We sat down with the Head of Acquisition at Premier Bet, Gilles Catteeuw for his insights into cracking the African iGaming market. He had a lot to share.
Q1: Tell us a bit about PremierBet and how you’ve grown in the African market to date.
Since the late nineties, we have been a staple across the streets of Africa, flying either the Premier Bet flag (sports betting) or the Premier Loto flag (lottery). The true legacy of Premier Bet is through our retail and agent operations across key African urban areas and is still expanding to date. Throughout the years, the brand has built up trust within local communities, with ambitious entrepreneurs driving true personal credibility amongst their customers. In addition to our distinctive green umbrellas and betting shops, punters will also recognise our points of sales from our iconic bet slip terminals – commonly referred to as “red boxes”. It is that legacy that makes Premier bet the brand that African sports bettors have been familiar with ever since their first bet. We leverage that very brand equity to educate and convert our target audiences towards online betting.
Q2: What are some of the big challenges brands face when launching a casino or sportsbook in Africa – what are some of the localisation issues that need to be taken care of before you can expect affiliates to benefit from promoting your brand to their African traffic?
Too many operators overestimate “Africa” as one market that can be targeted by one positioning, one proposition and one product. Based on our experience across 23 African countries, that could not be further from the truth. Local regulations, payment methods, languages and infrastructures all need to be taken into consideration – not to mention staying on top of macroeconomic factors by country. These are key elements why operators struggle to scale up across the continent. Premier bet has national headquarters in each of its active countries, with commercial teams operating under locally authorised licenses. This unique setup enables us to offer high-volume conversion across the continent, whilst being locally impactful.
Internet infrastructure is a textbook example of no two African countries being the same. At one end of the spectrum, we see countries like Kenya and Ghana enjoying stable mobile internet experiences. This is a natural reason why online sportsbook operators recognise the potential in these markets first and foremost. At the other end of the spectrum, we see sports betting countries like DRC that have the power in numbers, but arguably still a lower smartphone penetration. These are the regions where we focus on education and cater through alternative betting platforms, making sure Premier Bet is the preferred brand regardless of channel. One thing is for sure – the continent is transforming rapidly in favour of smartphones and mobile money wallets, and that is being reflected in rapidly increasing player values. This is a matter of when rather than if for any operation we are active in.
Q4: What are some of the key lessons you can share about Affiliate Marketing in Africa, how have you adapted your program and commercial offering to build scale and profit for your business and your partners too?
There is an unquestionable connection between high conversion and strong local communities around brands. This is going to sound like something out of a Kotler handbook, but the returns our affiliates have enjoyed have been unprecedented ever since we scaled up our local brand marketing, supported by highly credible brand ambassadorships. In addition to that, we made a shift from more conservative revshare rewards to fixed CPA rewards, to encourage affiliates to drive the continent forward together with us. The main reason for that move is that average player ROI can by no means be compared to European or American audiences, but we are determined to invest in our markets and can offer affiliates the benefit of scale in return.
Q5: You will be exhibiting alongside AffiliateINSIDER on stand A30 at the London Affiliate Conference, what can affiliates expect when coming to talk to you about your program? Give us the key USP’s for promoting your brands vs other African focussed bookmakers.
We are extremely passionate about the continent and want to share that passion with everyone that is inspired to make the leap. I’m looking forward to having insightful conversations with affiliates about the hurdles they might be facing, and how we can support that with our products and in-house experience. When affiliates join the Premier Bet program, they can count on local operating licenses, high brand preference supported by authentic African marketing, market-leading welcome offers and competitive CPAs. Not to mention the personal support by our experienced affiliate account management team!
Q6: Africa is slowly regulating iGaming – country by country – Do you think current regulations are sufficient or are there some improvements that can be made?
I believe there are still a lot of steps to be taken to protect African sports bettors. Our local operations take pride in having regular proactive conversations around this with regulators. Our teams’ benefit is having those long-term direct relationships with local governments to be ahead of the curve.
Q7: Why do you think Africa is an attractive place to focus business expansion in 2023 and why should affiliates invest their time and effort to grow value here?
Global iGaming has seen a remarkable surge, with the Americas being an incredible recent example of sports and casino audiences adopting online gaming. That also comes at the cost of an increasingly saturated battleground. I believe Africa is the final frontier where we still need to see the biggest growth spurts happening – that is a statement I would make beyond the iGaming space!