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Tapping Opportunities in Nigeria’s Gaming Industry

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Sports betting

Due to the rise in internet penetration, the gaming industry has continued to expand, benefiting immensely from the large tech savvy population, and increasing access to internet-enabled smart devices. Sports betting has slowly emerged as a lucrative segment, leveraging Nigeria’s huge football culture.

Some of the big leagues, such as the English Premier league, and the Spanish La Liga, have millions of fans in the country so betting provides Nigerians the opportunity to earn from what they love and enjoy watching. However, there are immense opportunities yet untapped in this emerging industry.

The need for additional income in the face of the recent economic recession, which has left a number of youths either unemployed or underemployed, has provided a boost to the base of gaming users – in particular, sports betting and lotteries.

According to a 2015 publication on Football betting in Nigeria, most bets are placed in bet shops though an increasing number of customers are placing bets online. Lekan, a resident of Ikorodu who has been betting for some years said that although it is risky, it is also lucrative.

“Some days, you bet a huge amount on a game and you lose and some others, you spend N200 and win almost N300,000.  There’s also the thrill of winning, so when you spend a paltry amount of money and you take home huge winnings, it’s like a lure. You keep going back for more.”

He admitted that he has spent over a million naira in the past one year on bets.

In 2016, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that Nigerians spent ₦1.8 billion daily on betting; over 60 million Nigerians spend an average of ₦3,000 each on placing bets daily. An official in one of the betting companies opines that, “the Nigerian betting industry is large and ripe for harvest. Gone are the days when betting was frowned at. These days, it is providing employment and empowering young people.”

With the advent of technology and other modern betting firms such as Bet9ja and Nairabet, there is also an evolution and expansion of the clientele. Research has shown that lotto is now played across all ages. Technology has changed the entire landscape of Lotto business. Now, from the comfort of your house one can place bets It is also expected that mobile app developers will benefit from this emerging industry by building applications that will further enhance the betting business in the country.

But why have indigenous tech development companies shielded away from creating home-grown solutions for this billion-Naira industry? An ICT expert explained that Nigerian tech companies have the capacity to develop local technologies. “It is just that local innovators are not looking in that direction. All of them are focusing on fintech, no one is exploiting the opportunities in lottery technology.”

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Gaming content providers like Gameloft, Intralot and Sirplay have partnered with local gaming companies to participate in the growing success of the gaming industry by providing technology services and support.

To further smoothen the gaming business in Nigeria, the National Sports lottery (NSL) Plc, the organiser and sponsor of Lotto Nigeria, recently deployed 30,000 i8550 POS terminals for E-payment lottery. The i8550 supports all forms of bank cards, enabling the purchase of lotto tickets through its secure terminals.

In addition, betting companies are partnering with mobile payment platforms, to offer attractive bonuses on stakes, thus attracting more customers. Some states have also come up with some far-reaching policies aimed at regulating the operations of gaming service providers and also generating revenue. Edo State Internal Revenue Service (EIRS), which regulates the activities of all gaming operators in the state, has instructed all operators to update their licenses and offset any outstanding tax liabilities.

However, there are some teething problems currently faced by operators of gaming centers in Nigeria.

  1. The overlap in the regulatory function between the Federal and state levels is a major challenge facing the industry in Nigeria. At state level, the necessary regulatory framework is set up to properly regulate and govern the gaming industry for effective transparency of betting operations. However, the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) also regulates lottery activities in Nigeria leading to the operators being levied twice most times. This discourages entrance of new operators and future investments.
  2. Cyber criminals may compromise a platform by installing malicious software (malware) to gather information about players from within their account. This information could include cardholder data, login details, bank account details, betting history and other personal information. Also, a denial of service (DoS) attack could be carried out which could disrupt the performance of the gaming platform or even make it unavailable, leading to customer dissatisfaction, service downtime and loss of gaming revenue.
  3. A number of companies that make up the gaming space evolved from the old pool culture, and these businesses were managed with limited financial knowledge depending on the clientele base. Without good management structures or clearly defined strategies for the business, operators struggle to fulfill obligations, expand and attract foreign direct investment at the right price.

What does the future hold for the gaming industry.

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Given the prospects of Nigeria’s gaming industry, there are opportunities for foreign technology companies and service providers to increase local presence through partnerships with Nigerian companies who can deliver different sections of the value chain. These services include provision of gaming software, sports feeds, odds, virtual games, managed IT services etc. This will help to create more jobs and build more a skilled workforce, leading to sustainable growth of the gaming industry.

Virtual Gaming is the future of gaming industry, This form of sports betting is  a result of real-time data creating outcomes based on a computer algorithm in which consumers can place bets. Operators in Nigeria currently feature virtual games which allow Nigerians place bets both locally and internationally. This has proven effective, as during off-seasons in football leagues, customers could still place bets on virtual matches which still feature their favorite teams and players. Several other operators currently host this form of gaming on their websites.

