Coyne: 888Africa to capitalise on growth of gaming industry in Tanz

02Nov 2022
Mnaku Mbani
DAR ES SALAAM
The Guardian
Coyne: 888Africa to capitalise on growth of gaming industry in Tanz
  • INTERVIEW

GAMING industry is growing in Tanzania with number of new players entering into the market. 888 Holdings Limited, global online betting platform, recently launched its subsidiary in Tanzania through the 888Africa joint venture. Business Editor MnakuMbani, spoke to Christopher Coyne, Chief Executive

Officer (CEO) of 888Africa on what inspired their entrance in Tanzania and the future plans;

You recently launched 888Bet Tanzania. What inspired you to enter the Tanzanian market?

Tanzania – and Africa more widely – is a hugely exciting market for us. It’s growing, but regulators have already taken strong steps to develop it in a way that supports all stakeholders. For example, the recent focus on casino licenses – which we have applied for and are currently pending approval – is really positive and creates a clear framework that will enable us to deliver the most exciting betting and gaming experiences for players.  

While only in our first year of operations, we already have a great team based in Dar es Salaam and stay very close to the wants and needs of local consumers. We know the market’s already highly competitive, but we believe that 888bet, our unique and locally relevant platform, is well placed to capitalise on long-term growth opportunities both in Tanzania and across the continent.

To what extent is 888Bet Tanzania is different from the existing betting players in the market?

From the ground up, we have created a platform that we believe is one of the best in the market. 888bet combines 888’s world class and trusted brand, which has welcomed more than 50 million customers since 1997, with a really clean, simple and intuitive user experience that’s been purpose-built for the African market. It is available in three languages – Swahili, English and Portuguese – and has 100% coverage for mobile money. 888 also offers the best prices on football in Tanzania and has covers some of the biggest European leagues, including the English Premier League, making it the perfect platform for the remainder of this season’s fixtures and the upcoming World Cup.

How prepared are you to make sure that you observe laws and regulations guiding betting/gaming industry in Tanzania, including age limitations?

We are a full member of the Tanzanian Sports Betting Association (TSBA), an entity devoted to the promotion of equality, transparency, and efficiency in the industry. Through our Operations Manager, Ronald Louis, who is an industry veteran in the country, we maintain close communication with the Gaming Board of Tanzania.

Tanzania is a mature betting market with robust regulations which is part of its appeal. We also bring a large amount of European gaming experience - and best practice principles - via our leadership team. As a result, we have implemented our own stringent checks around player loss limits, unusual betting activity and anti-money laundering within the operations team.

What are the economic values the company is bringing to Tanzania?

We see our investment in Tanzania as win-win-win. We believe our platform is better for customers, who get a great product backed by a world class brand in 888; it’s better for society because we operate with the highest player safety standards ensuring we bring the joys of betting and gaming while minimizing the risks; and it’s better for the country’s development as we bring direct employment to Tanzania and pay significant taxes and duties locally.

We currently employ 22 colleagues in Tanzania and plan to increase this over time as we grow. In addition to our core team, we also work with talented local agencies which support our marketing efforts in the country and invest in advertising with national broadcasters and media houses, creating broader economic value.

How many jobs are being created following your establishment?

Employing local people who best understand the wants and needs of local players is critical to our long-term growth potential. From our global workforce of 50 colleagues, we are proud to have 66% (33) of our team based and employed in Africa and 44% (22) based in Tanzania. As we continue to grow, our focus will be on recruiting and retaining the very best talent in Africa who can help us further develop our offer over the years to come. 

What major products/services are you offering through your platform?

Currently, 888bet offers a full online sport betting offering, providing local players with access to bets on some of the biggest and best global sporting events. We also offer betting on virtual sports and hope to soon launch a comprehensive online casino offering, once our casino license has been approved.

What are your future plans in terms of investment and economic benefits?

We have enormous ambitions in Africa. We believe that the strength, history and trust of the 888 brand, combined with our localised platform, gives us a real competitive advantage as we look to build market-leading positions across the continent.

To deliver on the goal, we will focus on hiring the best talent to give us more capacity and expertise to scale up. We will also invest more into marketing, working closely with local agencies, to help raise awareness of 888bet. As we grow, and accelerate our investments in the market, we will also pay meaningful taxes to the national government.

 

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