“Virtual sports is not like a slot game. You can’t just integrate it and let it go. You have to adapt, change according to what the market needs and work on a daily basis.”
That was an appeal by Golden Race CEO Martin Wachter to delegates at the SBC Digital Summit Africa, where he joined a panel on ‘Enhancing the popularity of virtual sports’.
You can click here to watch the full panel from the event, or see the video embedded above.
Session moderator Dolan Beuthin, CEO and Co-Founder at BetMonsta, set the scene for the discussion to come by saying:
“The biggest money spinner in Africa is virtuals. Forget about casino and sports. Virtuals, as a standalone product, are the biggest provider of income and turnover for the betting industry in Africa.”
To throw some numbers on this opening statement, Wachter replied: “We are selling around 50 million betting slips a day, more than 20 million bets. In 2019, we had half a billion € in GGR. In Africa, we are selling at the moment seven out of 10 tickets every day.”
“It’s the only continent where betting shops open because they want to have the virtuals. Let’s take, for example, Nigeria where in terms of retail 65% generated in sports betting is done from virtuals. It’s not like in the UK where you do maybe 10% or in Italy you do 15%. Virtual sports is extremely high.”
Everyone in the industry will have seen the clamour to integrate online virtual sports when COVID-19 decimated the sporting calendar. Kenya is one of the African countries with the highest mobile and desktop betting adoption, whereas the rest is still mainly retail based.
Luckily, said Wachter, income from virtual sports on the retail side in Africa was not hit too hard because the main markets such as Nigeria didn’t lockdown for long. Yet, he admitted the opportunity for growth in 2020 for Golden Race has come outside of the continent.
“When you think about Africa, virtual sports was already huge,” he said. “It (the lockdown) helped us to grow outside of Africa. A lot of the operators who never had resources left to add more virtual sports showed an interest. We signed 110 contracts in the first two weeks.”
Later pressed on key learnings for the African market, Wachter replied: “What we can see in Africa is that 95% of our traffic is done by virtual football.
“But the most important thing to understand is we don’t need 100 different games, we should learn that we use the games we know the players like to play, then improve it, make it more simple. And maybe add the horses and some small number games.
“Where Golden Race is different from most of my competitors is that if you see the games in Bet9ja in Nigeria or games in shops across Kenya or Ghana, they look completely different.”