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Regulations, Restrictions and Requirements: iGaming in Africa


January 30, 2023 ( Newswire) The global iGaming industry is currently worth in excess of $60 billion USD, and it is estimated that iGaming in Africa contributes $2.2 billion to that figure - an amount that is set to increase by at least 12% year on year, up to at least 2030. With a population now exceeding 1.4 billion, increased internet infrastructure, a burgeoning middle class, and a surge in the availability of smartphones, the African market is looking more attractive than ever.

However, ask any iGaming industry insider to list their major pain points and you'll almost certainly be met with mention of the constant battle against 'regulatory headwinds'. Whilst keeping up with ever-changing regulations in existing markets can be a headache, navigating them in emerging markets can be a complete minefield - and Africa is certainly no exception.

The problem becomes how best to capitalise on the potential of the emerging African markets in the face of the diverse regulatory and legislative practices throughout the continent. Africa has the opportunity to develop and deliver regulatory landscapes that are sustainable, safe, and lucrative.

Whilst sports betting is by far the most popular choice of gambling in Africa, online casino slots and table games are growing in popularity - where regulations allow. A recent article that looked at the current legislative landscape in Africa showed just how vastly the rules and regulations differ across the board. Penetrating the African iGaming market means navigating around countries that still strictly prohibit gambling (for cultural and religious reasons), to where the regulations are somewhat ambiguous (Nigeria, for example), through to what is ultimately the end goal - a fully considered and developed regulatory infrastructure (Tanzania).

Beyond the regulations, those hoping to enter the African market face further restrictions. In an interview with Gambling News, Thomas Smallwood from ESA Gaming spoke of the need for lightweight gaming solutions due to connectivity and technical issues amongst mobile phone users. In addition to this, he highlighted the cultural need to incorporate a 'social' aspect into games, with add-ons such as chat functions and multiplayer modes, to replicate the interactive nature of current offline betting.

Customer service and support is a huge area where more challenges arise. Atlas-IAC CEO, Sergei Efimenk, spoke of the African market's expectations to have human support available to customers and that they were, rightly so, wanting to speak to agents who were fluent in their local languages and dialects.

There is then the need to address payment processing. With some financial institutions refusing to deal with iGaming transactions, and a great deal of players who do not hold traditional bank accounts, workarounds are of paramount importance. Mobile contract payment systems, such as Vodafone's M-Pesa, are a popular choice that are gaining traction, as is Slotegrator's Moneygrator, which offers support for multiple currencies, single transactions, integration, and more than 250 payment processing options.

One option for those looking to enter the market is through affiliate programmes, such as Premier Bet Partnerships. Giles Catteeuw, Head of Acquisition, tells of how this can give those new to the market an advantage by having access to local operating licences as well as authentic African marketing and in-house expertise.

When Guardian Nigeria recently looked into updating the digital gambling legislation in Africa, they also explored the cost and process of setting up a sportsbook or online casino business in Africa. Taking Nigeria as a costing example, solutions such as white label casinos and turnkey operators were shown to offer a quicker and cheaper market penetration process.

Perhaps even more so than other industries, building a strong network within the iGaming sector is an essential element of success. Fortuitously, iGaming excels at creating opportunities for operators, suppliers, designers and marketers to come together, showcase their ideas, share their solutions, and build strong personal and business relations. For those interested and involved in the emerging African iGaming market, the Gaming Expo Francophone Africa (GEFA) is the place to be. The event takes place on the 8th - 9th March 2023 at the Casablanca Marriott Hotel in Morocco.

Overall, it is clear to see that the African iGaming market is set to flourish in the coming years. Some areas of iGaming have suffered decline in recent years, but Africa offers the chance to rebalance the books. Super Group recently demonstrated this, with growth in the Africa and Asia-Pacific sports betting sector playing a part in their 2022 Q2 profits.

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