Starting an online casino which will cater for the needs of players in a particular country requires a significant research and preparation. Whether the market in the country offers significant development opportunities, what the legal situation in the gambling sphere is, which national peculiarities should be observed to make a casino as attractive to local players as possible, are all important questions to learn. Below are the key factors to pay attention to and some important tips for those who find the South African gaming market lucrative and wish to start their online business with the focus on players from this country.
The South African gambling market has been known as one the largest and most lucrative markets in the world, attracting many operators to open up their land-based gaming facilities to the local players. Although the government has introduced quite rigid regulation in this sphere, it still accepts the fact that gambling makes a significant share of the country’s budget. In 2011, the GGR from the casinos in South Africa made 877 Mln Euro according to the official statistics for 36 licensed land-based casinos.
A recent report has shown that as many as 5% of the population in South Africa gambles. Although there is no official statistics showing which part of this rate belongs to internet casinos, it is widely known that more and more people turn to online gambling. This happens for a number of obvious reasons, such as a wider choice of games available, quick access to the casino with no need to travel away from home, guaranteed privacy which land-based casinos do not necessarily offer, various bonuses, as well as an extended number of payment options. All in all, the South African online gaming market is large and even with quite a number of well-known brands already present there, it is still very promising for new operators who decide to build an online casino.
Gambling in South Africa has always been facing certain restrictions and from 1965 until 1994 it was completely illegal. Only in 1996 after the change of the government, land-based casinos were legalized and the new National Gambling Board started regulating all types of gaming. As for online gaming, the Board issued 10 national licenses to local online gambling service providers. It now says on the official National Gambling Board website that playing online casinos is illegal except for the betting through the licensed bookmakers (which are only 10). However, since the online gaming has been taking a large share of the total gaming market in SA, numerous casinos operating from offshore locations and possessing gaming licenses from other jurisdictions are present in South Africa and accept local players. Although such gambling is technically illegal, there have been very few cases of players’ prosecution or blocking of the online gaming websites accepting users from SA. So now there are numerous online casinos, with many world-known names among them, successfully operating on the South African market and serving the needs of local gamblers.
For new operators penetrating the South African market, it is advisable to obtain a license from one of the reputable jurisdictions such as Curacao or Malta. Many local players are well-educated and when choosing an online casino to join, they look for a licensed resource to make sure that their interests are protected and that all games played are certified by a corresponding authority.
South African players who join online casinos mostly use their credit cards to fund their casino accounts. However, there are a number of players who prefer other methods, such as Neteller and Skrill wallets or prepaid cards like EcoCard. It is advisable to include all of the these options into the casino offering to make sure that you cater for the interests of all player segments.
It is obvious that the list of supported currencies should include South African Rand because for some players it is crucial not to deal with the conversion rates and always have a clear picture of how much cash they have on their account and how much they win.
A recent research has shown that the popularity of cryptocurrencies in South Africa is growing and the number of people relying on Bitcoin in their online payments is significant. Adding Bitcoin as an alternative payment method to your online casino will be a significant advantage and will help attract a bigger audience.
Tastes of the players from South Africa are similar to the tastes of those from other countries. The important thing is that a casino offers quality game content preferably from different content providers, so that every player can choose his favourite slot or card game.
The most popular games among South Africans are slots. They attract the audience by offering colourful design, exciting plot and various bonus features such as free spins. Among the card games, Blackjack and Poker hold leading positions. It is also highly recommended to include games with progressive Jackpot into the offering as they keep players well entertained and excited to come back to a casino.
There are two national languages in South Africa, and while most of the local players understand English, it might be a good idea to make your website bilingual and add Afrikaans to the list of supported languages.
Online Casino Marketing
Taking into account the specifics of the national policy regarding online gambling in South Africa, direct advertising and Google Ads are not viewed as possible marketing methods. Thus, when starting a casino targeting SA market, one should rely on other promotion strategies which are less market-specific and more common for international casinos: affiliate marketing, online articles and reviews, participating in ratings made by reputable digital gambling resources, etc.
In order to open an online casino which will operate for the South African market, or for any other markets, you need to take care of the technical matters. Finding the right service provider will be crucial and will help avoid unnecessary hassle while concentrating on promotion and marketing. Here are the key points to look at when choosing your technical partner:
– Software. The platform which your casino will be based on should be safe, secure and stable under high loads. It is always better to choose certified casino software developed by a reputable company which has been operating on the market for at least several years. Make sure that the software provides opportunities to add as many languages and payment options as you wish. If it has Bitcoin payment option already available, it will be a nice advantage. Learn the administration panel to find out about the casino management options such as bonus settings, player and payment management, etc., to make sure they meet your expectations.
– Games. Find out how many games are included into the package. Some providers include games by different game content developers into their offering, so you get a wide selection at one place.
– Legal support and financial infrastructure. Unless you have an intention to obtain your own gaming license, it might be a good idea to find a partner who provides a turnkey White Label solution. It means that you will be able to run your casino brand under the provider existing license and use a ready financial infrastructure for all payment transactions.
With all the necessary research made, software chosen and marketing strategy set up, you will be ready to launch your online casino and take your share of the South African market.