Botswana gaming industry

Botswana is a landlocked country in southern Africa with a landscape defined by the Kalahari Desert and Okavango Delta with a small population of 2.3 million, the country was annexed by Great Britain in 1885 and remained a colony until 1966. On the 30th of September of that year, the first general elections took place and marked the establishment of the Republic of Botswana. The country’s gaming industry is famously known for its brick-and-mortar casinos. Most of them are housed by hotels or resorts making them a popular destination for both locals and tourists.

Casinos

Most casinos open for 24 hours while others open for limited hours. Common casino games just like in most casinos worldwide are blackjack, bingo, Baccarat, Roulette, poker, and slot machines. Plus, almost every casino in Botswana offers live poker games. Casinos in Botswana are majorly clustered in two popular towns–Gaborone and Francistown. Gaborone Sun Hotel and Casino is the largest casino found in Botswana. It is located within the Grand Palm Hotel Casino Convection resort with its doors open 24/7.

The Sediment and CrestaThapama Hotel is a renowned casino located in Francistown. The casino is open for a limited time—11 am to 2 am. Other licensed physical-based casinos include Syringa Casino, King’s CasinoMarang Hotel and Casino, Moonlite Casino, Menateng Casino, Sedibeng Casino, and Letsatsi Casino. Sun International Group ran most of these casinos.

Regulation

The industry is regulated by the Gambling Authority which exists as an entity under the Ministry of Investment, Trade, and Industry (MITI). According to the Gambling Authority of Botswana, the industry will have a strong external focus with a market that is largely outside Botswana’s borders by the year 2036. The authority affirms that this will be realized through an economy that is diversified, competitive, and private-sector-led, with sustainable business opportunities. This intent is further supported by the National Development Plan 11 which aligns with the national vision and commits to developing diversified sources of economic growth as one of the priority areas in the long term. Vision 2036 aims to transform Botswana from an upper-middle-income country to a high-income country within the next 15 years. This Vision identifies the following four key Pillars as the foundation of the principles it espouses: Sustainable Economic Development, Human and Social Development, Sustainable Environment, and Governance, Peace, and Security.

The Ministry of Investment, Trade, and Industry contributes to the Vision 2036 pillar ‘Prosperity for All’ and the NDP 11 ‘Economy and Employment’ thematic area. Therefore the Ministry drives policy formulation and strategies that seek to diversify the national economy through the creation of a conducive business environment, and diversified industries in addition to creating sustainable employment for Batswana by facilitating domestic and foreign direct investments. The Ministry also promotes the development of an entrepreneurial culture. These priority areas seek to address key national challenges such as poverty, unemployment, income inequality, and slow economic growth. Given the fact that the Authority is a regulator, its role in this transformation agenda is effectively facilitating the growth of the gaming industry. A position that was endorsed by both the NSO and the MITI.

Sports betting opportunity

As mentioned earlier the industry is occupied mainly by brick-and-mortar casinos with a few betting companies and the majority of international online sportsbooks that avail their offerings to this country meaning regardless of their population being small it’s a sweet heaven for small sportsbooks that would like to expand into Africa as a starting nest. Less investment reasonable business opportunity

By Najib Balinda attributed to the Gambling Authority of Botswana

 

 

The Rise of Virtual Sports in Africa

The African gambling industry has changed substantially over the last two years which notably arose due to the unprecedented outbreak of covid-19 that led to the growth of virtual sports far beyond what we all imagined since there was a time when all sports leagues were shutdown leaving sportsbook providers with no sports games playing to generate odds feeds from for their clients thus forcing punters to resort to only virtual sports and Esports.

The events in virtual sports are usually shorter than live sports events, lasting 3 – 5 minutes, and are depicted with extremely realistic graphics of the games made/created from real major sports leagues or races. Aside from realistic graphics and probabilities, realistic outcomes are possible in virtual sports events same as most betting markets in real Prematch and live sports betting.

 Thanks to technological advancements, an increase in both internet and mobile phone penetration, and a burgeoning population with a passion for sports, notably football. African bettors are growing aficionados of virtual sports in addition to regular sports betting across all popular betting sites and also in retail networks.

Why are virtual Sports Popular among African punters?

Virtual sports are appealing to football fans who wish to place larger numbers of modest wagers. This occurs to almost precisely coincides with modern African bettors. When you consider the age of the players and their fondness for technology, it’s easy to see why virtuals are so popular.

African demographics are characterized by youth. According to UN-Habitat figures, roughly 420 million people, or 35% of the continent’s population, are between the ages of 15 and 35. Sports bettors are typically younger over the world, and much more so in Africa. As many as 54% of sub-Saharan Africans aged 17 to 35 had at least tried betting Mobile betting is popular among African gamblers. According to GeoPoll, 75% of bettors use their mobile phones to place their wagers. As mobile adoption rises across the continent, sports bettors in some nations are more likely to have a mobile phone than a laptop

Virtual sports may be the first sports betting encounter for younger generations who have grown up in a world of high-definition graphics and video games. Betting on virtual sports can be utilized as a learning tool for people who are unfamiliar with the puzzling odds concept. Virtuals offer a larger frequency of betting possibilities, allowing punters to become familiar with the odds systems.

