Africa has long been seen as one of the jewels of the ever-expanding iGaming market. But what are some of the immediate issues that need attention?
We caught up with Dolan Beuthin, CEO, BetMonsta to hear his thoughts on mobile billing, absorbing data costs and the popularity of football.
We’ve seen regions like Kenya and East Africa grow quite a bit because of mobile money. Will we see wider adoption of this tech moving forward?
The uptake has been slow in other parts of Africa. In South Africa, it’s really been slow as well.
They’ve tried it a few times and MTN (South African Mobile Operator) now seems to be trying it again.
Primarily it was a big driving force in East Africa because they didn’t have as many standard banking platforms as the rest of Africa when compared to places like Nigeria and Ghana.
When expanding into other countries with our operations, I see mobile money as a massive driver as it’s a very simple way to transact.
However, it’s definitely not a big thing in South Africa. MTN recently launched an app to get mobile money going again, which didn’t really work when Vodacom tried. Vodacom failed dismally in South Africa with the mobile money application.
There was no need for it in South Africa, there are so many other solutions. In Nigeria, it’s never been a big thing either. There are too many other solutions and they are too innovative.
In smaller countries, I think it will always be a big driving force and a massive player in the market.
The only stumbling block is the fact that there will always be a limit on a daily single transaction on a mobile money platform, due to KYC etc. We just don’t get enough information on the player or the person transacting.
Many African regions have followed a trend that skipped the desktop age and went straight to mobile because of easier access to data. Considering this, why are there still such low numbers of digital adoption in comparison to certain regions such as Europe and what can be done to improve this?
The main problem is the cost of data.
However, the cost of the device also plays a part too. It’s a lot easier to buy a cheap mobile handset than a whole desktop to transact on. It’s going to take quite a while for it to catch up to where the rest of the world is.
For an African player to sit on his mobile device, it’s astronomically more expensive compared to the rest of the world.
But there are solutions.
There are a lot of the operators, including us, who are assisting the players with free data sites.
As a player enters their betting site, they’re given the opportunity to enter a free data version.
We’re basically absorbing the cost of data, as operators. The player will be able to get updates and they’ll be able to bet without any data costs.
We’ve formed partnerships with the mobile network operators in various countries and we’re happy to take over the cost of the data for the player. It’s not active yet as it’s a lengthy procedure, but over the next few months you’re going to see a massive uptick in betting
We know football is one of the most popular sports in a fairly long way. What can operators do to bring other sports more in line with its popularity?
It’s all about marketing. As the players and the audience become slowly more mature, they’re going to become more educated.
It also comes down to data again. As the data becomes cheaper, they’re going be able to view different sports more cheaply.
The more access you have to the sports, the more that the betting will grow on that sport.
Football is the most exposed sport on television worldwide. You’re not going to get growth on a sport that is not televised.
For example, USA, where the “localised” sports are televised – that is what the bettors will gamble on. All about exposure to the public and understanding the games.
And the minute that they’re able to see these sports, whether they’re streamed, or in whatever method they are exposed to them, the players will start to bet on them.
Editor’s Note: It’s clear that mobile billing is the best solution for smaller African countries with less choice of banking platform.
With the price of data being a constant hindrance for developing gaming in Africa, BetMonsta is one of the few businesses that are taking the initiative to overcome and absorb the costs. As this becomes more commonplace, we should expect a surge in online gaming on the continent.
Lastly, the popularity of sports other than football will always be dictated by their availability to view and is unlikely to change in the short term.