By John Bamidele
To say that Africa is an untapped market for the gaming market would be an understatement. More and more operators join the competition every year and Africa’s rapid increase in infrastructure development and internet access is connecting the continent like never before, which is creating more opportunities for the rise of igaming. The Africa gambling industry in the past five years haswitnessed the influx of notable gaming events such as ICE Africa by Clarion Gaming, Sport Betting East Africa, Sport Betting West Africa, BiG Africa supershow by Eventus International and SAGSE Talks West Africa, SAGSE Talks East Africa and SAGSE Talks Southern Africa digital events by MonografieSA, organizer of SAGSE, Latin America biggest gaming trade show.
Recently,SiGMA Group, organiser of the biggest igaming event in the world announced its SiGMA Africa event in 2022 in Cape Town, South Africa and the SiGMA Africa events which will also take place in two major cities, Accra and Nairobi in 2023 and 2024 respectively. The pronouncement by the Sigma Group is a welcome development knowing full wellthe power and influence the company has in the igaming sector. The Malta based company has done more than any gaming event company to bolster igaming in the world with its event in America and Asia. Held in Malta, SiGMA Europe, the premier event of the company is today the leading and the biggest igaming event in the world. A truly world class event with an elite selection of delegates, policy makers and thought leaders, an event having 400 sponsors, 200 industry leading speakers and a record breaking 15,000 attendees in 2019, SiGMA Europe is truly world igaming village.
This announcement is coming when there is a serious call for Africa to migrate from retail to igaming. The migration is significant for many reasons, principally because the rest of the world has embraced igaming and foreign investors will only invest in theigaming sector; the continent of Africa is fast developing in technology, mobile telephony, fintech and internet penetration. The bitter truth is there is a new normal in the world, forced down our throat by the ravaging Covid 19 pandemic. Human contacts and interactionshave to be reduced to the barest minimum to avoid contracting the deadly virus, therefore the need to embrace igaming in Africa.
If there is any gaming event that can engender and facilitate the transition from bricks and mortar to igaming in Africa, look no further, SiGMA Africa can achieve that. Sigma Group was the first gaming conference to fully embrace technology with the creation of SiGMA Deep Tech for igaming. Africa’s technology is evolving very fast. The inflow of venture capital into the African technology ecosystem is not slowing down. Last year, startups operating on the continent received $1.3 billion in startup funding according to WeeTracker. One cannot discountenance the massive influence of emerging technology in the development of igaming. The continent definitely needs such event like SiGMA Africa because of its deliverables. While most gaming conferences focus on regulation, legal issues, commercial and affiliate marketing, Sigma group has been able to infuse technology as an integral part of its event content world over and SiGMA Africa will not be an exception. A quick check at the numbers reveals that,35 African countries have embraced igaming and it accounts for $18 billion, which is almost half of gaming revenue in Africa.Fintechinvestments in Nigeria between 2011 and 2018stood at $204 million, while Nigeria Fintech companies secured about $103million in 2018, representing 58 percent of the total start-up funding. SiGMA Africa events will accelerate the growth of igaming in the continent by bringing in foreign direct investment, serve as a networking platform for igamingprofessionals and will be packed with highly educative and informative sessions.
The gaming industry in Africa is for the taken, growth in technology that aids the development ofigaming is very fast. Unfortunately, Africa entrepreneurs are not investing in the sector because they either don’t understand how the money spinning gaming industry works or because of the stigma associated with it. Setting an agenda for the Cape Town event is very critical. Regulation should be a key part of the event content. Regulation in Africa is very weak, laced with corruption and with very minimal punitive measure. Africa will never attract the FDI it craves for in the gaming sector, ifthe present regulation in most part of Africa is not improved upon.