Mr Lere Awokoya is the Country Manager, Betway Nigeria, which is the official sponsor of BigBrother Nigeria. In this interview with SEGUN KASALI, he talks about the growth of the gaming industry; its effects on economic performances, challenges, and other issues.
WHAT is the origin of Betway Nigeria?
Betway came into the Nigerian market in 2018. The brand operates across numerous regulated markets globally with a growing footprint in Africa. It operates in Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Zambia, Mozambique and Nigeria.
What are Betway’s goals and objectives?
Betway began operations in Nigeria with the aim of offering a variety of online entertainment including sports, casino, fantasy football, jackpots and much more. We provide an easy-to-use online gaming platform that Nigerians can access and play conveniently. We take pride in the variety of our online offerings because there is something for everyone.
For us, it’s about creating a safe environment where players will have a positive experience and share in the thrill. We want players to feel that they have been entertained. It’s all about offering the excitement and experience of gaming. It’s making players feel part of the action.
On a scale of 1-100, how would you measure the achievement of these aims and objectives and why?
We offer various sports markets alongside the latest games and features in a safe environment. We offer our players stats and facts to help them with their bets and build trust by being credible and offering industry-leading customer support. In addition, we offer a variety of secure payments methods. All transactions are secured using digital encryption technology, the same technology that is used by major financial institutions.
What is your area of uniqueness as it sets you apart from your competitors?
We are confident in our technological investments. We take pride in our collaboration and partnerships with various global stakeholders. Our VIP members enjoy exclusive treatment, including massive bonuses, fast withdrawals and exciting offers.
As we operate in a dynamic environment, we need to constantly improve our product offering. We regularly add game-changing product offerings to enhance our players’ experience and increase their chances of winning. Much of our promotions are aimed at rewarding our players for placing their bets with us by giving away prizes such as smartphones, appliances, TVs and even trips to watch their favourite teams play.
What are the mechanisms in place to curb addictive betting?
Betway, as a company, takes compliance and its corporate responsibilities very seriously. We do not cut corners with authorities and compliance regulators. We ensure that our customers game responsibly with our online ecosystem. We also have a range of water-tight policies that reinforce this mission of responsible gaming and the general safety of our customers. No customers under the age of 18 years old are allowed to register on our website. This is just one of the many features we have in place to ensure responsible gaming. Additionally, we inform our customers where appropriate about how to bet responsibly and help customers actively manage their behaviours through our well-trained customer support team.
The environment one operates in determines the effectiveness of operations. How enabling is the environment of the state or country you operate in to the effectiveness of your operations?
Technology is a core part of our operations and an important enabler towards offering ease and convenience when playing with Betway. It is great to see the growth and development rate of companies in the fintech space. There is a healthy competition in the industry which in turn creates innovative ideas that utilise technology to deliver convenient financial services to consumers. Access to the internet is also a key enabler for customers. Statistics from the NCC and other sources also report that there are currently over 100 million active internet subscribers in Nigeria with a remarkable smartphone penetration growth rate. The market holds huge opportunities for online business such as ours.
How challenging are the challenges confronting the sector in which you are that are hampering your smooth operation?
The industry is very young and has great potential to generate revenues that can make an impact in the economic performance of the country and it is important to have guiding policies that foster the growth of the industry. We hope to see continuous improvements in the relationship between the industry and government stakeholders that will aid in this much-needed growth.
As previously mentioned, although a huge number of people have access to the internet in Nigeria, there are still some customers who do not. We still need to provide practical solutions for customers that do not have access to the internet. More Nigerians are going online and at an exponential rate. Fintech companies, as mentioned earlier, also address some of the challenges faced.
People still have the perception that betting is for the truants, touts and others only. Is this true or false? Please give reasons
Betway provides world-class online entertainment. For us, betting is for any adult above the age of 18, who are in search of sharing the thrill and having a vested interest in the performance of a player, team or their chances in general. And just like Big Brother Naija, which Betway is the headline sponsor of, we have all seen how different spheres of this society– regardless of demographics — share a common passion to be entertained.
Entertainment is a source of respite for the world, especially in these turbulent times. So, we are really happy to be in Nigeria serving our customers. We have a diverse customer base ranging from entrepreneurs, lawyers, bankers, IT experts, civil servants and so many more from all walks of life.
Last year, it was another betting company sponsoring the BigBrotherNaija show. Now, it’s Betway. What inspired the partnership?
As Nigeria’s leading online entertainment platform, partnering with Big Brother Naija, the biggest TV show in Africa is really a no-brainer for us. This is because, aside from giving us a platform to further connect with our customers across the country, the show also happens to share quite a lot of parallels with the Betway brand. The passion and the love of the game that the Big Brother housemates are known for is synonymous with Betway customers.
Betway is a brand that is quite passionate about changing lives for the better; it is at the core of everything we do as a business. And we can all attest to the fact that changing lives is something the BBNaija show does very well, judging by the number of housemates who have gone from being regular, everyday people to superstars.
What is your projection towards the revenue generation of the show after closure?
This collaboration with Big Brother Naija and Multichoice Nigeria presents us with the opportunity to engage and connect with millions of Nigerians and Africans through our amazing range of sports betting and online gaming offerings. We believe our offerings, alongside collaborations with Don Jazzy and Ebuka Obi-Uchendu, two of Nigeria’s most loved personalities, have brought added excitement to both the BBNaija contestants and the viewers at home.
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