Seven months after taking up an initial 20% stake in BetKing, South African pay TV operator MultiChoice plans to increase its shareholding in the online gambling company to 49% in a $281.5 million deal.

BetKing is the trading name of Blue Lake Ventures Limited, a pan-African sports betting and entertainment business with major operations in Nigeria. The value of MultiChoice’s initial investment in BetKing was said to be worth more than $100 million

The decision to double down on the gambling company, approved by the MultiChoice board on Thursday, is in line with the company’s strategy to expand its entertainment ecosystem and develop meaningful drivers of future value, a statement from the South African entertainment giant reads. 

“Consumers have a growing abundance of entertainment options available to them. It is therefore important for MultiChoice to maintain its relevance and grow its share of engagement time and consumer spend by expanding its entertainment platform with a more comprehensive offering and a greater number of products and services,” the company said, explaining the rationale behind its increased investment in BetKing.

According to MultiChoice, pursuing an adjacency such as sports betting creates a “natural extension” to its video entertainment platform to further enhance its product offerings. In other words, sport betting augments the company’s business given sports is a major revenue source.

Widely known as one of the leading sports betting sites in Nigeria, BetKing was founded by CEO Byron Petzer and Adekunle Adeniji, who once served as Bet9ja’s virtual product manager. 

BetKing’s annual statement for the financial year ended December 2020 shows a growth in revenue to $77.9 million, from $54.7 million in the previous year. Meanwhile, net asset value stood at $100.2 million. 

It is thus not hard to see the appeal in investing in the major sports betting company also considering that the market is growing significantly globally. Between 2020 and 2024, the industry is expected to grow by more than $134 billion, a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 10%, according to Technavio.

Several sports betting companies currently operate in this part of the world too. In Nigeria, some popular names apart from BetKing include Bet9ja, Nairabet, Naijabet, Sporting Bet, Surebet24, etc. 

In 2018, it was reported that an estimated 60 million Nigerians between the ages of 18 and 40 were involved in active sports betting. Also, almost ₦2 billion was spent on sports betting daily in Nigeria, equivalent to nearly ₦730 billion in a year. Yet, Africa accounts for only 2% of global sports betting revenue. As the regional market begins to play catch up, it is poised for significant growth.

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Michael Ajifowoke Author

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