BtoBet, the pioneering iGaming and Sports Betting provider, has bet on the upcoming ICE Africa (Sandton Convention Centre on 24-25 October 2018) as the event which can help bring iGaming on the continent out of its infancy with the company set to showcase all facets of its new White Label Partnership Program to the mainly C-level delegates attending from 91 countries, including gaming professionals from 25 African countries. Speaking ahead of ICE Africa, where he will take part in ‘The move from retail to online: a case study’ panel, BtoBet’s Chairman, Alessandro Fried, explains the key elements which will expand the iGaming sector, how ICE Africa is of the ‘utmost importance’ to the market and why local partnerships hold the key to doing business in Africa.
Can you summarize the main positives of having a dedicated show for the African continent with ICE Africa?
Africa is one of the fastest growing markets in the world. And even though the African market itself can be considered to still be in its infancy, when compared to other established regulated markets, the majority of the 54 countries that comprise the continent are ready to regularize and welcome the iGaming industry. Thus, it is of the utmost importance of having a dedicated show, with operators having the opportunity to meet, analyse and discuss the unique approach that they must undertake to morph their activities to meet the needs and requirements of the African market.
As an internationally recognized iGaming and Sportsbook provider, what does the market represent to you?
BtoBet is certainly not new to the African scenario and has a very strong presence in the continent with many successful partnerships with leading operators in place. Its experience in the region serves as its backbone when assisting operators in the region to reap the benefits and the huge potential that the area keeps in hold. However, it must be stated that for all operators, and not only for BtoBet, the African market is a huge opportunity, especially when it comes to the widespread passion for sports, especially football, and the way that the whole continent has grasped the mobile technology. Having said that, the continent is still in its first steps when it comes to the iGaming industry and a lot still has to be done on various levels to truly reap the benefits of such a promising scenario.
With areas such as football-focused Nigeria and the growing iGaming market in Botswana, are there any countries which are your main focus within the African continent?
South Africa, Botswana, Nigeria and Kenya are the African countries with the largest and fastest growing markets in Africa and they feature high on the agendas of various operators, not only BtoBet, due to their infrastructure, mobile penetration and legislations already in place. Being present at ICE Africa provides us with the perfect opportunity to meet with those prospective operators keen on entering or expanding their activities to the African scenario. Having the industry’s major players under the same roof also serves as the ideal opportunity to assimilate the industry’s opinions regarding the African market and what best must be done to curb the challenges that the region poses.
The BtoBet solutions portfolio includes Live Betting, eSports, Lottery, Sportsbook and much more. Where do you see growth in 2018?
Although the African scenario has its own share of challenges, the lack of fast internet connections in Africa drives people towards mobile, with the majority of users accessing the internet solely on mobile devices. In this regard, trends demonstrate that Africa seems to have mostly “skipped” the desktop generation.
In growing markets such as the African demographic, governments have steadily invested in undersea fiber-optic cables and infrastructures, and data related to the mobile and smartphones users – particularly in Nigeria, Egypt and East Africa – Kenya and Tanzania – are overwhelmingly positive.
And it is these elements that will determine growth for the iGaming industry in Africa. In this environment, land based retailers can’t stay indifferent to the changing market and have to start moving quickly to Mobile and Online. Although sportsbook is very popular, and will continue to grow, all aspects of the African industry will continue to register growth through the mobile and online channels, especially as the infrastructures become more consolidated.
Which sectors will you be targeting across Africa?
Undoubtedly, sports betting is very popular in Africa and the advanced technologies that enable delivery of a tailored experience according to the African market requirements place BtoBet in the ideal position to continue to expand its operations in the continent. Our aim is to deliver a unique experience for the African player based on the characteristics of the market itself, which has various characteristics that differentiate it from other established markets.
Having said that, an ever increasing number of international operators are keenly interested in entering the African scenario both on the mobile and retail side. However, due to the complexity of the continent, there is a general consensus that the most successful way to enter these markets is via a local partner. And it is on this path that BtoBet has embarked in the past few weeks, with its White Label Partnership Program. ICE Africa will be the first major iGaming event where BtoBet will showcase all aspects of this Partnership, with its local partners – even in Africa – providing White Labels to other operators whilst effectively delivering the same high level of service that has become synonymous of the BtoBet brand and its technologies.
Through this certification program, BtoBet has gone a further step in making its advanced technologies accessible to all operators on a world-wide scale, putting in place a network of Certified BtoBet Partners that will offer the most advanced iGaming platforms on the market to White Label Operators, no matter the location, market or size of operations.
In your eyes, why was Africa chosen by Clarion to be the first time their ICE brand has been extended beyond its London home?
As explained above, the African iGaming industry is still in its infancy stage. However, it has all the elements in place to transform the interest manifested from various international operators into tangible investments. And, with a scenario that presents the vast majority of the African countries already adopting mobile sportsbook, and with mobile payments being the most common used payment method, one can easily assume that we are referring to a market which is full of potential.
As with all emerging markets, challenges do arise and the opportunity of Clarion hosting ICE Africa directly on the continent itself paves the way for operators to get a true idea of not only the challenges themselves, but the opportunities and the approach that must be undertaken to unleash the full potential of the market.
ICE Africa will feature content and networking opportunities developed exclusively for top-tier participants. Agenda sessions will cover all of the key issues facing traditional gaming operations, as well as Integrated Resorts including Marketing, CRM, Business Intelligence, Cash Desk and Hospitality. World class training will be delivered by the Totally Gaming Academy, which is widely regarded as being the industry’s premier training and development provider.
For more information on the first ICE Africa and to register, visit the ICE Africa website: www.iceafrica.za.com