The Covid-19 pandemic threatened to undo nearly a decade of development progress in Africa, as the result of weaker health systems, lockdowns, and the evaporation of the gambling industry and tourism industry all occurring at the same time, resulting in the loss of thousands of jobs for millions of people. Because of the suspension of live sports and the imposition of national lockdowns in Africa, operators in the gambling sector were forced to reevaluate their product offerings.
Overall, the retail betting industry suffered a significant setback since it is the most popular option for gamers in Africa. The gaming sector in the area has seen exponential development over the past five years, making it one of the most successful companies in the region. Despite the fact that the epidemic endangered the existence of many businesses, many operators are still calculating their losses to this day. Although the Covid-19 outbreak showed us that there is usually a boom in the time of a crisis, firms with a strong online presence also felt the effect of the absence of a live sports event on their business.
The crisis, on the other hand, accomplished one important thing for Africa
it expedited internet business, and one area that benefitted from the circumstances is the gaming industry and the e-commerce industry. In Africa, it accelerated the growth of mobile online gambling and betting, as well as the transition from retail-centric players to digital players during the lockdown and after the lockdown. Operators in the region were offering mobile virtual games, numbers games, and simulated leagues during the lockdown and after the lockdown. The comeback of live sports encapsulates the increase in internet activity that has occurred and continues to occur.
According to a study done by E-play Africa media, the major gaming operators in Africa have supported the assertion that a large number of gamers have remained loyal to mobile online gambling and betting services. During and after the African shutdown, some players, having had a taste of online betting, choose to stay with it, as opposed to before the epidemic. Some, however, acknowledged that retail volumes are still well ahead of their online traffic in terms of both volume and traffic. According to one of the top operators who wishes to remain anonymous, it is only a matter of time until the gap narrows even more. While they can now brag of 80 percent of retail sales, that number is expected to drop to around 60 percent of sales in the near future.
As a result, players’ attitudes are shifting, and the Covid-19 has played a key part in the increase in the number of punters who favor online betting and gaming, as opposed to prior years. Another positive feature that has been emphasized is the financial sector, especially mobile money in East Africa, which has helped in the growth of online gaming and gambling. However, some of these mobile money providers, such as those in Kenya, Rwanda, and Ghana, are pushing customers to use their services by offering incentives and charging no costs on each transaction that is made using their services for payment. Meanwhile, authorities are limiting the use of fiat money as a method of payment in order to avoid the spread of Covid-19 virus infection. For example, according to the most current statistics published by the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), mobile and USSD transactions in Nigeria increased by 82.6 percent to reach 1.69 billion, compared to 928.86 million in the previous year, according to the data.
A further finding of the study was that mobile devices will account for 78 percent of all immediate payments made in Nigeria by 2020. According to the statistics provided, mobile payment has maintained its position as the most favored channel, accounting for 43 percent of all transactions in 2020, according to the statement.
USSD was a close second with 762.19 million transactions, accounting for 35% of the total number of transactions reported in the year. The study supported the increase in the number of bookies who are using this service, which has substantially contributed to the development of the country. A significant shift has occurred in the African market environment as a result of the Covid19 epidemic, and as we all know, there is a strong yearning for rebirth and regeneration after any catastrophe. Knowing that there is a post-war boom after the collapse of the dot-com bubble is fascinating; we now live in the internet age…………………….. Following the implementation of the Covid-19 ban, we have seen an increase in mobile internet gaming and betting across Africa. So the issue now is whether or not operators will be able to maintain this change in customer behavior to the internet. What strategies do they use to entice the proportion of customers who have returned to the retail form of betting?
Operators should proceed with caution; providing players with an amazing experience is critical to their success in this game. When it comes to providing consumers with an excellent experience and preventing them from having to return to retail, using current data is critical at this crucial period.