Fresh on the heels of appointing ‘Top Man’ Per Widerström as its new CEO, troubled 888 Holdings continues to reverse its recent slide in fortunes and seize the positive narrative by making a major move on the pan-African iGaming market with the acquisition of leading online playmaker BetLion.
Founded in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, by legendary gambling entrepreneur Victor Chandler in 2017, BetLion is currently operating in its home East African market, further south in Zambia and in the potentially fabulously rich central African nation of the Democratic Republic of Congo, once known as Zaire.
Away from the European issues roiling the main body group, 888 has been pursuing an ambitious and farsighted pro-Africa strategy since launching its eponymous 888Africa joint-venture in March last year.
Led by Christopher Coyne, a former top executive with the now-Flutter owned Stars Group, 888Africa is headquartered in Tanzania’s principal city Dar-es-Salaam and already has operating licences for Kenya, Mozambique and Zambia beyond its home nation.
“This acquisition is a critical step as we aim to create truly unique betting and gaming experiences [for] players across Africa,” Coyne told iGamingFuture.
Sources at 888 Holdings and 888Africa declined to nominate the fee of acquisition.
“The talent and technology at BetLion is perfectly suited to our growth model and ambitions, and will help to further strengthen our offering as we look to build market-leading positions across Africa,” continued Coyne.
“We also look forward to working with our new colleagues and introducing new customers to our local brands.”
In keeping with market and technology limitations and parameters common to most sub-Saharan countries, BetLion is forging a low-data, mobile-based betting platform with its own front-end design, created for the unique exigencies of Africa’s diversified markets.
The company has already attracted an estimated three-million regular customers in short order.
“[We are] a business with huge ambitions on the continent,” affirmed BetLion Managing Director Robert Chirchir.
“We’re delighted to be getting involved in its exciting growth journey, and supporting its expansion through our market-leading front-end software and platform and established licences across the region.”
And for this BetLion that never sleeps it would appear that the whole of Africa’s vast iGaming market will soon be within its domain.
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