Esports betting in Africa, a market opportunity

The majestic African continent has always been historically known for its passion and love for sports. The African’s culture towards sport is one of celebration, a proper Karamu “Feast of the Feasts”, an African word that sounds familiar thanks to Lionel Richie’s famous hit All Night Long (All Night). The sports betting industry has been on the rise but there is still a lot to do to properly grow the esports market in Africa as it is not quite as profitable and popular as it is in other continents.

Worldwide, despite still being a relatively new market, esports betting is already a multibillion-dollar industry, and that’s where esports in Africa becomes highly important. It has a huge potential to grow and for this reason, we predict that existing, start-up and white-label sports bookies will soon heavily penetrate this market and will turn it into a real money industry. Currently, esportsbook betting operates in a different way than sports betting. This site for betting in Kenya is one of the few that does, but not a lot of activity is reported. Punters can bet with cash of course, but the main method is skin betting, the use of the so-called “skins”: virtual goods or tokens, which are commonly cosmetic items that have no direct influence on gameplay.

Esports betting started off in 2012 and was only worth $130 million. Also, at that time, a small number of people knew exactly what it meant and only very few gambling operators offered esportsbook betting. Since then, the numbers have grown progressively, they jumped from $315 million in 2015 to $7 billion in 2018 and will surely double in the next 12 months.

Most of the betting, and mainly skin betting, circa 35 per cent of the total esports stake, has been on the game League of Legends, followed by the game Counter Strike Global Offensive (CS:GO), with a betting stake percentage of 29 in 2016. The outlook on the sports betting industry predicts new profitable revenue streams for esports that might be similar to those coming from stadium and arena sports like football and rugby: sponsorships, media copyrights, advertising, tickets and merchandise. On top of that, esports betting can be highly personalised according to their geographical markets.

Esports betting has already proven advantageous to those online operators that use a free bet as a welcome offer or promotion. Esports is seen like Bingo, a great way to attract players and provide excellent cross-selling opportunities, bookies like 22Bet and Pinnacle have already mastered this marketing and CRM technique.

Esports betting in Africa will face a couple of major challenges to be able to compete with the rest of the world: gambling regulations and compliance as well as proper financial and infrastructural investments. However, despite these limitations, the opportunities are endless because the continent has a huge untapped pool of esports talent ready to take a stand on an international level. 

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