A few days ago, UK-based sports betting company Ladbrokes announced plans to set up shop in South Africa. The operation is a joint venture between Ladbrokes and Gibraltar-based gambling group KaiRo, which operates land-based gambling establishments throughout the African continent. KaiRo has worked with Ladbrokes as a marketing partner for nearly a decade.
A license application has already been made in the Western Cape; it would give Ladbrokes permission to legally offer online sports betting services in the country. Internet gambling in South Africa is still in its infancy – regulation and licensing procedures have only just emerged this year. Ladbrokes would be among the first to enter the country’s internet gambling market.
Ladbrokes envisions creating a regionalized online sportsbook in South Africa, providing South African players with advantages like local site hosting, local currency support, and local event coverage. If the license application is successful, Ladbrokes will be allowed to advertise its new services not only on the internet, but also on television, radio, and print media. The company is already thinking about how to raise brand awareness and attract new customers.
Christopher Bell, CEO of Ladbrokes, said: “We look forward to the launch of Ladbrokes.co.za as a licensed and regulated service in SA. This is an opportunity to capitalise on a developing market.”
The new sports betting site is expected to launch late this year if all goes as planned. The online sports betting market in South Africa is estimated to be worth £55 million, and is expected to grow to over £75 million by 2012. The venture is a bold move on the part of Ladbrokes, which saw net profits plummet last year. In the short term, the company is looking forward to this summer’s World Cup (incidentally also in South Africa) as an opportunity to bring profits back into the green.