It would appear that the global iGaming industry has set its sights firmly on cracking Africa and becoming a staple form of online entertainment throughout the continent. Elsewhere in the world, there are increasing hurdles for the iGaming industry to overcome. In Europe, the industry is becoming more fragmented and expensive than ever before. The US remains heavily regulated and both South America and Asia are equally as challenging. It, therefore, leaves Africa, a continent with fast-emerging economic power and populations that enjoy betting.
In 2016, Newzoo’s Global Games Market Report found that Africa and the Middle East was the region to have the highest growth in demand for mobile gaming in the world. It experienced a 26.2% year-on-year surge in demand, helping to demonstrate to iGaming operators of the potential appetite for cross-platform online casino action in Africa, both on desktop and smartphone/tablet devices.
The biggest challenge for iGaming operators to overcome in Africa is to design products that resonate with the cultural and social nuances of African regions. Christina Thakor-Rankin, a leading consultant for 1710 Gaming, believes that an African-focused iGaming brand would be more successful than an iGaming operator from Europe that lazily believes it can launch exactly the same service in Africa. Ms Thakor-Rankin said that in online sports betting, Africans prefer “a homegrown brand” that “speaks their language” rather than the “big European betting brands” that have shirt sponsorships and pitch perimeter advertising deals throughout the continent.
Another indication that there is a genuine market for iGaming in Africa was a recent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) which found that South Africa’s gambling revenues alone are set to hit 30.3 billion South African rands in 2019. In Africa’s second-largest economy, Nigeria, gross gambling revenues from casinos are expected to reach $68.9 million in 2019. The upshot is that the gambling industry is looking increasingly dynamic and the improvement of connectivity throughout Africa will help to usher in a new dawn for iGaming in Africa. Legalised online casino games in South Africa are already monitored by the National Gaming Board (NGB) and in Africa’s leading economy, there is certainly a clear commitment to creating a fair and safe place for South African iGamers.
Recent Pew Research Center analysis indicates that the vast majority of sub-Saharan Africans are excited about the role of the internet and the way it is moulding the future of their countries. Most say it has a good influence on education and local economies. Finding creative and cost-effective ways of encouraging connectivity at a local and even rural level is the real challenge throughout Africa. Huawei, which recently teased its new P30 Pro smartphone handset, has been working hard to unleash Africa’s latent capacity with a host of new cloud computing services via Huawei Cloud South Africa.
Huawei Cloud’s state-of-the-art technologies and services, spanning cloud computing and artificial intelligence, are helping African nations and enterprises to usher in a fully-connected, intelligent age. This is something that will be music to the ears of the iGaming industry, whose number-one priority is to cement cross-platform online casino action throughout Africa.