Much has been said about the potential for mobile gaming to thrive in Africa. With the advent of a range of innovative mobile payments systems and the increasing proliferation of smartphones – not to mention an increase in digital infrastructure – markets such as Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa seem ready-made for a mobile-first strategy.
According to Dr. Nick Papadoglou, lotteries group director at sports betting solutions supplier Intralot, this preeminence of digital betting does not mean retail is dying out. Rather, he says, operators are rapidly adapting, with online and mobile solutions making their mark on the type of experience that players have across brick-and-mortar venues.
At this year’s ICE, Intralot was keen to highlight their dedication to developing an engaging cross-channel experience for players, using up-to-the-minute digital and web-based solutions to deliver a new retail experience.
In its ‘Holistic Gaming Solutions’ section, the company showcased its Canvas Retailer, a web-based terminal software solution that allows operators to launch and modify games and content efficiently across touchpoints and defined device segments, instantly unifying the customer’s experience.
To increase this integration between digital and retail channels, operators could also take advantage of the supplier’s upgraded Device Management System, which enables full remote management and Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities.
Meanwhile, in the ‘World of Betting’ arena, the company showcased new solutions that built on the growing ‘Bring Your Own Device’ trend – a prime example of the way mobile and retail can work in symbiosis. This concept was exemplified by the firm’s updated Mobile Betting Native Application, which now offers more powerful features to players such as auto/partial cash-out and edit-bet, as well as an expanded portfolio of sports and markets.
“I think as we move along to this digital transformation era, the retail channel needs to – and must – transform as well, so there are elements like touch screens going in, and far more engaging games that are keeping people entertained in the retail space as well,” said Papadoglou.
“Nowadays you can’t just have the old paper betting slips – you need to make things more interactive by using digital influences as well. So, for example, you can make your payslip within the retail store if you want, and that would give you anonymity, but could also be linked with a loyalty card as well.”
This kind of thinking – driving retail engagement through digital solutions – works well across multiple markets, but could find a particular positive reception across several of the African nations, where a significant youth population is driving the demand for new technology.
Intralot has been heavily active in both Kenya and Nigeria since 2015, having secured multi-year content delivery deals across both the lottery and the sports-betting space. This high-growth continent remains a focus for the supplier, alongside other new horizons such as Latin America and the US.
“We are excited about Brazil, and we’re looking forward to exploiting the opportunities there even more,” said Papadoglou.
“We are also very excited on the latest developments in the US – we’ve got a big presence there, in over 13 US states, and we’re looking forward to exploring that more, but this year we will also putting even more focus on our loyal customers in Europe, maintaining that base and even expanding it.”