Insight: Why online gaming is the future of Betting; but retail is the way to get there

2020-11-05 News

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If you’re considering making an investment in the gaming and betting industry, whether as an operator, bookmaker or a franchise in Nigeria. This is content you would most definitely find insightful.

According to a projection by industry experts, Nigeria will see a major shift from retail gaming to online gaming in the next 5 years. This is based on the forecast of Mr. Adekunle Adeniji, who has studied and pioneered the industry over the last 10 years, as a founder and director of some of the biggest betting companies in the country, and currently the Managing Director of betBonanza (https://betbonanza.com/sport). 

This projection disproves the belief by many that gaming shops will continue to be the best meeting point between operators and customers.

“Online will continue to grow, and will likely overtake retail in the medium to long term. This is based on key factors: increase in smartphone penetration, reduction in the cost of data, ease and comfort for customers, trust in doing transactions online, the effectiveness of regulatory bodies. At the moment, approximately 70% of players bet in retail, while 30% of players bet online. But within the next 3-5 years, little by little people will rationalize that it would be better if they are at home and they play from the comfort of their homes, and we will see a tilt towards mobile betting as they have done with banking, bill payment, and other services.”, explained Mr Adeniji.

Nigerians have been people who love face-to-face business, as it builds trust and creates a relationship. Initially, customers were reluctant to bet online because of some operators who came up and went down. So most customers took betting at a shop as a form of security on its own, and they could hold shop owners responsible if anything happened. But today, as with most sectors, mobile technology is changing everything and mobile gaming is also gaining ground. According to the latest Nigerian communications commission (NCC) figures, mobile usage is constantly growing, as there are now over 200 million cell phone subscribers and almost 150 million internet users in Nigeria, with 80% of this figure being able to access the internet on their phones. 

But there is another key factor which has slipped under the radar of analysts, as revealed by Mr Adeniji. 

“In Europe, retail gaming began big, but today it’s becoming extinct. So in Nigeria, it may be smart, to begin with retail to take advantage of the opportunities of the short term, and then leverage your acceptance and your customer base to grow your online presence in the long term. So, I think what we need is, of course, mobile-friendly technology, but customer education and awareness about the product are also vital. You could start with retail to build that trust for your product, and when you move online and your customers will definitely migrate too because you have the product that they need. This has been one of my strategies at betBonanza.”; Mr. Adeniji revealed. 

Mr Adeniji further pinpointed the role of suppliers to educate new operators in emerging markets like Nigeria on how the market works. “It’s not an automatic money-spinner. It takes a process to understand and penetrate the market. It also takes time to build a product and experience to get success. So suppliers need to help the newcomers”, he advised.

The Nigerian gaming industry is just over 10 years and already has over 60 million active players, with an industry worth of ₦730 billion, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

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