One of Nigeria’s leading sports betting companies, BetKing recently clocked five years. In this interview with its Managing Director, Gossy Ukanwoke, he spoke on the strides made and how the company has impacted in areas of Corporate Social Responsibility. Olaoluwakitan Babatunde was there
Congratulations on BetKing’s five-year journey. How would you describe the Nigerian terrain and how BetKing has weathered the storm to emerge as a market leader?
Nigeria is one of the top three economies in Africa with one of the largest populations in the world. This positions the country as a valuable region for businesses like ours. BetKing has been able to grow and become a market leader by focusing on our customers. We have built our offerings to bring value to our users, and this has in turn endeared them to us. We have also built our reputation as a reliable provider that ensures our customers receive their winnings no matter how big. As an industry player, we have centered our focus on responsible gambling, compliance, and community development.
Our Agents, Super Agents and Master Agents have partnered us to bring our brand closer to our retail customers by investing in their businesses with us to open up shops across the country.
BetKing has recently implemented some CSR activities. Can you describe these activities and how they align with BetKing’s overall mission and values?
At BetKing, we are deeply committed to improving the quality of life in the communities we operate in across Nigeria. This can be seen in the various CSR initiatives we have supported since 2020. These initiatives span across sports, health, education, and the environment – four pillars of focus for all our CSR efforts.
Since our inception in 2018, we have pursued development within these four areas, ensuring that we leave a positive impact through third-party and self-owned initiatives.
How does BetKing measure the impact of its CSR activities? Can you provide specific examples of how these activities have positively impacted the communities they are intended to serve?
The impact of our CSR activities can be truly felt when you speak to recipients. Through the objectives of our 4 CSR pillars, we have been able to position BetKing as a morally conscious brand that cares about the general well-being of people and their respective communities. An example can be seen in our last BetKing Cares campaign, an initiative that focused on health, wellness, and environmental sustainability. During this campaign, we provided medical services and equipment, as well as clean-up exercises, in 7 cities across Nigeria. In all, 2718 people benefited directly from the BetKing Cares campaign, which is to date the most community impact any gaming company has achieved in Nigeria.
In 2020 we supported over 200 market women to rebuild their businesses in markets that were razed by fire. This support enabled these women to return to their businesses and provide their contributions to their local economies.
This year, we intend to extend the reach of the BetKing Cares campaign, work with more organizations, and grow our reach, allowing us to support more people and communities within the country.
BetKing sponsored some winners to participate in the last AFCON in Cameroon, and you were also involved in the sponsorship of some media broadcasts of the event on television. How often can we expect to see this, or is it a one-time occurrence?
Our involvement in the last AFCON tournament is definitely not a one-time affair. As a brand that loves sports, we have always partnered the media to provide our customers with the best sports experience. We will continue to explore more avenues for the brand to strengthen its relationship with the media.
We doubled these efforts in our World Cup campaign as we sponsored over 10 Nigerians to watch the event live in Doha, including our customers and agents, while putting together viewing locations across the country where fans could watch the football matches with other side attractions.
A former Nigerian legend, Austin Jay Jay Okocha is one of your brand ambassadors. How will you describe the impact of having him as the face of your brand?
Jay Jay Okocha as the face of BetKing has brought the brand a good amount of success. Our customers have been able to connect more with the brand due to our affiliation with the football legend. He is a widely loved and trusted personality, and that in turn has helped our customer base put their trust in us. We can confidently say that his involvement with our brand is one of the key reasons why we have become successful in this market.
BetKing in 2022 was involved in the sponsorship of the Para athletics events of the last National Sports Festival in Asaba, Delta State as well as donating towards the rehabilitations of some specific health facilities in the FCT, are these gestures to be extended to other sports and needs?
Over the last two years, we have focused our CSR efforts on different areas of need within Nigerian society. These areas have ranged from health, sports, and economic development to education, employability, and environmental sustainability.
Examples can be seen in our work with the Focus initiative, an organization aimed at educating and training Nigerian entrepreneurs, which resulted in equipping more than 20 entrepreneurs with a N250,000 business grant to help scale their businesses. We also partnered the Afara Initiative through their “Bridge program,” a job readiness programme, to prepare and train young graduates for their respective job markets. The sponsorship of both the Focus and Afara Initiatives provided an opportunity for recipients to acquire and master new skill sets, thereby reducing unemployment among Nigerian youth and preparing them for a future filled with possibilities.
Last year, we sponsored the 28th Nigerian Economic Summit, organised by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, to discuss Nigeria’s development initiatives for sustainable economic development. Our sponsorship of this summit further proves our stance as a major contributor to discussions and conversations bordering on sustainable socio-economic development in Nigeria.
This year, we intend to do more good work within the scope of our CSR pillars. We will continue to be the brand that cares about the welfare of individuals and communities across the country.
How does BetKing ensure that its operations are conducted in a socially responsible and ethical manner? Can you share any specific policies or initiatives that the company has implemented in this regard?
As it stands, the gaming industry in Nigeria has regulations that ensure that operators are working in a socially responsible manner. However, we have decided to go beyond these regulatory requirements to set up our internal systems that ensure that we continue to provide a healthy environment for our customers.
Since the beginning of the year, we launched our “Kings know when to stop” campaign, which encourages our customers to exercise control and reservation when engaging in sports betting. We believe that sports betting is a form of entertainment, and our customers should see it as such.
This is one of many other controls and policies we have established to keep being a responsible business.
What will you attribute to the success so far achieved by BetKing in the sports betting sector and where do you hope to see your company, say, in another five years of operations?
Our people, Our customers, Our agents and Our product. We hope to continue on this path of growth that has enabled us to achieve our current level of brand and name recognition. This also means higher levels of responsibility and contributions to society as we are currently doing.