(South Africa, SoloAzar Exclusive).- Max Dubossarsky, COO at Betinvest, granted an interview to SoloAzar, in which he made an evaluation of the participation of the firm at recent ICE Africa.
What products did you present in ICE Africa?
Our main focus was on our solution for betting terminals since most operators in this region are offering land-based services first and foremost. We did of course also present Sportsbook as a Service, our lottery solutions and the virtual gaming products we designed in-house.
Everyone we spoke to at the exhibition was pleased with the selection of events and markets in our Sportsbook. It’s perfectly suited to the African region. During the event, we were able to speak to visitors from South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda and Kenya. They were all familiar with various integration methods and were particularly interested in our use of iframe integration to provide Sportsbook as a Service.
Brand assimilation plays a very important role in Africa, by which I mean that a brand must be designed in such a way that local players accept it as if it were their own. A seemingly local brand will have a greater chance of success than a European one. As they say in South Africa, “local is lekker”.
How have you seen this second edition of ICE Africa?
We’re grateful to the Clarion Events team for all their hard work and excellent organisation of ICE. A wider selection of exhibitors attended this year’s event. The fact that so many companies from all the corners of the earth gathered in Johannesburg is a reflection of the event’s prestige, as well as of high hopes for the industry’s development in Africa.
The event successfully drew a great number of visitors from the target audience. Local operators were able to gain a better understanding of worldwide trends in iGaming’s development. It was an amazing opportunity for them to find out, in person, information that would go on to form the basis for their businesses’ direction and to analyse international industry standards and values.
What was the purpose of your participation in this event? Has it been fulfilled?
Our goal was to promote the Betinvest brand to a wider audience – specifically one local to the African region. Africa’s betting industry is in a state of constant growth and it’s those who visit exhibitions like ICE who will be driving its development.
It was a pleasure to meet so many local operators. We’re discussing potential partnership opportunities with them since they already have a lot of expertise and insights when it comes to running a betting business in the region.
We were also able to speak to South African regulators and managers who handle GLI certification in Africa. As a B2B provider, we’re offering our solutions and products to the market and, by doing so, we hope to advance the industry.
What are your goals for this region in the short and medium term?
In the near future, we plan to establish partnerships with betting operators in the most developed countries in terms of both their economies and betting regulations. In the long term, we plan to make our own contribution to the industry’s development by providing operators with reliable and relevant products, as well as by promoting responsible gaming.
What are the main challenges that the firm has to face in order to install a new business in this region?
First of all, locals form their opinion of an operator based on their presence “on the ground”. This means that it’s important to offer not only online services but also land-based ones.
In terms of regulation, the industry is progressing and the countries’ laws are changing. In Kenya, for example, the tax rate has risen from 10% to 20%. This may intimidate those who want to start a business there, or even prevent them from doing so.
The internet connection isn’t yet as reliable or far-reaching as what we’re used to in Europe, but it’s always improving and global network coverage is being expanded. Its current state may present a challenge for some operators, but over the next 5 years I think we’ll see an increase in the number of people playing games that require a good internet connection.
And finally, it’s important to remember that the standards for responsible gaming in Africa are at a very basic level at the moment.
What are the characteristics of the average gambler in Africa? Have you discovered special features or differences in tastes or use of technology, depending on the country, or in the age, for example?
The average stake in Africa is generally lower than it is in Europe. Bets placed in betting shops also tend to have lower stakes than those placed online. This is because the customers who bet online tend to have higher incomes than those who frequent betting shops. This means that, though the number of bets placed in betting shops outranks the quantity placed online, it’s the opposite situation when it comes to the size of the stakes.
Generally, players in Africa aren’t very experienced in betting and don’t need to be offered a huge range of markets on an event. A selection of up to 20 markets will be plenty for them.
When we consider player profiles, we see that the target audience in Kenya – the main revenue bringers – generally fall into the 25-45 age bracket. In Nigeria, online betting services are becoming more popular with the younger members of the middle class.