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Africa: not a one-size fits all model

Africa: not a one-size fits all model

Looking specifically at the African sports-betting market, G3 Magazine discusses the habits, trends and preferences of African players with BetConstruct Regional Director in South Africa Zorair Asadour.

The betting and gaming market in Africa is diverse

Africa is a diverse market with key similarities within the continent and some differences between different regions. It is well-known that it is a rapidly growing market for gambling and specifically sports betting. Currently, BetConstruct has a regional office in Cape Town, South Africa. On this continent, it is the primary point of contact offering full sales and after-sales support for all partners.

“Our market share in Africa is as diverse as the market itself. We serve operators of various sizes throughout the continent, and our presence is growing thanks to our competitive offerings. Most importantly, we are currently in the process of obtaining a National Manufacturer’s License in South Africa,” says Zorair Asadour, Director of BetConstruct’s Regional Office in South Africa.

Working in Africa has its peculiarities. There are some key differences both in terms of betting preferences and habits, Zorair Asadour comments.

“For instance, Kenya is different from Nigeria and Congo. In Kenya pool betting jackpots enjoy a huge popularity and punters place bets mostly via SMS and USSD betting, i.e. placing bets using their mobile credits. Nigerian punters mainly prefer going to betting shops and placing bets while they are watching matches and discussing their bets with other punters. They also like virtual sports as much as (and sometimes more than) sports betting. The most common types of bets are accumulators as bonus promotions can multiply the possible pay-outs. Also combination bets are popular, such as Team A to win and total goals over 1.5.”

As the company does in other regions, here they also understand the need to develop targeted solutions that diversify partners’ growth opportunities.

“There are cultural and economic differences which lead to different betting habits. For example, punters in Africa mostly favour low-stake multiple bets and jackpot pools. In general, the African market does not fit into a ‘one size fits all’ business model,” comments Zorair Asadour.

Payment processing in Africa requires specific solutions

With respect to the African market, one of the key areas that requires a specific solution is payment processing. Unlike the European market, online payment processing does not enjoy high penetration in Africa. Therefore, BetConstruct is developing solutions that focus on, for instance, SMS and USSD betting which requires mobile payment processing support on their platform.

Because of limited access to smartphones, mobile solutions should be developed in a way that they suit all clients, some with low-end smartphones or feature phones.

Betconstruct has mobile solutions for iOS and Android as well as a WAP version which is a lightweight version allowing customers with feature phones to deposit, bet and withdraw. Because there is a limited access to laptops and PCs, mobile betting has a significant share amongst delivery channels. In this region punters prefer to book their bets via mobile phones and approach cashiers/agents to place those bets.

“The main technological challenge in Africa is the expensive and limited Internet bandwidth and connectivity as well as access to devices,” says Zorair Asadour. “Betconstruct has gone to great lengths to understand the technological challenges operators face and has invested significantly to offer bespoke solutions. For instance, the most popular requests are in-shop solutions such as local streaming of virtual sports, kiosk and self-service betting terminals, comprehensive cashier and agent system solutions as well as solid mobile infrastructure. Local streaming is particularly worth mentioning as it is a strong business case to cut Internet bandwidth cost and slow connectivity.”

African punters usually prefer football and virtual sports

Favourites amongst African punters are football, horse racing, cricket and rugby as well as virtual sports particularly Virtual Football Leagues. Punters also like jackpot-based pool betting especially when it promises huge pay-outs with small minimum stakes.

“We don’t rush to embrace all trends. We value the African player and always work to provide tailored and most reliable solutions. For example, we have recently struck a deal with Golden Race to provide their Virtual Sports, along with our Virtual Sports product, to our partners. We allow operators the freedom to choose and diversify their offerings,” says Zorair Asadour.