Every gambler in the majority of African countries, which are renowned for having a sizable gambling population, is now familiar with the word Aviator and knows what it means. However, compared to other games that were first introduced to the continent, their popularity spread more quickly. In an effort to analyze the African player and the driving forces for the widespread adoption, we take a look at the three stages that preceded where we are now.
The era of Live and Sports games
Speaking of gambling in Africa, about five years ago, if you inquired about the types of games that are popular among the continent’s gamblers, you might have been told that Africans prefer to bet on live sporting events more than any other sport in the world, with soccer taking the top spot. If you looked into why live games were so popular at this time in particular, you would discover that betting was still relatively new in Africa and that many people were trying it out for the first time.
It was clearly evident that more Africans, therefore, were more into sports and live games because of the trust factor, talk of a game between Manchester United and Arsenal FC. These are the kind of games that punters down here would bet readily on because they were absolutely certain that nothing on earth could change the results in opposition to their preferred forecasts. Players at the time put greater trust in clubs and teams than they did in the newly established bookmakers.
The era of virtual games
A few years later, a brand-new phenomenon called virtual racing games emerged. These games began to become more and more well-known once the first physical shops opened on the continent. In fact, they became so popular that the majority of companies began obtaining retail licenses.
What caused this business structure to be so successful? My thinking led me to believe that Players would just bet and receive their money instantly. Additionally, players were not required to wait 90 minutes before receiving their winnings as is the case for live games. In the majority of shops, virtual games typically begin and end in 3 minutes on average. Other games, like roulette, can just require two minutes per draw. This was a big opportunity even for non-sport lovers to try their luck in gambling.
Rarely would a player win and be sent away, and if it did, the business would be held accountable to that customer. The majority of the retail stores were owned by franchisee-operating individuals. As a result, the bettors had the confidence that they would be compensated regardless of how much money they won.
Another factor that led to the growth of the retail business across Africa is the fact that players didn’t have to worry about the internet as most of the games were live-streamed or accessible via satellite connections in the retail shops. Data, therefore, was not an inhibiting factor. Furthermore, even those with feature phones could easily get access to the games, place their bets and receive their winnings instantly. This kind of approach gave punters more accessibility to the gambling products that they were in need of.
The era of crash games
Once the industry had attained close to premium maturity across other spheres, ie in sports, casino, virtual, and lottery categories, then came the crash games. They only recently gained popularity after leading gaming companies in Africa began to run focused reward campaigns intended to encourage their audience to play the games. To encourage more gamers to participate in the promotion, one of the companies offered a motorbike to the player who would hit the highest odds. In order to increase the number of players playing crash games on their gaming websites, the majority of brands have also encouraged their brand ambassadors and influencers to launch campaigns across their social media platforms.
The question therefore is, why have these games become so popular in a short span of time and what does this mean about an African player? Does this mean that other gaming products can perform well if a proper marketing and promotion strategy is applied?
In an exclusive interview with iGamingAfrika.com, Jeremiah Maangi spoke with Akinlaja Ayofemi of Shacks Evolution Studios and Per Ivan Selinder of Split the Pot AB, they had this to say on the recent popularity of Crash games in Africa and future predictions for the games on the continent.
The trajectory of the world to Crash games was simply as a result of an easy to play game which gives more control to the players. They get to feel like they can determine their outcomes unlike other game verticals. The flexibility and ability of a player to get over 10x his stake in just a matter of seconds is amazing for players, and they can play so many multiple rounds with high winning margins. I think this really did it. And to think when this game started in the crypto gambling space, there was no graphics at all to make it look cool or fancy, yet there were so many people playing it. Its just too easy!said Ayofemi Akinlaja, Founder and CEO, Shacks Evolution Studios
My experience is that Crash games are hugely popular due to the excitement they bring seeing the value of your money increase while at the same time having control over when to jump off. They also come in many shapes and forms, from our own game Comet to others offering Airplanes. But they can be so much more like riding a Taxi and you have to jump off before it crashes. It is a bit fun that one regulator in South Africa asked if this is not too offensive since taxis actually do often crash! We also have a crash game where there is a Rugby player that has to pass the ball before getting tackled, also hugely popular.says Per-Ivan Selinder, co-founder of Split The Pot
It was clear from their comments above that the African player evolved over time. From only playing online to playing both online and in physical retail outlets, from only trusting sports clubs to trusting both the club and the sportsbook, and last but not least, and finally but not least, playing crash games in abundance whereby the adoption has been so fast and massive. We are eager to find out what the future holds for Africa, particularly in the iGaming industry.
It is likewise becoming clearer that the African player is receptive to using new products. However, how the products are packaged and delivered to them will be decisive. Additionally, the more options the player has to choose from and the more flexibility the product offers, the better.
Our respondents had one statement in common in their responses, the major selling point for crash games in Africa was the fact that they were quite easy to play and that they gave the player more control over their gambling journey. The players can easily determine when to bet and when to cash out their money.
What will be next?
We at iGaming Afrika, therefore, welcome any operators, developers, or game providers to test their products in this highly receptive continent. However, before any product is tried, it’s always best to engage with industry experts so as to be guided on the best techniques to apply and improve the products before they are finally tested on the ground.
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