Africa holds significant potential for the gambling industry, but products need to be adapted to fit the infrastructure and prioritise accessibility, says Thomas Smallwood, head of marketing at ESA Gaming.
As a continent, nowhere has more potential in the betting and gaming industry as Africa. Home to more than 1.25 billion people, it is set to have incredible growth in terms of population in the coming years, while its technological infrastructure is rapidly improving.
More than half of global population growth between now and 2050 is expected to occur in Africa, with 26 nations forecast to see their numbers double by that time, according to the United Nations.
However, many make the mistake of looking at Africa as one market, when in reality, every nation, territory and region has wildly different cultures, demographics and attitudes, and that’s what makes it such an exciting and intriguing place to do business.
Each country faces its own challenges, as well as opportunities, but there are hurdles to be cleared in preparation for smooth market entries and continued progress. These can be anything from immature casino and betting markets, right through to internet connectivity and data speeds.
Stark digital divide
Although the situation is improving, law firm White & Case called the digital divide in Africa “stark.” In a recent report, it noted that of the least-connected countries in the world, 21 are in Africa.
Like any and all market entries, you cannot expect any success without doing your research on what devices are being used, testing compatibility on browsers, checking loading speeds and the amount of data you are caching, for example.
In areas where Wi-Fi speeds aren’t as advanced, or indeed as prevalent as in other gaming jurisdictions, there can be a reliance on mobile data to access the internet and enjoy gaming sessions.
With data being either limited in bandwidth or not at superfast speeds, such as those enabled on 5G, it is also vital that any products looking to penetrate the African market are lightweight, ensuring seamless experiences without prolonged loading times or jittery play.
Focus on lightweight content
Having this lightweight content, be it slots, live dealer games, or sportsbooks, will ensure players are attracted to offerings. Ultimately, players will use products they can access, and return to them over and over again if they are adaptive to their circumstances – such as lightweight games.
The way we solve this is that our non-traditional games portfolio sits within sportsbooks and therefore does not require players to load up new webpages for a session, offering a simple, lightweight alternative to heavy, videoslot-style content, Smallwood said.
Products such as Goal Mine, Joker Poker and Fruitz&Spinz, offer a variety of casino or sports-themed RNG games that can be easily accessed via a swipe-in widget.
Other examples of genres that resonate with local players looking to get a taste of iGaming are crash games – simple, community-focused titles without intense graphics or loading times. These games have the added benefit of being quick resolution, ensuring they are ideally matched with mobile, on-the-go players, rather than fixed desktop users.
It’s an age-old saying, but ‘less is more’ has never been more apt when discussing the potential of emerging markets in Africa. Having a focused roadmap of content that is designed to work in regions with mobile data as the prevalent source of internet connection, rather than graphic heavy content that is popular in European markets, is beneficial. It requires a deep understanding of quick-pivot games that can grow with the technological structure, and appeal to players immediately without the need to invest in new devices or internet capabilities.
With more countries waking up to the potential of regulating iGaming, we see the African continent as the next big market.
SiGMA Africa: Conference, culture, charity
As part of our promise to make good on our commitment to bring more than just good business to the locations we operate in, we’re making sure our first stop for 2023 takes the time to spotlight projects at the heart of our charitable Foundation’s global mission.
We head to Ethiopia on the 21st, from where we’ll fly to Jimma for the inauguration of SiGMA Foundation’s latest charitable project in Bonga; a kindergarten, primary and secondary school complex that is being built to accommodate up to 700 students.
The SiGMA Foundation School has been built off the back of a number of generous donors, such as Ruby Foundation, and charitable fundraisers held by the Foundation over the past few years – including the Browns’ Camino de Santiago pilgrimage – a hiking program through rural northern Spain which brings together groups of people for the trek of a lifetime. We’ll then head out for a visit to some of the SiGMA Foundation’s most successful past projects.
To join us in Kenya and Ethiopia reach out to Ekaterina. For more information on SiGMA Africa visit our website to learn how you can speak, sponsor, or exhibit.