The widespread sports betting industry in Africa is a force to reckon with globally, which is now a billion-dollar industry today. As opposed to a few years back, which the sector merely underground activities, in a nutshell, people involve are tag with prejudice; it is against religious beliefs for many in Africa.
Notwithstanding, the industry has evolved from being underground activities to the mainstream industry today, particularly sports betting, which is the first choice of interest among the dominant young population. Consequently, the FinTech institution, internet penetration, and widespread mobile phones contribute to shaping the sector. In contrast, we take an insight review of what is driven the Africa sports betting growth, and what is behind the sports betting penetration in Africa.
Passion for the game
Like every other part of the continent, the global audience for sports is soaring daily, particularly football in Africa becomes a daily activity for the young generation in every town in Africa. The passion for the game is visible and the entertainment attached to it. The emergence of betting on sports as a source of entertainment significantly increases sports betting participation in Africa. The average young adult doesn’t tend to follow sports for the fun of it anymore, but an opportunity to make money from the said sports.
African football players
Mainly, the departure of African football stars leaving their local leagues searching for a global audience has been pivotal to the sector growth in Africa. Hence thousands of African players ply their trade mainly in the European league.
These have influence and provided grounds for the people for the adoration on the old continent leagues, where fans can cheer on their local heroes in a setting where fans rely heavily on televised coverage to follow the performances of their countrymen. Moreover, this has influenced the youth in the continent to develop more interest in sports betting and gambling while bookmakers target players with attractive marketing ads.
Mobile First Strategy.
The influx of mobile phone adoption in Africa has been pivotal to the widespread of mobile online betting. As a result, mobile is playing a critical role in experience delivery. Therefore, operators focus more on recalibrating service delivery and developing mobile-first sites and ensuring that features available on desktop mode versions are accessible using a mobile device and opera mini web, e.g. virtual games. The mobile-first strategy adopted by operators has been strategic as mobile is the new norm for the young population to carry out daily activities, which is the norm for players. For example, to compare odds, live-stream events, and follow events as it unfolds with checking the score, accessing mobile financial services, e.g. (mobile money). In essence, bookmakers have strategically focused their service delivery targeting mobile compatibility of their service delivery.
The economic situation is a key to the driver of the sports betting growth in Africa. The continent is the second most populous globally. It has the youngest population globally though it has been projected that one in three people on the planet will come from Africa by 2100 even though the African demographic has been a massive challenge in the case of per countries. The wealth each nation poses, as been marvel by corruption. As a result, the demand for everything from this young population, seeing limited job opportunities, even those working to make ends meal, is not sufficient to meet their monthly bills-this lure many to seek an alternative source of making money outside the formal economy. Consequently, many put aside their beliefs or affiliation to consider sports betting as the options.
Internet, FinTech Telecos
The sports betting industry growth has been driven by digital infrastructure project, as seen the region experience growth in internet penetration in recent years. In contrast, Telecom companies’ initiative to connect Africa with fibre optic cable to provide affordable and quality internet service in partnership with notable tech giant companies such as Huawei, Google, among others. The impending rollout of 5G features has positioned the continent while capturing the unserved and underserved population. Essentially the innovations in the Telecom space and FinTech sector to the sports betting industry. Telecom provides easy access to the internet and financial service. The interchangeable of this service has significantly impacted the growth of sports betting in Africa; with the aid of a mobile device. It becomes a more straightforward tool for players to place a wager on their favourite bookmakers right at the comfort of their homes or office; even on the go so far, you can access the internet and your financial institution.
The continent sports betting industry will continue to expand as long as these significant aspects remain in existence and the sector keeps evolving. Still, the greatest challenge to this industry is regulation. The question is, are regulators doing enough? Are operators doing enough to curb addiction or promote responsible gambling? The greatest threat the industry poses today is addiction, underage gambling. The survival of the business lies with these cardinal issues. However, time will tell if the industry could hold on as we have seen in recent years. The legislators of some countries going hard on some operators making the market unfavourable due to the unbridled activity of operators allowing underage and not doing enough to flag addiction.