Virtuals provide skilled gamblers with the endless betting alternatives they’ve always wanted. Virtual sports bettors usually stop watching the event after a few weeks; the long-term attraction is the excitement of staking and winning money instantly after a few minutes. Playing the odds and putting their gut sense to the test is something many punters enjoy almost as much as the sport itself

In Africa, the great majority of sports bettors wager frequently but in small amounts. In Kenya/Uganda, for example, the majority of gamblers wager at least thrice a week, if not every day. According to a three-year-old IPSOS survey, the typical Kenyan resident aged between 18 and 29 spends $14 every month on betting. Virtual sports betting is well-suited to the low-volume, high-frequency betting habit. There’s also the issue of legal standing to consider. Games of skill, for example, are legal in Nigeria, but games of chance are banned. Because evaluating the odds before placing a wager requires ability, Nigerian punters can legally bet on virtual sports at any time

Finally, virtual sports appeal to the lifestyle and mindset of young, punters, which is why they are gaining popularity in Africa and worldwide. There’s never a shortage of events to wager on with 24/7 availability, thousands of events every day, plus the fact that virtual sports have no off-season

What are the forecasts for the future?

Any recipe for success must regard each country as an individual. Providers can also adapt their products to the market using virtuals. Football is a no-brainer, but the mix of other products, such as greyhound, horse racing, and Spin & Win (Virtual Roulette) will be determined by regional preferences

Virtual betting’s high-frequency, short-duration choice corresponds to most punters’ fast-paced lifestyles. It’s no surprise that operators consider Africa a strong market for virtual sports betting, given technology advancements, increased sports betting revenues, and a young and growing population In fact, gambling experts believe that virtual sports will outperform regular sports betting in terms of income. The moderating effects of virtual sports on the sports wagering business on the internet can be compared to the impact of streaming technology on the entertainment sector. With so much entertainment available at their fingertips, going to the movies for a new film has become more of a chore than an experience. Similarly, with virtual sports events available at all times, young African bettors may consider waiting for a live match to be a waste of time

When assessing the possibilities for virtual sports betting (or any other product) in Africa, it’s critical to avoid making assumptions about how development will proceed in other parts of the world. Understanding the future of the African betting market will rely on a thorough examination of its existing situation, rather than attempting to duplicate the growth of markets in Europe or Asia

African markets are expected to develop at their own speed, according to investors. The first thing that comes to mind is communication. Mobile adoption is surging across the continent, with Kenya surpassing 100% and other countries approaching comparable levels. While the Western world adapted to traditional telephones before moving on to the next stage of the technological revolution, the landline was rendered obsolete for many Africans even before it was deployed

Popular igaming payment method in Africa – MOBILE MONEY

Overview

Mobile Money is an electronic wallet service that allows you to store, send and receive money using your mobile phone. The key requirement is to have a telecommunication provider Simcard, for Africa main providers are MTN Group, Airtel, Safaricom, and Vodafone.

As Mobile numbers are a key requirement to opening an igaming account for punters to place bets/ play online casinos this paved way for integrations to be made into gaming and betting online platforms where punters can easily deposit money into their accounts with a few clicks from the mobile phones and also be able to withdraw their winnings straight to their mobile wallets.

Our Blog will highlight the role of mobile money services in the practice of gambling in general in Africa and another key must-know about the payment service (Mobile Money).

Mobile money is one of the best things to happen to Africa – For a continent where the habit of banking is growing but not at a pace that catalyzes fast development, mobile money revolutionized the handling of money for paying for products & services and embracing many industries including the gaming & betting industry too across all gaming markets in Africa.

 Before Mobile money, it was simply the physical betting outlets and online banking cards that didn’t really sit well with the majority of the clientele base that betting in Africa targeted. After its introduction, the industry couldn’t be rivaled by the amount of money that was moving through its systems on a daily basis. What spurred the phenomenon, even more, was the rapid growth of both mobile and internet penetration across many countries. The spread of Chinese-made cheap smartphones also ensured that everything was accomplished with simply a few clicks which paved largely the growth of online sports betting & gaming.

