Solomon Godwin, African continent manager at Pragmatic Play

CasinoBeats talks to Pragmatic Play’s new African continent manager, Solomon Godwin, about what the multi-product supplier has planned in one of the most untapped regions for online gaming. 

CasinoBeats: How vital is it to have a presence on the ground in territories where Pragmatic Play are looking to grow?

Solomon Godwin: It is hugely vital for us to be active and visible on the ground. Approaching Africa with our multi-product strategy is a differentiator as well: we supply multiple verticals with a single API integration.  

With regulation still evolving in some nations, we are looking to enter markets as soon as legislation allows to quickly establish a foothold and form those all-important partnerships. However, our main aim in the continent is to work directly with operators to ensure our products and services meet their specific needs.

By taking this approach, rather than enlisting resellers and aggregation suppliers, we can  both build our relationship with operator partners to ensure we can facilitate growth for them, but also get our full technological support and access to our Enhance toolkit. 

CB: The COVID-19 pandemic has seen the closure of large amounts of land-based gaming sites. Is this the time for markets in the continent to transition to online-first gaming?

SG: While an uncertain time, there has never been a better opportunity for the continent to transition to an online-dominant marketplace. In some nations, regulators are starting to relax restrictions as retail closures take their toll, further helping the quickening transition to online. 

With a new approach to the way business needs to take place in the current environment, the changing attitudes can be the catalyst for online gaming regulation across the continent. Combined with the increasing levels of internet penetration and mobile as the primary form of online access, mobile-first igaming providers will be well poised to take a leading role if markets open up.

CB: As a continent that is focused on sports betting and lottery, can Africa be the location of the next big growth market for online casino?

SG: It absolutely has the potential to be home to the next explosive igaming market. South Africa, Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria are all gearing up to be major players in the continent going forward. The key will be if sports bettors can be converted into online gaming. 

There are naturally obstacles that face the online casino market, one being regulation, but also the unproven nature of online content with punters. There is a large degree of familiarity with sports betting, virtuals and lottery products, but that doesn’t yet exist with slot or live casino products. 

However, there is a huge element of reward for operators who make the leap and reach into untapped markets and demographics. They might lack an interest in sports betting but will be interested in slot games or live casino experiences. Offering a diverse content range will be crucial for cross-selling, which in turn is how African markets will grow into large igaming hubs.

CB: In a region where limited internet access or slow download speeds can hinder elements of online gaming, how vital is creating lightweight, mobile-friendly products that can be accessed easily by players?

SG: Creating products which can be easily accessible by not just desktop players, but mobile players is vital not just in Africa, but all markets. However, as internet penetration continues to grow and nations invest in their digital infrastructure, having content that players with all connection speeds can access is important. 

Lightweight, mobile friendly games will be necessary for some players, but equally the feature-heavy video slots which have been such a hit in certain European markets will also attract fans. If investment continues then there is no reason why content of all varieties can’t thrive in the continent.