The emerging gaming industry in Africa was marked by significant easing in 2018. Countries across the continent have taken important steps to harness the emerging sectors and agencies and discuss upcoming direct and indirect investment opportunities.
Amne Suedi, Principal at the Shikana Law Group, a law firm, speaks before the opening of ICE Africa (October 24-25, Sandton Convention Center, Johannesburg), which aims to provide regulators and operators with an ideal platform to learn about the growing market The East African-based company, based in Kenya and Tanzania, explores where, how and who invests in the diverse gambling industry across Africa.
Why is there such a focus on Africa at this time?
As a lawyer specializing in investing in Africa and very active in the gaming industry in Africa, I think this is an area of investment that has great potential to continue to grow and the countries that welcome this type of investment more strongly influence investment in job creation and, of course, in the revenue that can be collected by the tax / government agencies. Governments in Africa can get much more out of this industry as they can channel revenue into the development of sports and entrepreneurship centers and so on.
Where do you see the big wins for the industry in the coming months?
At present, the East African market is very exciting in terms of opportunities, but the regulatory framework is also constantly changing as legislators try to keep up with technology. Representing companies in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda I can say that these markets are smaller than the Nigerian market, but with huge growth potential.
In any case, there is room to make a mark. I believe that recent legislative changes in Tanzania and Kenya and forthcoming Ugandans should not deter investors. There is always room for dialogue with legislators, and with planning and a sound strategy, investors can enact laws that are not perfect (that do not exist), but that are balanced and at least halfway fit their investment needs. It worked in other sectors, so there is no reason why it can not work while playing!
Who is currently targeting the market?
The kind of investors we see, especially in East Africa, are not the typical names of players like Ladbrokes, GVC Holdings, but more entrepreneurs who play for the first time in Africa because of the market and the huge earnings potential. I think many people have to change their mind about investing in Africa. Like anywhere in the world, you have to pay the price if you want excellence! It’s no different in Africa.
What’s the best place to start for operators looking to work in Africa?
If you want to invest, look for a good legal counsel who will guide you through the process. There are not that many experts in the field, but companies like the Shikana Law Group have been proven to work successfully with regulators and make solid investments in gambling in East Africa. You also need to have a very good understanding of the market in which you want to operate. It is a mistake if investors feel that they can use the same capital and business model in Kenya as in Tanzania or Uganda, as all of these markets are very different. For example, it would most likely be a disappointment to invest in and invest in Uganda mobile gaming, as retail gaming is favored by the Ugandan players. In markets like Tanzania, however, retail is becoming less and less. Of course, there are capital requirements and I am always surprised when certain foreign investors feel they can invest $ 50,000 in gambling and generate phenomenal returns while they are willing to invest at least $ 1 million in their home countries.