Entering the African Market – say Victor Sekushenko

In order to introduce the SOFTSWISS company, which is currently planning expansion on the African market, we asked its representative a few questions. Below we present an exclusive interview with Victor Sekushenko, head of sales at SOFTSWISS sports book.

It is interesting that an international company has decided to enter the African market by acquiring a large local company. Why did you decide to choose this way of entering the market?

Indeed, our decision to enter the African market by acquiring Turfsport was driven by strategic alignment and opportunity. Turfsport’s expertise and solid software offering for land-based sports betting, specifically optimised for the African market, perfectly complement our vision for growth in emerging markets.

This partnership offers a fusion of global experience and local insights, enabling us to deliver innovative, market-specific iGaming solutions. Acquiring Turfsport provided us with a streamlined entry into the market, leveraging their established presence and expertise. Moreover, integrating their proven horse racing and retail solutions into our product portfolio enhances our offerings, strengthening our position in the African iGaming sector.

Also, acquisition is the easiest way to fit in the new market. Local players will not consider us strangers, it is much simpler to build relationships in that case. Moreover, with this one step only, we already have over 35 projects in Africa. It sounds like a huge advantage, doesn’t it?

South Africa is a good place to start your African journey. Are there plans to spread into other African countries?

Indeed, South Africa marks a strategic starting point for our African expansion. However, we plan to extend our presence into other promising African markets, particularly Nigeria and Ghana. Plus, we already have licences there.

These countries, alongside South Africa, exhibit significant potential for growth in the iGaming sector, as evidenced by statistics indicating a high frequency of betting among young players. Our focus on Nigeria and Ghana at the initial stage reflects our commitment to tapping into markets with substantial opportunities for engagement and growth.

Why are you interested in the South African market and the African region in general?

Our interest in the South African market and the broader African region stems from several compelling factors. Firstly, the African region is experiencing rapid development and growth, fueled by increasing investments and internet penetration. This presents a lucrative opportunity for the iGaming industry to thrive.

Additionally, with evolving internet availability, online activities, including online gambling, become particularly appealing to the population. As a result, the South African market alone anticipates CAGR of 6.18%, leading to a market volume of around EUR 64.9m by 2028.

Drawing parallels with the Latin American scenario, where similar dynamics unfolded, we recognise the importance of entering emerging markets like Africa before the peak of the boom. By establishing our presence early on, we position ourselves advantageously to capitalise on the region’s burgeoning iGaming landscape and establish a strong foothold for long-term growth and success.

How, in your opinion, will the iGaming market in Africa develop further?

In my opinion, the iGaming market in Africa is poised for significant development in the coming years. Firstly, as more investments flow into the region, we anticipate a substantial influx of international expertise and experience, which will undoubtedly propel the industry forward. This injection of external knowledge and resources will help to enhance the quality and diversity of offerings within the African iGaming market.

Moreover, we are already witnessing heightened attention from international players, evidenced by the increasing number of new project launches and mergers and acquisitions (M&A). This trend not only reflects growing confidence in the potential of the African iGaming market but also signifies a deeper commitment to its development.

Overall, the African market will experience most of the world’s trends, as is usually the case, while retaining its peculiarities.

From an international company’s point of view, what do you see as the peculiarities of the African market?

I would name just a few notable peculiarities that deserve consideration, but there are more.

Firstly, the increasing popularity of online gambling in Africa is closely tied to the widespread availability of internet connectivity, particularly in robust 4G/5G networks, and the functionality of online platforms. This accessibility has fueled the growth of mobile betting, making platform optimisation for ​​smartphones crucial for success in the region.

Additionally, it is important to adapt products and launch strategies to accommodate local behaviours, considering such factors as lower email usage compared to other regions. Understanding and addressing these nuances is essential for effectively reaching and engaging with the target audience.

Furthermore, horse racing retains significant popularity in many African regions. Recognising and catering to the preferences and interests of local bettors, including their affinity for horse racing, can enhance the appeal and relevance of iGaming offerings in the market.

In essence, embracing the unique characteristics of the African market, including internet accessibility, cultural preferences, and technological infrastructure, is essential for international companies seeking to establish a successful presence and capitalise on the burgeoning opportunities within the region.

What are your plans for development in the African region?

Our plans for development in the African region are multifaceted and geared towards establishing a strong presence and expanding our operations. Firstly, we are actively working to obtain a local certification of our products in South Africa, which will enable us to operate legally within the market and cater to the needs of local players effectively. Simultaneously, we are exploring opportunities in other African countries, recognising the vast potential that the region holds for the iGaming industry.

In addition to regulatory compliance and market expansion efforts, we are launching several new projects tailored to the African market. These initiatives underscore our commitment to innovation and meeting African players’ evolving needs and preferences.

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