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Neal Menashe creates a global company from the ground up in Super Group

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Super Group’s Betway is a globally recognized brand thanks to its global portfolio of sports sponsorship. Chief executive Neal Menashe says that these deals represent a cost effective way of building a global business.

Super Group is celebrating two milestones this year. Ten years ago, Betway signed sponsorship agreements with Premier League team West Ham United and the Cheltenham Festival Champion Chase.

Super Group CEO Neal Menashe says that the sponsorship portfolio of Super Group is key to its global rise.

West Ham’s partnership will be affected by the end of front-of shirt sponsorship deals, which are becoming increasingly rare. Three Premier League clubs – Liverpool City, Arsenal and Manchester City – are the only ones to have had a sponsorship deal for longer.

Neal Menashe, Super Group’s chief executive recalls: “I remember the excitement everyone felt when we signed Cheltenham United and West Ham United contracts.” Although nearly a decade has passed since the Cheltenham and West Ham United deals were signed, this same excitement still exists in Super Group.

Betway has expanded its gambling sponsorship portfolio to include a global audience. Betway works with more than 60 partners, including NBA Chicago Bulls and Premier League Arsenal as well as NHL New Jersey Devils.

Menashe says that sponsorships deliver an “enviable level” of brand recognition, and this in turn allows sponsors to amortize their sponsorship costs on a variety of international markets. He believes that almost 60% of Premier League broadcasts will feature the Betway logo in some form.

He continues, “The challenge for business is to turn those eyes into real customer engagement.” This industry revolves around managing marketing budgets against NGR returns.

While we will never spend all of our budget on sponsorships, they are essential from the perspective of brand awareness.

Converting eyes to engagement

Super Group’s chief commercial officer Richard Hasson joined the business in 2012

Super Group needs to harness the engagement at the top of funnel in order to convert that customer into a repeat one. Its revenue of EUR1.4bn in 2023, an increase of 8% year on year, suggests that it’s doing something right.

Menashe says that there are many factors involved in this, but his Super Group is the most important. Menashe describes his Super Group team as “innately competitive” people. They get up each day eager to take on the new challenge.

We’re fortunate to have such a talented team who are unwaveringly focused on the needs of our clients. We are constantly focused on the customer experience.

Long-standing teams are a sign of seasoned and committed executives. Menashe joined Super Group in the beginning, after what was Betway Group bought his marketing, CRM, and technology company Win Technologies.

CFO Alinda van Wyk’s tenure started in 2007

The executive team is equally as impressive. Richard Hasson, the president and chief commercial office has held his position since 2012. CFO Alinda Van Wyk was hired in 2007.

The unit will be more effective if it has a long-term existence. Menashe says, “The difficult part of any CEO’s role is your responsibility to make hard decisions.” Indecision is the enemy. “We’ve worked in this business for over 20 years. We have seen and experienced everything that the industry has to offer.”

He adds that this has not led to complacency but rather increased team desire to win.

Africa emerging as a crucial region

Super Group’s global competition requires a winning mentality. In Q3, its Africa and Middle East division stood out, with a presence in almost every market. North America contributed the most in the first nine month of 2023. Africa and Middle East was second with EUR298.3m.

Menashe states that “Africa is continuing to grow.” We now have seven countries that are regulated with an excellent pipeline of new business opportunities.

Super Group is growing globally, but Menashe sees Africa as a particularly interesting territory

The breakdown of revenue for 2023 is not yet available. Menashe is expecting to break records in terms of African customers, deposits, and gaming revenues. The gambling industry in Africa is still “infancy” but many markets are growing rapidly.

Menashe says that there is a lot of room for growth, and not only in sportsbook. We spotted this opportunity years ago, and we have built the team and a strong footprint in the key markets to be able to seize the opportunities.

We expect the growth of both markets and share to continue in many years.

We listen to our clients and make sure that our products reflect their needs. Our local teams are experienced and provide specialised product knowledge to the teams they work with. This allows us to innovate while providing a leading service.

