The Managing Director of Sportingbet, South Africa’s largest sportsbook, gave an interesting interview to iGamingBusiness recently, where he discussed, among other things, the country’s new gambling laws and the future of mobile betting. Tyrone Dobbin said that the majority of Sportingbet South Africa’s business now comes from mobile and, internally, the group has a mobile-first approach.
“We build for mobile, we market for mobile, and this is because this is where all our customers are,” he said.
When asked whether he thought that the growth in mobile gambling removed the need for retail presence in South Africa, Dobbin said that “most people would arguably agree with that thought.” However, the MD, who also serves as the chairman of the Western Cape Bookmakers Association, challenged this presumption. He said that if one looks at the growth in retail operators opening up in South Africa over the last year or so, the numbers have “exploded”. This, he said, was contrary to what one would expect with mobile becoming a more acceptable form of engaging with commerce.
“Yet we see retail shops opening aplenty, so I think they are complementary,” he said. Dobbin added that Sportingbet doesn’t have any plans to go into retail, however.
Dobbin spoke about the growing popularity of in-play betting, which started to grow from the 2010 World Cup. He pointed out that in-play betting has become standard among sports betting operators. Looking ahead, Dobbin said that consumers are now moving towards bet builder and cash out options and “these are where you can still set yourself ahead of your competitors.” There was no one particular sport where in-play betting is more popular, said Dobbin, as it was “popular across the board.”
The MD said that sports betting competition was only a finger tap or mouse click away, and operators thus had to be positioned to work with technology and satisfy their customers’ needs. He said that tech and product had a big impact, although it was not just limited to the betting industry, but to ecommerce in general.