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Fiona Simmons August 2, 2022 4 min read
Honoré Gaming CCO Christophe Casanova on African Growth and Future Opportunity
Honoré Gaming is a prominent provider of sportsbook and iGaming platforms that has been expanding its global reach systematically over the past several months. The company has pushed strongly into Africa with operations in Senegal as well as launching a dedicated loyalty program in the region. Today, we sit down to talk to COO Christophe Casanova and find out how this pivot has worked out for the company and why Honoré Gaming has put so much effort into the region.
Honoré Gaming offers a large array of iGaming and interactive wagering solutions. How well-received is your product so far in Africa?
When not including African countries where sports betting is forbidden, there are two distinct markets for operators to target – those that are English-speaking and those that are French-speaking. The English-speaking market emerged first and remains the largest, with operators utilizing shops and franchise networks to drive players online. French-speaking markets followed, but with kiosk networks that operators use to map the territory. This means betting sites and applications look very different in each market. Our solution was created more than ten years ago for operators in French-speaking countries, and we are a leading provider for operators targeting these markets. Of course, we are now looking to expand into English-speaking countries across Africa.
You have made several targeted moves into the African continent. What has motivated this push?
Back in 2012 when we visited West Africa for the first time, we found a young population with a massive passion for football and an appetite to bet on matches, leagues, and tournaments. But there were very few sportsbook brands to choose from and those that were live were often European brands that had not localized their proposition and user experience for the African market. These sites had very heavy front-ends which meant they devoured bandwidth in markets where data costs are sky high and would often crash when being accessed via legacy devices, which are prevalent across the region. The majority had also committed the cardinal sin of failing to offer local payment options.
We saw there was a huge opportunity to develop a sportsbook and casino platform specifically for the African market that was lightweight and allowed players to deposit and withdraw using the payment methods they were familiar with. We then combined this with a huge selection of odds and markets, casino offers, customer support, a powerful bonus engine, and a comprehensive back office to put the power in the operators’ hands and allow them to deliver a compelling online and mobile sportsbook experience to players in French-speaking African markets for the first time.
What is your long-term strategy for the continent?
We will continue to establish ourselves as the go-to platform provider for operators targeting French-speaking African markets and have a roadmap of platform and product updates that will ensure that we allow our partners to deliver a superior player experience at all times. We are also making a push into English-speaking African markets that are not saturated and where we believe our platform, products, and services will allow operators to enjoy high levels of success, just as they have done in French-speaking countries. We see plenty of African markets that offer the right balance between stability, demographic growth, size of the market, and where the competition is not too fierce.
Do you see any specific challenges that will make the quicker adoption of Honoré Gaming products harder?
We are facing increased competition with more and more platform providers now turning their attention to the African market. Some operators are also looking to develop their own platforms in-house which obviously takes business away from providers such as Honoré Gaming. That said, the African market opportunity continues to grow especially as more and more players become familiar with sports betting – both retail and online/mobile – and want to place wagers. More countries are embracing regulation and it is still early days for the wider African market, so there is plenty of potential on the table.
From day one, we have ensured that our platform is easy to integrate for operators and delivers a smooth and seamless experience to players despite data and device challenges. This is what has allowed us to emerge as a leading provider in the market and what will allow us to strengthen this position over the coming months and years.