Last week, Sports Betting East Africa 2019 brought together stakeholders from across the continent to gain valuable insight into the greatest opportunities and challenges of operating a gaming business in East Africa.
After a warm welcome from the event chair – Judith Kiragu, SBEA+ 2019 was well underway. The first session by the CEO of the National Gaming Board of Uganda (Edgar Agaba) tackled the bad perception of gaming that some of the public have towards gambling in East Africa. He noted that non-compliance, illegal operations, and poor CSR and responsible gambling regimes make the industry look bad to the public.
Shortly after that, regulators from across East Africa discussed their most recent changes. Uganda and Tanzania agreed on many policies – namely that regulatory harmonization needs to happen soon in order to promote ease of investment from foreign investors. In the following discussion, operators addressed their concerns about high taxation, signage banning, and high age restrictions.
After a hearty lunch, attendees listened as Najib Balinda showed them how to get sports betting into casinos. The main takeaway is that bringing sports betting to casinos will keep players engaged for longer, and will give them more chances to win money to play at the casino. Next, Lasha Gogiberidze discussed the main entry barriers to the African market. These are Regulation and Culture, Infrastructure and Products.
Delegates then proceeded to networking events sponsored by Digitain and Jim’s Poker Room respectively. First attendees had drinks at the venue sponsored by Digitain then they proceeded to Jim’s Poker Room for a night for the Poker Tournament.
The second day addressed many of the technical and operational challenges in the East African market. Affiliates and operators discussed the key differences between the affiliates and agents and they seemed to agree that both are effective in different business models and markets. Next, casino and sports betting professionals discussed the risks and rewards of VIP players. If you cover all the costs of having VIP players at your establishment, you can end up bearing high costs and receiving low returns, that’s why having a reward-based system is the most effective.
Catarina Marques from Clever Advertising then showed the audience the core principles of building a brand in the sports betting sector. A key take-away point was that a brand is not what you say about your company, it’s about how players feel about your company.
Software providers and operators then discussed the pros and cons of Omnichannel and multichannel. Omni-channel is easier for the customer as its one account with all their funds, either online or land-based, but multichannel can be better for the operator as it gives operators easily trackable performance data between online and land-based operations. The providers then discussed how to modernise products for African millennials. They noted that product education is a vital role in educating players but more than that, companies need to innovate new games to breathe new life into outdated areas of gaming such as casinos and lottery.
2020 and beyond:
Eventus International now plans to create even more engaging content for all stakeholders, and will be returning to East Africa in the next few months to conduct on-ground research and create content for the 2020 edition of Sports Betting East Africa.