Curtis Roach

Marketing Manager

SBC Digital Africa - Session Review

20210414

Ghana: Africa’s next big market?

 

At mkodo we are always keen to explore new regulated markets and opportunities to expand our partner base. With this ethos in mind, I recently attended the SBC Digital Africa event and gained many useful insights into key growth regions on the continent. Ghana was highlighted as a very open market with masses of potential for foreign investment. I attended the session titled:

Ghana: Africa’s next big market? which had experienced panellists from companies who have a strong stakehold in this market such as Digitain and EaziBet. Below I have shared some of my key learnings from this session and some insights into why Ghana is such a popular target market.

 

Ghana has an incredibly high mobile penetration rate with 113 phones per 100 people, a trend that has been largely driven by the widespread adoption of mobile money platforms. This is a fantastic indicator for the potential of mobile gaming in this market.

In addition to this, it was also mentioned by Kwabena Boakye, Director at Eazibet that the Ghana Gaming Commission has a renowned ‘open door policy’ and are very progressive in regard to working closely with operators to bring new, safe products to market.

 

From listening to the panel, it seems that the Regulator’s forward-thinking attitude in regard to introducing new products to market has benefitted the growth of key product verticals such as Virtual sports and Bingo related number games. Virtual sports first gained traction in neighbouring regions such as Nigeria and then spread over to Ghana where Virtual Football is now the number one product, closely followed by bingo and lottery. Aluwani Mukhudwana, Regional Sales Director for Digitain commented that ‘Our [Digitain’s] ability to develop and introduce these new styles of content have really helped us during these tough times’.

 

The panel also discussed the virtues of operator retail channels and what role they play in Ghana’s future. It seems that although there is a clear shift towards online, retail still has its place, albeit a shrinking sector. The retail shops are a great opportunity to acquire online customers and use the land-based channels as a conversion tool. Due to the sometimes ‘overwhelming’ overhead costs associated with having a retail presence, the low maintenance of an online platform will always be attractive to an operator. Kwabena from Eazibet mentioned that they have now shut the majority of their retail spaces down for this exact reason, and they are experiencing great results online. He went on to say that none of the top 5 operators in Ghana have a strong retail focus. A clear indicator for the online market trend in this region. 

 

Another key aspect that was clarified during this session was the issue of the current tax framework. The majority of Ghana’s gaming laws were created many years ago and didn’t make much accommodation for online gaming at the time. There is a lot going on currently in parliament to change this and introduce new online gaming laws within the next couple of years. This will be a major change, as it will introduce GGR tax for the first time but in the process, it may actually drive down the high licensing fees they have currently.

 

The fact that there is no GGR tax for operators and instead just VAT on customer stakes, makes this market very inviting and a great place to develop your online products.  Some believe that the lack of GGR tax and other key regulatory features you might usually see in other jurisdictions, can actually be prohibitive to operators because of the high license related fees that come instead. Ghana has been very proactive about reinforcing their regulatory frameworks and have consulted with regulatory bodies from Canada and north America to get the best advice on implementation.

 

After listening to this session, it’s clear that the opportunities for iGaming in Ghana are abundant. The rise of mobile adoption alongside the regulators progressive approach to new products has spearheaded the growth of this region and opens up even more opportunities for new market entrants to be successful. With new regulation and further technology advancements on the horizon, the future of this burgeoning region is very promising!