Can Africa be the model for LatAm Gaming?

Menashe, speaking on Super Group’s results call for 2023, suggested that there are parallels between Africa’s developing regulated market and Latin America, which is a smaller but rapidly growing region.

He told analysts, “We have been in the country for a very long time.” We will see the implications of each country’s regulations, whether it be Chile, Brazil, or Peru.

It’s a big market for us and our software is similar to that used in Africa. “It all looks good,” he said.

Middle Eastern promise

Fans in these new regions watch football. Betway’s partnership with the Premier League gives it global brand recognition, so its investment in England is a positive one. Menashe says that long-term partnerships with teams and leagues are beneficial.

Super Group is always keeping a close eye on the situation. These relationships are only successful if they produce returns. He continues, “We evaluate any deal in detail and will continue to do this before any renewal.”

The UAE could be a new growth opportunity, provided the regulations are viable

Menashe uses the same critical eye when evaluating new opportunities. This includes in the United Arab Emirates, where a huge market could develop covering online, land-based gaming, and lottery. Menashe keeps an eye on this opportunity, but is hesitant to commit until he has seen the conditions.

He says that the level of growth is directly related to their tax and regulation regime. If they’re structured to create sustainable competition and the access is easy and transparent, it could be a very exciting market.

The potential for the UAE and the wider Middle East is huge, even with the challenges that are evident.

How to make the right call

He says that a CEO must make difficult decisions. This means being able to know when to be firm and when to bend.

India has been called a gambling giant in the making. India has a population of over a billion people and possesses incredibly large audiences for sport, particularly cricket. Super Group already sponsors cricket matches in South Africa. India is a natural extension.

India’s hefty goods and services tax ultimately prompted Super Group to withdraw from the market

Super Group, however, decided to leave the country due to the revised Goods and Service Tax (GST) set at 28 percent of its turnover. “It’s quite simple,” he says. We have to take action when there are no returns. “It is not economically viable to keep the Indian GST rate at 28 percent.”

Some operators are investing for the future. In difficult markets, they maintain their presence with the hopes that conditions will improve or legislators may amend legislation. Super Group’s watchword is ROI, which led to its decision to withdraw from India.

Menashe says that in Germany, the high taxation on casino games led to changes made to their games. This was done to guarantee a return. Every market is different. It’s okay as long as the unregulated are regulated.

There is no sense in placing pressure on the sector that’s regulated if the customers will choose to play at a casino or sportsbook which doesn’t follow the rules.

He says that regulation is inevitable. Super Group applauds this oversight. The market works and the regulators are taking effective measures to combat illegal activities.

Starting a global business from the ground up

Super Group celebrated its two-year anniversary as an listed company on the 28th of January, along with celebrating 10 years since it signed deals for West Ham and Champions Chase. This is also a kind of anniversary for the entire industry. In 1994, the first online casino was launched.

What is driving him to progress, besides the inevitable regulation of online gaming as it enters its fourth decade.

Betway’s sponsorship extends into the US major leagues, including deals in the NBA and NHL

AI is one of the most important elements in gaming’s future. He says that we are only at the beginning of the understanding these technologies, but he is confident they will change the way the gaming industry operates and the interactions between us and our customers.

Menashe does not know which brands are likely to be available in 2024. In 2023, the pace of deal-making increased and it is expected to increase in 2024.

Menashe says, “I believe that in five years the landscape of our industry will have fundamentally changed.” It is important to maintain healthy competition to keep our existing and future customers interested.

Super Group is a part of industry, no matter what form. Menashe explains that sonsorship gives Betway a global audience, which is why it has a long-lasting impact. As more markets are regulated, there is still room for growth.

He is ready to fight even after more than 20 years at Super Group.

He says, “We have built an international business from the ground up.” The culmination of more than two decades’ worth of marketing expenditure. “Who else could say that?”

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