Golden Race CEO Martin Wachter addressed delegates at the SBC Digital Summit Africa, where he joined a panel on ‘Enhancing the Popularity of Virtual Sports’ with an overview of virtual sports.
“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,” he said.
Session moderator Dolan Beuthin, BetMonsta ‘s CEO and Co-Founder, set the stage for the upcoming debate 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.”
Wachter responded in order to throw some numbers on this opening statement: “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 percent generated in sports betting is done from virtuals. It’s not like in the UK where you do maybe 10 percent or in Italy you do 15 percent. Virtual sports is extremely high.”
When COVID-19 decimated the sporting calendar, anyone in the industry must have seen the clamour for incorporating online virtual sports. Kenya is one of the African countries with the highest acceptance of smartphone and desktop betting, while the remainder is still largely focused on retail.
Fortunately, Wachter said, retail revenue from virtual sports in Africa was not hit too hard because the key markets like Nigeria were not locked down for long. Yet, he acknowledged that the Golden Race had the potential for development beyond the continent in 2020.
“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.”