more popular, the marriage of retail and mobile is entirely feasible, as seen by numerous global markets. This will be a crucial piece of the equation in Africa, whether using physical points to recharge your betting account or connecting through PCs within a betting store.

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