Curtis Roach caught up with Andrew Aligula, COO for OdiBets to hear his perspective on the impact of the pandemic, how it changed customer behaviour and what this means for the future
Kenya and some of its East African counterparts have been the shining light for African iGaming in recent years. Developments in mobile money have been a driving force in this regions progress allowing their sportsbook operators to generate over $2Bn in combined revenue. However, even with these impressive numbers, the impact of the pandemic was still felt significantly when all the live sports were cancelled.
What impact did the lack of live sports have on the Kenyan market?
Sports betting was adversely affected when governments and sports federations suspended in-stadium sporting events due to Coronavirus containment measures. As a leading sports betting operator, Odibets, like other operators, grappled with a rapidly shrinking market with little to no events to offer during the pandemic.
What other types of games gained popularity during the Covid-19 lockdown, and what does this mean for future product trends?
Esports became a massive hit when Covid 19 lockdowns were announced in mid-March, 2020. Virtual betting numbers also improved significantly during this period.
Will this effect future product trends?
Today, we face a highly connected, educated, mobile fast, and virtually driven consumer with multiple options. His demands are personal and sophisticated.
Operators and service providers will have to step up with matching products to match the sophistication such as peer to peer or social proof enabled features taking the forefront among other things. There will be no room for leap effort products in future.
What other East African countries do you have plans to expand into, and what promotional strategies will you be using to get the new audience engaged?
Odibets is only available in Kenya and Ghana at the moment. As part of our rapid expansion plan, we will soon announce a new partnership with a prominent celebrity in East Africa. We plan to expand into Tanzania, Zambia, Nigeria and South Africa.
Our growth strategy is solid product-market fit (product) with inbuilt viral features. For example we have free bets, a lite mobile app, cash giveaways, and data free browsing on demand. We also use organic search and paid media to acquire users from the likes of Google, Opera, Livescore websites and top local sites.
Offline, we seek sponsorship opportunities with an upside for the Odibets brand. Our grassroots initiative dubbed "Odi Mtaani" with the Football Kenya Federation (FKF) which is worth over $1 million annually has been such a success.
Key African markets such as Kenya are still in a growth phase and have a lot to offer. What processes or strategies can African based operators adopt from their more experienced European counterparts, such as Bet365, that would help the industry reach its potential quicker?
Multiple payment integrations are key if the betting operators in Kenya and Africa as a whole want to reach full potential like Europe. Although the mobile money sector is huge because of a highly rural populace; payment integrations like PayPal, Skrill, Neteller will be key growth levers for future growth.
Expanding access through USSD/SMS or betting shops; a full product range such as lotteries, jackpots, casino, plus embracing affiliate marketing at scale are also key to satisfying the growing demand for betting in Africa.
From the interview we can conclude that the future seems bright for this region regardless of this year’s setbacks. There is still plenty of opportunity for growth especially in those East African countries like Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia where the infrastructure and market appetite is ideal for iGaming. Something operators like Odibets are agile enough to take advantage of.
For more information on key African markets and insight from key stakeholders ‘on the ground’ make sure you’ve registered your interest in SiGMA Africa 2022. Cape Town. It will be an unmissable show, providing critical regional insights to help you grow your business.
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