The Enduring Rise of Nigeria’s iGaming Market (Part 1)

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In our latest contribution to iGaming Business, and ahead of ICE Africa, we spoke with marketing experts from Surebet247 and LionsBet on the future of iGaming in Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria. The article focuses on acquisition and retention strategies for local operators as well as ways of tapping into the region’s potential in a manner that is considerate of its distinct culture and market forces. You can read the full piece on iGaming Business. The article is also available here with part one featured below. Part two can be accessed here.

In July, in honour of Word Population Day, the Pew Research Center published a story detailing which countries are projected to see the biggest population gains and losses by 2100. Nigeria, which is currently the world’s seventh most populated country at more than 206 million, is projected to move into the number three spot, behind only India and China. It’s arguable that, from the perspective of iGaming stakeholders, an 80-year outlook is too far out. But it’s also undeniably alluring.

As significant as Pew’s numbers are on a global stage, Nigeria is already Africa’s most populated country, giving it plenty of prospective value in both the short-term and long-term. The question for iGaming operators, affiliates and service providers, particularly those based locally, is how to tap into that potential in a manner that is considerate of Nigeria’s distinct culture, regulatory framework and market positioning.

Developing an Acquisition Strategy

When considering the challenge of designing effective acquisition and retention strategies, Sebastian Loaiza, Chief Marketing Officer at Lagos-headquartered Surebet247, explains the importance of hard-earned trust to the sportsbook and casino brand’s customer base.

“The current competitive landscape in the market has changed the players' situation - decreasing loyalty, and increasing retention and acquisition costs,” says Loaiza. “On the other hand, thanks to this challenge, it's given us the push to further our internal efforts with a more customer-centric approach. The fact that Surebet247 has been around since 2011 as one of the first players in the market has, of course, helped as well, giving us a vantage point in brand affinity and trust.”

Historically, Nigeria’s gambling landscape has largely been influenced by the popularity of traditional brick-and-mortar casinos. But as the country has only three such licensed establishments, a sizeable opening exists for local online operators with a thoughtful approach to engaging their target demographics.

Akram Bacha, Co-founder and Director of sportsbook brand LionsBet, describes its strategy as one that is in tune with the needs of Nigerian customers and the preservation of brand loyalty. “In a technological world, customer loyalty really is the new marketing. Today’s customers have access to an endless amount of information about every business and research shows they’re willing to stick with brands that go above and beyond to create a fantastic user experience,” he says.

Delving into the specifics of LionsBet’s strategy, Bacha explains the thought process that drives the company’s product offering. “Acquiring a new user is five times harder than retaining one,” he says. “As a result, we’ve designed a number of promotions specifically for acquisition purposes, while also building well-structured automated promotions to support customer retention.”

When asked what strengths drive Surebet247’s acquisition and retention strategy, Loaiza highlights the company’s years of experience in nurturing customer relationships and building brand awareness. He also points to the importance of sound leadership. “In general, it comes down to the team behind the brand, which is led by Co-founders Sheriff Olaniyan (CEO) and Olasupo Badmos (COO),” he says.

What are your thoughts on the current state of Nigeria’s iGaming market? Let us know in the comments section below.

The second and final part of the article will be shared tomorrow, in which we’ll explore the subjects of responsible gambling policies, digital marketing and mobile penetration in Nigeria.