Entering the African Market: Experts’ insights to operators

Matthew Calleja 1 year ago
Entering the African Market: Experts’ insights to operators

Last January, industry experts gathered at the SiGMA Africa Summit in Nairobi, Kenya, to discuss the opportunities and challenges of entering the African market.

SiGMA Africa Summit panel explores entering the African Market

The panel, titled “Entering the African Market – What New Operators Need to Know,” featured seasoned professionals from the iGaming industry who shared their insights and experiences on doing business in Africa.

Moderator Aideen Shortt alongside panellists Alessandro Pizzolotto and Bernice Mwihaki Kariuki.

The panellists discussed the potential of the African market and highlighted the need for operators to understand the cultural and regulatory landscape of each country. They emphasized that a one-size-fits-all approach to the African market is unlikely to be successful, and that it’s important to tailor products and services to the specific needs, preferences and regulatory requirements of each market.

Take as an example Ethiopia’s major focus on virtual sports, compared to the traditional sportsbook aspirations of Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.

Another important point raised during the discussion was the need for operators to build trust and credibility with local stakeholders, such as regulators, operators, and customers. The panellists stressed that this requires a long-term commitment to the market and a willingness to invest in building relationships and establishing a presence on the ground.

Alessandro highlighted the correlation between trust in new operators and the cost of licensing required for operation in a country. He compared the cost of obtaining a license in Europe, giving the approximate example of two million euros, to the significantly lower cost of licensing in Kenya and other similar countries, which only costs tens of thousands of euros. This cost difference means that operators may be more willing to take risks in countries like Kenya, whereas in Europe, operators may be more cautious due to the significant investment required and are more easily trusted to be serious about their operations.

The panel also touched on the challenges of navigating the complex regulatory environment in Africa. They noted that regulatory frameworks vary widely across different countries, and that operators need to carefully navigate local laws and regulations to avoid running afoul of the law. This can be particularly challenging for new entrants who may not be familiar with the intricacies of each market.

To be successful in a saturated market, quick adaptation to new regulations is key. Failing slowly is a luxury you cannot afford. Therefore, it’s crucial to adapt quickly. Regulations apply to everyone, and it’s an opportunity to stay ahead of the game. When a new regulation affects one company, it also affects others, so quick adaptation is necessary for success – Bernice Kariuki

Despite the challenges, the panellists expressed optimism about the potential of the African market. They highlighted the growing middle class, increasing access to technology, and the continent’s youthful population as key drivers of growth in the region. They also noted that there is a growing interest in iGaming in Africa, and that operators who are able to navigate the challenges and establish themselves in the market are likely to reap significant rewards.

Who’s who?

Alessandro Pizzolotto – Co-Founder and CEO, Stm Gaming – Panellist

Panellist discussing entering the African Market

Alessandro Pizzolotto is a co-founder of Gamerevolution S.r.l, a leading online affiliation company in Italy with a particular focus on poker. With over a decade of experience in the iGaming industry, he has honed his skills as a manager and an executive, working on various gaming-related projects. In 2017, he co-founded STMGaming, which quickly became a Btobet Certified White Label Partner and gained the right to resell white label solutions in Europe and Africa. Alessandro created a team of skilled professionals and a ready-to-go package that caters to the needs of the growing market. With Btobet’s support, they strive to enhance their offerings daily by improving software and services provided.

Bernice Mwihaki Kariuki – Head of Marketing, Aubrey Group – Panellist

Panellist discussing entering the African Market

As a Head of Marketing in the lottery and gaming industry, Bernice has over 7 years of experience in traditional and online media planning. She has worked with startups and established brands, helping them to excel in the currently saturated Kenyan market. Bernice is a results-oriented marketing professional with expertise in strategic planning, business development, and creating innovative plans that drive the bottom line. She has a proven track record of identifying issues, developing solutions, and managing projects. Bernice is also an excellent negotiator and communicator who excels at building focused and goal-oriented teams.

Aideen Shortt – Founder and CEO, Lilywhite L – Moderator

Aideen Shortt is a veteran in the interactive gambling space, with over 10 years of experience in senior and director-level roles in both operator and supplier sides of the gambling market. She has been an active participant and speaker at global industry events and has an extensive network of contacts. Aideen has held director-level roles at Skybet and Chartwell Technology and has also worked with Paddy Power, Clever TV, and Foreshore Limited. She is a writer, social media expert, and ongoing contributor of editorial content for several gambling industry trade publications, including iGaming Business.

SiGMA Group to return to Africa in 2024

After a resoundingly successful iGaming Summit in Nairobi, Kenya last January, SiGMA Group has been invited back for a reiteration in 2024.

Dr. Jane Makau, Chair of the Betting Control and Licensing Board in Kenya, thanked SiGMA Group for choosing Kenya to host their debut in Africa. She welcomed delegates to Nairobi and highlighted the expo’s potential for discussing emerging trends, identifying opportunities, experiencing new gaming products, and doing business in Kenya.

SiGMA Group is looking forward to welcoming its African clients and delegates to its annual African Summit next year. Check out our website for more information about our upcoming events, and visit our news page for the latest industry news from around the globe.

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