Operators who have little to no knowledge of the African market might be intimidated to jump into it. But for those who can find the right partners and approach it in the right way, there’s plenty of opportunity. Martin Sack, Founder and Director of Brainstorm Online, joined our Becky Liggero Fontana to give some tips on how to thrive in the region.
First off, an important piece to understand is that Africa is not one country. It’s a continent, composed of many contries, each providing a varying range of opportunities. “Africa is a really, really big place, but the key markets that are out there in the moment are Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana, just to name a few,” Sack said. “Below that we come different tiers like Mozambique, and then there’s the rest. This talk of Ethiopia now, they’re trying to get lotteries into the market, but the ones I’ve just mentioned are really the core markets where the bulk of the population, the bulk of the gaming is happening at the moment.
Perhaps the biggest potential market is still South Africa, and it still has a lot of room to grow. “South Africa, the online gaming, online casino is not regulated at the moment, it’s in discussion,” he said. “Sports betting, on the other hand, is incredibly regulated”
But before jumping in to the African market, understanding the challenges involved as important. Sack had three big tips. “I think the first place is, the consumer is a different consumer to what a lot of other people would be used to,” he said. “There’s a different mindset, certainly in a way their people gamble, in the way they bet, they looking for life-changing bets, they take a lot more riskier than others, and it’s in smaller amounts. You’ve got to understand the nature of it, and you can’t do that certainly remotely. The second part to this is that in order to get your traction on the ground in these places, you need to be growing some form of retail presences anyway. You have to have a places that people can see, touch, feel to know that you actually have a real brand, and it’s important. And the partners that you would deal with would be able to help you through this. The third thing is in the regulatory aspects and the payment aspects, these things are complex and they take local knowledge, and they may take people that have the ability to speak to the regulators on your behalf.”
Overall though, for those willing to put in the work, Sack emphasized that Africa could provide great returns on investment. “I’m thinking the African market is an absolutely superb place to be now,” he said. “I think in many ways it’s like our online gaming used to be for us in the global market 20 years ago. There’s still opportunity, the rules are still being made, people are still growing up into this, and it’s an exciting and beautiful place to be working right now.”