The steady emergence of Africa is continuing to reap rewards for those actors who have put their time, energy and finances into developing the continent’s iGaming scene.
Analysts are predicting steady growth in existing markets. Meanwhile, the opening of new ones will boost an already-exciting, yet often-forgotten, corner of the world.
Africa as a serious contender
Towards the end of the last decade, Africa began to emerge as a serious contender in the iGaming sector. Coinciding with the rise in access to high-quality internet and greater smartphone and mobile device usage, many online bookmakers began meeting the needs of the consumer in certain African countries. They did this by delivering sports betting and online casino products.
However, the increase in mobile phone usage and access to the internet only partially explains the rise of certain African markets. Eskil Kvarnström, CEO of leading betting affiliate Leadstar Media, reveals more.
“Many of the African countries we see coming to the fore already have a rich and well established passion for sports and sports betting. The challenge of the operators and affiliates alike is now to encourage the transition from brick-and-mortar style offline betting, to the online realm,” Kvarnström explains.
The most-established markets
While there is still some way to go to reach the exposure of certain European markets, the current heavyweights in Africa are without a doubt South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria.
“South Africa is arguably the most mature market”, continues Kvarnström. “But there is an avid interest for sports betting in Kenya, particularly for football, that perhaps goes unmatched anywhere else on the continent.”
“Then there is Nigeria, which still harbours a strong passion for football, but supersedes any other market in its potential when you consider just how large their population is”, states Kvarnström.
For these reasons, Leadstar Media has set out to convey a greater knowledge of the sports betting landscape for players through dedicated, country-focused pages.
“Let’s take our Betting Sites in Nigeria page on BetBlazers.com. Not only do we aim to provide a definitive list of what betting sites are available to Nigerian players, what they have to offer, but we also provide practical information that the user can use to guide their activity and their choices.”
“It’s important to remember that even the most established markets in Africa have nowhere near the same exposure and that your average player has less knowledge or awareness of sports betting as, say, in Europe. That’s why as an affiliate, we play a vital role in introducing and informing the general public in African countries on what is important when it comes to online betting.”
Local bookmakers versus international operators
In more straightforward terms, the availability of operators in certain African markets can be said to be split down the line between local-based national brands on the one hand, and then international operators on the other.
While the presence of international operators in any African market, does not in itself indicate the development of any market per se, it does demonstrate potential.
“We’ve taken the time to establish a strong relationship with international operators active across many of our European markets who we seek to represent in Africa also where possible.”
“However, with many countries still utilising local betting sites, it’s been an important step for us at Leadstar to develop our relationship in each country with specific local bookmakers”.
“Continuing with Nigeria, take our Bet9ja review as an example. This is a betting site known to many Nigerian players, but we see it as our duty to dig deeper, to inform, and to contrast what is on offer with other products that are available on the Nigerian market,” explains Kvarnström.
The next big thing
“We’ve currently extended our operations towards Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Ghana. But there is still a long way to go in all of these markets, and we’re certainly looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead.”
“There are other markets we are currently looking to explore. The likes of Zambia, Tanzania and Uganda are developing at a remarkable rate, some with key international operators already moving in, and the traffic to a number of our sites would indicate significant demand,” says Kvarnström.
The emergence of more markets in Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as the ongoing development and greater exposure to online bookmakers in a number of countries is beginning to show just how much potential Africa currently has in the iGaming sector.