Uplatform analyses the main challenges to consider when entering the promising online betting market in Africa.
Opinion.- A strong base of young, tech-hungry sports fans, growing levels of technology penetration, and regulated markets make Africa one of the most exciting and promising markets. However, there are a few buts. The markets throughout Africa have high potential, but they can also present some challenges to enter.
This article examines the key challenges that operators planning their expansion to the African market should be aware of and provides tips for overcoming them. Uplatform, a sports betting platform provider, shares some handy insights as a provider who knows challenging and complex markets well.
1. The Infrastructure Challenge
We know from stats that offline bettors can be converted to online betting, but this transition comes with its own challenges. Online access is relatively slow in Africa, which is one of the critical aspects. 33 per cent of Africans use the internet, but the number varies greatly by country. Kenya, for example, has a penetration rate of 85.2 per cent, but Western Sahara, Eritrea, and South Sudan all have rates below 10 per cent.
A successful operator in the African betting industry must be prepared for all types of betting and become effective at responding to market developments. What options does the operator have?
Firstly, to be effective requires somewhat of a hybrid approach using an omnichannel solution. That encompasses having both a retail and an online presence. Operators are opening their doors to more players taking the omnichannel path. This method is multipurpose, conveniently and subtly being able to adapt to changes (like lockdowns, etc), while also educating players on the benefits of online solutions, effectively speeding up the transition to the convenience of betting online.
Since less than 10 per cent of African households have computers, mobile devices are the most common way to access the internet in Africa. Although there are evident signs of change as more individuals spend more time online and use a wider range of devices, the overall process of expanding digital coverage and adaption is predicted to take time.
Therefore, operators need to implement a multi-device solution in order to meet the market’s individual needs; Uplatform offers a number of solutions to cater to bettors in the African market, including a fully adaptable webpage with a very light web version, mobile versions, as well as apps for iOS, Android and Windows.
Operators should also consider alternatives. Allowing players to bet by SMS/Telegram or through agents, for example, these alternative options will make it easier for operators to expand in African markets by eliminating obstacles for players.
In addition to offering all of these features, Uplatform also makes it easy to produce a straightforward and intuitive betting site that anyone can use in no time. Following implementation, a successful marketing strategy is also critical for letting potential new members know about the value of bonuses and why it makes sense to try something new.
2. The Transition Challenge
There is a mix of African bettors who also bet online but primarily opt for retail betting for a variety of reasons. The reason for this could be socialization or a poor/slow internet connection. There is a possibility that they are reluctant to completely change in this regard due to their uncertainty about how much trust they can place in online betting sites.
The team at Uplatform believes that almost everyone who currently enjoys betting offline can be converted to online. To effectively do this, operators need to fully understand the reasons that people have for remaining as part of the offline world. By researching the market and segmenting the different kinds of customers, the operator can draw up a concrete plan to move forward and convert an increasing number of bettors.
The fact that land-based retail betting still sits alongside online betting means that an omnichannel solution can work well in many cases. This is an approach that allows the operator to grow their online business while still running their traditional betting shops. Uplatform offers a comprehensive omni-channel solution with a shared account, shared wallet and shared loyalty program. That means that via one single registration players will have a seamless journey across different betting channels, be able to deposit offline and bet online and vice versa, keeping their bonuses and loyalty program.
3. The Payments Challenge
To be successful, an online betting site has to provide all of the popular local payment methods. This approach has already been implemented in different parts of the world, so what’s different about Africa that a unique strategy is needed? Crucially, the penetration level of typical online banking methods such as e-wallets and bank cards is lower here than in most other regions. For example, less than 5% of Africans have a credit card.
The most popular payment methods are alternative options such as e-vouchers, Mobile payments, etc. However, it’s worth noting that mobile payments rose to record levels in 2021. For example, 84 per cent of internet users in Kenya made a purchase with their mobile phone last year. In Nigeria, the figure is 60 per cent and is expected to keep on growing. Until more people switch over to the key banking methods available, African betting sites need to continue offering the banking options that are most widely used.
Uplatform offers a wide range of local payment providers and alternative payment methods: bank transfers, e-vouchers, mobile payments, etc. In total, they offer more than 300 payment solutions for their clients to choose from. Additionally, one of the fundamental components of working in the African market is working with agents – so for clients, it’s crucial to have a multi-level structure for agents and solid software to set the agent scheme, which Uplatform also provides.
Entering the African market requires operators to be prepared
Africa’s young adults, aged 18 to 29, are influenced by convenience, innovation, and technology, with 21% of the population ages 18 to 29. However, the customary tradition of bet shop gambling, local agents, and the lack of quality digital infrastructure greatly influence the betting market in Africa.
Despite the reopening of African economies and major sporting events, the African betting market has its challenges and its preferred ways. An analysis of the increasing need for African-inspired business solutions was presented in this article. And Uplatform’s range of omnichannel solutions highlights the need to be prepared, including innovative solutions such as SMS and telegram, along with the determination to be flexible and adapt to the region’s needs.