Sahara Game Technology: Revamping the African Gaming Scene

Jeff Halloran, MD
With the gaming industry evolving, Sahara Game Technology (SGT) finds itself a niche in the African market that is promising but technologically underdeveloped—a market where players are significantly naïve in terms of online gaming and currencies are likely to get difficult to manage. “For us, it is really about advancing the betting shop or land-based casino business in Africa with more of the sophisticated games that exist in the European and North American markets and bring those across the continent,” says Jeff Halloran, SGT’s MD. The company’s game plan is more of a franchise model where it intends to open a common brand with common functions and thereby realizing economies of scale across the African continent.

SGT builds a device-agnostic casino, sports, and lottery platform incorporating a stand-alone game suite that casinos and operators can leverage to extend their games to customers digitally. The platform is not only compatible to run on various systems like iOS, Android, Blackberry, Microsoft, and Java but also brings an open-ended API to facilitate mobile transactions. Apart from marking its presence as a brand, SGT franchises its business model for organizations that are looking to hit the ground running with an established brand. For instance, if a casino has an existing brand and is more of a land-based solution but wants to go online, SGT undeniably qualifies as its go-to partner. The casino may stick with its branding and logo while SGT will implement a fully hosted solution that will take care of the casino’s online payment processing, affiliates, banners, graphics, social media, and provide ideas and concepts to encourage the gamers to play online. “As we use a centrally hosted server, we can render advanced player management and real-time, creative, and intelligent customer support,” Halloran adds.

On the marketing front, casinos and betting shops in Africa still rely on age-old techniques such as handing out flyers on the street which is a paper-based solution that often ends up in the trash can.
SGT helps these businesses move to the next level by endowing them with technological marketing expertise which extends beyond hosting and payment processing to include custom site development with integrated SMS marketing and reporting along with employing improved SEO techniques. “We do everything from managing their social media from their Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter accounts to running their various banner ads to recommending digital media for promoting their brand,” Halloran remarks.

As we use a centrally hosted server, we can render advanced player management and real time creative and intelligent customer support

Speaking of challenges, Halloran emphasizes on the problems that his team faced during the initial launch of SGT, where he alludes to Geoffrey Moore’s bestseller Crossing the Chasm. The hardest part is the learning curve— first, getting operators to embrace what technology can do for them; secondly, convincing players, who do not necessarily trust online transactions with phones or PCs, that security and convenience go hand in hand and make them realize that it is easier, better, and safer than their previous experience.

However, the company does not entirely discard the maintenance of brick and mortar stores. It deploys agents who take a share for opening up betting shops at key locations with traffic where people can walk in and feel that it’s real. After its first market penetration in Nigeria, SGT veers its expansion towards the east of Africa by acquiring John Power Kenya and plans on increasing its footprint to Zambia, Uganda, and Tanzania. For the coming two to three years, SGT’s focus will chiefly be on market positioning, leadership, and experience, and how to augment it.

Sahara Game Technology

Victoria Mahe, Republic of Seychelles

Jeff Halloran, MD

An established software provider of turnkey and white label solutions for the casino and sports wagering industry strictly focused on the African market

Sahara Game Technology