Kindly Maha, tell us more about yourself, how you started a career in the Sports Betting industry and how the journey has been so far. Maha Otu Betwinner Interview
I started my career as a contact center agent with one of the big betting brands in Nigeria. Initially, I wished to work as an industrial chemist, which was my field of study, but as we all know, employment is a major issue for most Nigerian youths, so I had to make the most of every little work opportunity I got. Within the contact center, I work on various resolution channels, and that exposed me to the various challenges punters encounter, which helped me in my role as a Team Lead when I joined Betwinner. Through diligence and honesty, I was appointed as the Director of Betwinner Nigeria
We realize that you are a devoted member of the Betwinner team, what motivates you in your career as the Betwinner Nigeria Director?
I am grateful to the shareholders for believing in what I have to offer and my motivation is to ensure that the decision is not in vain. Also, being a young director and making the company successful would create a shift in giving other young females a chance within the industry.
What is your advice to Investors who are closely watching the West African region as the best investment destination for their projects in various sectors and industries with the key focus being on the betting sector on the continent?
Africa is filled with so many untapped opportunities, and various opportunities keep getting unveiled as the continent grows in technology. The betting industry is still an attractive industry for investors as it is becoming more regulated, which gives investors a fair chance. My advice is for investors to make an investment now before it becomes too late. Maha Otu Betwinner Interview
How does it feel to be a director of a sports betting company? Most importantly at the age of 27 years and you being a lady considering that this is a male-dominated field and industry? Furthermore, what is your advice to young women out there who are seeking opportunities while overlooking the sports betting sector?
To be honest, I feel special because this makes me different, and it feels like I am making history. Men are considered for operations positions before women. Even new companies wanting to start in Nigeria would reach out to men with that experience rather than considering a woman as a country manager, that diversity is not there yet and this could be because we have fewer women with experience in operations roles and women who may have such experience are not really out there. Women should not be afraid of chasing big dreams or applying for that managerial roles or operations positions. You are more than sufficient to handle it. Most importantly, always believe in yourself because what goes on in your mind determines the aura you give people, and when they perceive doubt they can leverage that.
Betwinner has been majorly focusing on online betting, especially in Nigeria. However, we all know that Nigeria is a big retail market and most brands that have invested in that space are doing really well. Why are you not ready to take any risks and try to capture the retail market as well?
Not every company that goes retail succeeds, if we go with the majority how then are we different? We prefer to know what our niche is in the market and focus on that for now and if we are truly convinced to go retail then it would be done. We have a growing population of internet users and this is what we want to focus on by leveraging this.
It is true that technology is the major driving force for most organizations in the sports betting industry. We believe that Betwinner has not been left behind in tech as well. What did you do at the company technology-wise that you believe was the game changer for the company in the region?
Our introduction of mobile applications and making our interface user-friendly. We keep improving our platform to suit the needs of the user.
How can you compare the gambling industry taxation policies in Nigeria as compared to the rest of Africa? Is it Nigeria that should learn from the rest of Africa or vice versa?
Currently, we are still battling the issue of double taxation between the federal government and state regulators. There is no unified taxation structure, and this has been an issue operators have been crying for help for, but no concrete resolution to that yet and we hope we get a good resolution to that this year.
Gambling in Nigeria is regulated per state unlike in most African countries where regulation is done by one national body/authority. Based on your experience in the industry, would you prefer national or state/divisional regulation for gambling across Africa? What are some of the benefits and or demerits of state vs national regulation?
Having national vs state regulation is what leads to double taxation. As a company operating strictly online you would think that getting the national license would allow me to operate freely anywhere in the country but that is not the case in Nigeria, we have to get licenses for each state we wish to carry out any activity, which can be draining. As a company that operates online strictly, I would prefer to have a national license and a unified state regulatory body to report to.
What makes Betwinner unique and different from other sportsbooks that are providing similar services as your company across Africa?
We put customers’ needs first and design our products to suit the needs of each market, also the platform is designed to accommodate various types of punters and their preferences.
It goes without saying that there is no task that will run smoothly without any challenges, in your view, which is the biggest challenge that you have encountered while doing business in Nigeria? Recommend possible remedies for such a challenge.
The lack of unity between the federal and state regulators, inflation, and foreign exchange. It’s a growing market with a lot of opportunities for gaming companies that can be strategic with technological innovations and marketing. Maha Otu Betwinner Interview
Are you planning to launch in more African countries? If yes, which are some of the countries you are considering launching in? Any timelines for the same, furthermore, where do you see Betwinner in the next 5 years?
Yes, we are but I do not have the details as my only focus is Nigeria. In the next 5 years, Betwinner Nigeria will be the company people refer to when they talk about online gaming.
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