Land based casino operator Sun International has launched an online sportsbook in South Africa, Sunbet, as it looks to take advantage of a rapidly expanding market in one of Africa’s richest countries.
The move comes soon after Sun’s purchase of Powerbet Gaming, who formerly ran a different sports betting site, Voltbet. The company are not just aiming to offer betting services on the website, however, and are instead waiting hopefully for the day when South African gambling laws are finally relaxed, allowing other forms of online gambling.
The company will also be hoping for an immediate boost in profit, as the rest of their business hasn’t had the best of times recently. Indeed, despite posting a rise of 3% in revenue, Sun International suffered a 9% drop in profit, accentuated by the losses made at their Chilean casino, Monticello, after stringent anti-smoking laws were introduced in the South American state.
Online and mobile betting in Africa is really starting to take off, however, as shown by a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers report, “Betting on Africa”. 2012 saw South Africa alone post a 12% rise in betting revenue, mainly fuelled by a massive increase in traditional sporting events. While horse racing remains the dominant market, that sector only grew by 4.5%, while sport betting on football and other events grew by a massive 71.3%.
Indeed, between 2009 and 2012, traditional sports betting has grown by an incredible 566%. With the 2014 World Cup and 2015 Rugby World Cup coming up, analysts expect the traditional sports betting market to overtake horse racing in popularity sometime in the near future.
So Sun International will be happy they have placed themselves well to take advantage of this, along with any legal change that will allow online casinos to operate within the country. As with the rest of the world, South Africa is going through somewhat of a gambling evolution at the moment.