Nitesh Mitai, who runs the online betting arm of South African gambling giant, Sun International, spoke about the future of remote gambling in the country in a recent article written for the online ITWeb site.
Matai speaks about the global move towards online shopping and online entertainment. He points out that while online casino gambling is still a sector that needs to obtain legal recognition in South Africa, the global sector is expected to grow 11.5% on a compound annual growth rate between now and 2027.
According to Mitai, South Africa is still far from having a high level of internet penetration and broadband still needs to reach most areas of the nation. However, wherever internet connectivity exists in South Africa, people are playing their favorite games and betting on their favourite sports online.
The high rate of smartphone penetration into the market has definitely been a gamechanger. ITWeb says that the number of smartphones purchased by South Africans jumped to over 90% in 2019. This is, in part, thanks to the fact that many low costsmartphones hit the market, making them an affordable choice for many South Africans. As more local players are able to get online thanks to the increase in smartphones, so too will more players start looking for online gaming options.
While most other industries suffered with the outbreak of the global pandemic, the popularity of online gambling only grew. This is because players, including South Africans, sought safe entertainment options from the comfort of their own homes. Suddenly players who couldn’t visit their local brick-and-mortar casino will looking for an alternative. When lottery retailers were shut during lockdowns, South Africans bought their tickets online. This online trend left many players sticking to their new online habits, even as casinos have opened up and lottery tickets can now be bought at retailers as usual.
While South Africa and the rest of the world were thrown into a new situation with COVID-19, they managed to adapt quickly, thanks to the availability of online goods and services. Many players appreciate the safety and convenience of the new online options and even prefer them.
As Mitai writes: “The smart bet is online, because the future we were all imagining a few years ago has arrived, and it’s landed in a way that none of us expected. It’s changed our lives forever, and with that come some advantages, and some disadvantages.”
Companies such as Sun International are keen to tap into the growing demand for quality online betting products. For a sports-mad nation such as ours, it’s only natural that we’d want to engage and interact with our favourite teams and players. What better way to do so than to bet on the outcomes of matches and leagues?
“In South Africa, where online betting is regulated, our own research shows that online betting on favourite sports and other activities is growing,” concludes the Sun International executive.