General Highlights

  • Sub-Saharan Africa is home to more mobile money users than any other region in the world, with over 200 million active mobile money users by the end of 2021. This represents around half of the global total active accounts.
  • Value of Mobile money transactions in Sub-Saharan Africa – 697.7bn USD
  • Registered Mobile money accounts in East Africa as of 2021 – 296M
  • Value of mobile money transactions in East Africa – 403.bn USD
  • Leading service providers: MTN mobile money subscribers as of Sept 2021- 51.1M  and Mpesa (Safaricom) subscribers as of 2022 – 52M

Mobile money is undergoing rapid growth in Africa, driven by improved access to technology, difficulties accessing traditional financial services, and an increase in contactless payments related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

For those with no access to banking services, mobile money provides financial inclusion, a way to participate in the economy without a bank account. This has led to a boom in the use of mobile money in Africa, one of the most underbanked regions in the world. In 2019, 200 million users made 24.46 billion mobile money transactions in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, and Northern Africa, accounting for 64.15 of all transactions made worldwide. Of the 690.1 billion U.S. dollars in mobile money transactions made in 2019, 456.3 billion U.S. dollars were exchanged in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Mobile money has become a big business for telecommunication providers in Africa. Approximately 144 mobile money providers operate in Sub-Saharan Africa, with two companies such as M-Pesa, MTN, and Orange Money accounting for a significant share of the market.

M-Pesa, managed by Vodafone and Safaricom and operating in seven countries, has seen significant growth in recent years. The service attracted an additional 12 million users from 2017 to 2020, reaching 41.5 million users by 2020. M-Pesa users made 12.2 billion transactions in 2020, generating 784.36 million U.S. dollars in revenue for parent company Safaricom. MoMo – MTN Group’s mobile money offering – has enjoyed similar growth – reaching 35.1 million active customers in March 2020.

The effect of under banking on the use of mobile money can be seen in Southern Africa, where banking services are easier to access. Mobile money has gained less of a foothold in that region, suggesting that unless another solution to financial exclusion in parts of Africa is discovered, the use of mobile money in Africa is set to grow even better in the future.

Mobile money accounts in Africa by region 2021 (in millions)

CharacteristicRegistered accountsActive accounts
East Africa296102
West Africa23758
Central Africa6019
Southern Africa134
North Africa151

Conclusion:  Mobile Money is a must-have payment gateway for any gaming or sports betting operator wishing to expand its operations into Africa

By Najib Balinda attributed to Statista.

Ghana a rising star igaming market in Africa

Ghana is a country in West Africa, it abuts the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean to the south, sharing borders with Ivory Coast in the west, Burkina Faso in the north, and Togo in the East. With spanning diverse biomes that range from coastal savannas to tropical rainforests, Ghana is the second-most populous country in West Africa, after Nigeria with a population of over 32 million.

While it may not be the biggest nation in Africa, the country is definitely flexing its muscles in the online gambling world. Not only is Ghana considered amongst the top gambling markets on the continent, but the West African nation has also been getting plenty of love from international observers. The top order of online betting in sub-Saharan Africa is pretty much set, with South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya leading the way, but Ghana has arguably become the best of the rest and is knocking furiously at the doors of the bigger boys.

By comparison, South African and Kenyan population figures are hovering around the 60 million mark, while Nigeria towers above everyone else with its 200 million plus people.

The Big 3 may hold the bragging rights for now, in terms of positions, but Ghana is constantly chipping away. Ghana sent a strong message of intent in November 2022, when it managed to lure global giant, bet365 into the country. Bet365 is the biggest betting site in the world. They are present in many nations and continents, across Europe and the Americas, but their entry into Ghana was their first official foray into Africa.

“It was our preferred location for our first launch into Africa, as one of the most highly regulated, and highly regarded betting markets on the continent”, a bet365 official said in a glowing endorsement of Ghana’s gambling industry.

The Gaming Commission of Ghana an Agency under the Ministry of the Interior that’s in charge of regulating and controlling the industry has endured plenty of criticism during its nearly two decades of existence, but this is surely a major feather in its cap.

Bet365 follows in the footsteps of many top betting players to launch in Ghana, with Betway, 1xBet, 22Bet, Bet-king, Betika, Mozzartbet, Odibets, and more all registered and licensed in the country. As pointed out in the bet365 statement, Ghana’s regulated gambling space has been a major attraction for these big betting players, but that is not the only thing that has been pulling them into the country. Ghana has a strong sporting tradition. It is one of the top football nations in Africa, with multiple AFCON successes and appearances at the World Cup. This sets a natural foundation for sports betting.

Over the last few years, that foundation has been built upon to become the big structure it is today. The rate of sports betting has been boosted by several factors. Technology has played a major role, with mobile penetration and internet accessibility constantly on the rise.

Perhaps, the most important catalyst has been the advent of mobile money, which has significantly improved financial inclusion in Ghana, making it super easy for Ghanaians in all spheres of life to pay for goods and services over their mobile phones. Ghana is a mobile money force not only in Africa but also in the world. All of these have combined to make Ghana a truly attractive prospect for the biggest bookmakers in the world.

Let us know if you are interested in a full market report about Ghana, Our reports will give you highlights about;

  • Market Overview – Estimated market size, main players, their estimated market shares, models of operations, and products
  • Regulatory frameworks
  • License requirements and costs
  • Barriers to entry
  • Double trade agreements (DTAs)
  • Taxation framework
  • Repatriation of funds policy
  • Advertisement and Marketing regulations etc.

Additionally, let us know in the comment section which country in Africa you would love to learn about next.