27 January, 2023

10bet COO: The future of the African gambling market

10bet COO Nir Saadon sits down to speak with Gambling Insider about the African gambling market, 10bet’s expansion plans and where he believes gambling is heading in the continent during the next 10 years

How would you sum up the African gambling market right now?

We see a lot of potential in the African continent, but at the same time it is a very challenging landscape for operations. The latest stats show that Africans with access to the internet is constantly growing. For example, the estimation for 2022 is that they will make up about 17% of global internet use. This represents over 50% growth compared to African internet users from last year.

Furthermore, Africa has a young and rising population of 1.2 billion people with nearly 60% of the population aged 25 or below. This is also the fastest-growing mobile market with a ‘leapfrogging phenomenon,’ meaning that millions of people’s first experience of the internet is via their mobile devices. All these factors drive great potential for mobile betting, but there are also big challenges that shouldn’t be underestimated. There are a lot of technology and infrastructure limitations – data is very expensive, while bandwidth and connectivity are limited. What this means for gambling sites is that they need to completely adapt their product to these limitations. European sportsbooks have cool visualisations, animations, flashy ads – all features that will be problematic for the technological limitations for mobile users in Africa. We invested in R&D for our product and it is being localised country by country.

What about regulation?

Well, the complicated regulation system is another challenge. Legal issues have greatly jeopardised the growth of online gambling in some parts of Africa. The continent doesn’t have a long history in online gambling and, while local authorities are figuring out the best ways to legalise betting, operators need to be extremely adaptive in every country they operate in, as the legal frames are vastly different. Strict limitations imposed on gambling operations by government agencies may make market expansion more challenging.

There are different payment systems compared to developed countries. To be competitive you have to localise your payment methods, in many cases country by country. We’ve been successful in establishing strong local partnerships and 10bet’s players can take advantage of each country’s major payment methods, such as vouchers, cards, EFTs, mobile money. Not only this, but we can claim that in South Africa we will provide our bettors with the fastest withdrawals in the country (all in line with KYC and AML policies of course).

Africa is still a predominantly retail-led market. New operators will have to beat the brand loyalty that bettors already have towards retail local brands.

Where do you think the market will be in 10 years from now?

In 10 years, we believe Africa will be on par and competing in gambling revenue with continents like Europe and Central America. It will definitely have more regulated markets, improved technology and it will be significantly easier to enter the market. However, let’s not forget the saying that: “The early bird gets the worm.” It’s not a secret that whoever manages to overcome the early challenges and perseveres through will reap the benefits after that.

In 10 years, we believe Africa will be on par with Europe

Things have taken an upward trend in the African gambling industry since Covid-19 struck, and this counts especially for online gambling. There’s a constant increase of the youth population that is becoming more interested in sports betting and moving away from traditional casino games. The steadily rising adoption of smartphones and the trend of gambling at home are fuelling the digital segment.

How has the launch in South Africa been for you?

It’s too early to say – 10bet just launched in this market and deployed our ATL marketing activities. We’ll be happy to share some results in several months. South Africa is an extremely important strategic market for us. While the country’s online gambling laws have not been very progressive in recent years, the local authorities have recently taken steps to amend its gambling laws which opens the door to bigger revenue streams. Furthermore, South Africa was the first African country to introduce 5G, making our mobile app even more accessible to a greater number of the population.

We’re also investing in a sustainable business, not only globally, but also on a local level – we’re building strong partnerships and getting involved to support local communities. So far, we’re very optimistic, and we can see the hard work and monetary investment that was put into our African operations is going in the right direction.

Things have taken an upward trend in the African gambling industry since Covid-19 struck, and this counts especially for online gambling

Do you plan to expand outside Africa?

Yes, we’re leveraging our two decades of global experience on international markets and soon we will share news about a new continent we will step on. We’re aiming for Latin America, but we’ll keep our first market there a secret for now. Pretty soon, you’ll know about it.

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