Suren Khachatryan, CEO of Digitain, explains how his API technology can help firms cater to however consumers in Africa prefer to pay and play, wherever they may be.
Africa is the world’s second largest and most populous continent with a population of over 1.2 billion and growing. However many international online gambling companies wishing to enter this fast-growing market, sometimes view the region as homogenous. It is, in fact, a market that has several challenges at a business, product and marketing level as each country within the region has different market dynamics pertaining to gaming preferences, never mind different languages, currencies, many other cultural nuances and of course technical infrastructure and access to the internet.
Africa is, without a doubt, a mobile- first continent, where computers have lower penetration due to the lack of hard wire-line infrastructure. Mobile is, therefore, transforming African countries in regards to communications and economic development. The latest market research suggests that mobile internet connections are to exceed one billion in the next five years as investment continues in more masts coverage offering faster-networks and lower data costs for end users.
And with the availability of cheaper handsets with more smartphone features it will continue to provide greater market accessibility to players interested in gambling-related products.
Therefore in terms of selecting a iGaming platform provider for the African market, it is paramount that the provider not only has the pedigree and experience in regards to the technology, but the ability to be customised and localised to a genuinely mobile-first economy, as well as retail.
As an independent multichannel sportsbook and casino platform provider, our API technology using agile sourcing methodology allows our tech teams the flexibility to design and deploy a completely customised product that includes popular mobile payment integrations like M-Pesa for not only each African market but for mobile and retail-based networks.
For land-based, which is still a hugely significant channel for player betting behaviour, we can deploy a mobile bet- shop solution. Android based terminals that can be used in street retail networks to take bets by agents, print bet slips and give payouts is another consideration for operators when selecting technology partners.
We can provide the betting operator with the flexibility to build out their end-2-end mobile road-map based on mobile handset usage cases of their player demographic. This may take the form of offering a data-light mobile version for the likes of Opera Mini or other mobile browsers where connection to faster networks and data availability is a consideration at the network and device level.
Other mobile usage considerations are around a 20-year old technology known as USSD. This protocol is being readily used by a growing number of African banks and utility companies to build their mobile banking and utility management applications all across the continent. The reason for the increasing usage of USSD is it pretty much works across every phone that supports GSM – and doesn’t require an install because they run on the network, not the device. It is, therefore, USSD’s ability to work across a plethora of phones, without the processing hardware that is needed by data-hungry smartphone platforms such as Android and iOS, that provides an exciting variant to how mobile facing betting applications are developed and made accessible to bettors.
The continent of Africa exhibits excellent potential, and we fully believe that working with local operators we can build a mobile betting vision not only for Africa but one that could become the new standard across more perceived mature Western markets.