Opportunities are huge in the gaming industry ranging from job creation for local developers, higher revenue for government and also another source of income for Nigerians. The future is definitely bright for the industry in Nigeria. The government has to enforce regulation and laws to moderate the industry. It also needs to create an enabling environment for operators to thrive.

Fikayo Owoeye writes for Nairametrics

Nairametrics frequently publishes articles from experts such as financial analysts, economists, researchers and investors. We also feature articles from guest writers and bloggers who wish to push their views and opinions through our platform.To get your articles on Nairametrics, kindly send an email to [email protected] and we will publish it within 24 hours of approval by our editorial team.

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Business

Burger King to open first outlet by Q4 2021- Franchisee

Burger King is expected to employ about 6,000 people (direct and indirect) in Nigeria between 2021 and 2026.

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Burger King

Burger King, an American multinational hamburger fast food chain, is expected to start its operations in Nigeria by the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2021.

The company is also expected to employ about 6,000 people (direct and indirect) in the country between 2021 and 2026, other things being equal.

These were disclosed by Antoine Zammarieh, the Franchisee of Burger King in Nigeria and Managing Director, Allied Food & Confectionary Services Limited, in an interview with Nairametrics on Tuesday.

He said, “Burger King will start operations by Autumn, i.e between September and November 2021. We have set up the Quality Control unit and have met some of our local suppliers to seal the deal. Also, we have sent some of the ingredients to America to test quality.

As a company, we are delighted to enter this new market being the largest country in Africa and are looking forward to serving our future guests with our world-famous Burger King meals.

Most importantly, our goal is to positively contribute to the economy by creating more jobs and employment opportunities. In five years, we hope to directly or indirectly employ between 5,000 and 6,000 people in Nigeria.”

Zammarieh added that the hamburger maker, in a show of interest in the Nigerian market, had signed a development agreement for the Nigerian market.

He explained that the development agreement of the chain in Nigeria, which was recently signed, would give more confidence to the Nigerian market and consumers in general, especially during these hard times.

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What you should know

Nairametrics had reported, three weeks back, when Zammarieh said, “I always believed in Nigeria and in its people. I am confident this venture will go a long way and prove successful for Burger King, Nigeria, and our company.”

“I believe this will be a tremendous step towards giving more confidence to the Nigerian market and consumers in general.”

What to expect

The first outlet of the hamburger chain in Nigeria is expected to be launched in Lagos.

The Florida-based restaurant chain is set to join the likes of Dominos Pizza, Krispy Kreme, KFC, and Chicken Republic (pieXpress) in a stiff competition for market share and dominance in a saturated market, with hundreds of other traditional restaurant chains.

Burger King is expected to dig deep into its quiver of strategies to ensure an impressive performance and success in its first year of operation, as other players have been having it tough following their respective launches into the Nigerian market.

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The COVID-19 pandemic however has affected the fast-food industry severely, as the disruption to the industry’s supply chain, especially the on-trade channel, which accounts for a significant percentage of restaurant sales, triggered declines in their profits in 2020.

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Cryptocurrency

Bitcoin ETF in North America has reached $1 billion in assets

The first North American Bitcoin ETF has already reached $1 billion (C$1.25 billion) in assets less than two months after its launch.

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According to a statement from its issuer, the first North American Bitcoin ETF has already reached $1 billion (C$1.25 billion) in assets less than two months after its launch. What exchange-traded funds did to the conventional investing market for decades could happen to cryptocurrency players in a fraction of the time.

Investors are clamoring for crypto exposure, particularly in an exchange-traded fund wrapper, and the product from Toronto-based Purpose Investments, ticker BTCC, has seen a lot of interest. Although there are many crypto funds in Europe that work similarly to ETFs, this is the first ETF anywhere.

More than $165 million worth of shares were traded on the fund’s first trading day in February, a big start for a fund in the much smaller Canadian ETF market.

Its rapid cash accumulation reflects the high demand for Bitcoin products in the United States, as issuers compete for approval of the first Bitcoin ETF in the nation. Despite regulator resistance to accept the tactics, at least eight companies, including VanEck Associates Corp. and WisdomTree Investments, now have live applications with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

On Tuesday, Bitcoin surged to an all-time high of about $63,246 ahead of Coinbase Global Inc.’s upcoming IPO later this week.

There is an increasing expectation that a bitcoin ETF will be available in the United States in the not-too-distant future. Gary Gensler, the nominated chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, has taught cryptocurrency classes. The bitcoin market has exploded in popularity in recent months, attracting the attention of major financial institutions. Bitcoin ETFs are once again being sought by VanEck, Fidelity, and others.

One advantage of ETFs is that shares can be readily created and redeemed to arbitrage away any discount or premium, which could greatly broaden their appeal. ETFs are also cheaper, which will put pressure on fees across the bitcoin ecosystem. Hence market sentiment may push the ETF higher.

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