Sasha Boerma: “At a Founder Level, Females Are Not Well Represented”

Sasha's expertise serves as a connection between the gaming markets of South Africa, the UK, and the US. Her steadfast belief in women supporting one another is a compelling force driving her career.
sasha boerma

This week, we chatted with Sasha Boerma about the highs and lows of her career and how women need to support women if we want to see the changes that many of us advocate for. We also discussed what women want in igaming and how the South African gaming market differs from the UK and US ones. Aren’t you intrigued?

About: Sasha Boerma, the Head of Affiliates for Coastline Gaming, is recognized as a prominent figure in the iGaming affiliate space, having spoken at various European events and being nominated for the iGB London award for Best Affiliate Manager of 2023.

With nearly two decades of experience in the digital industry, Sasha has worked with major agencies and brands, demonstrating a successful transition from traditional advertising to the digital landscape.

She took on the challenge of developing and leading in 2020 and later joined Coastline Gaming in 2023. Working remotely from Cape Town, South Africa, Sasha excels in both affiliate marketing and the broader aspects of casino operations, leveraging her expertise in the evolving digital market.

You had a very successful career as the Head of Affiliate in several companies. What initially drew you to this industry?

Sasha. Thank you so much for the compliment. To be honest, iGaming found me by accident.

I was looking for contract work just after lockdown as I was moving back to my home city Cape Town, and one of my very first employers was looking for a project manager to build affiliate sites, and that was my entry into a world I have utterly fallen in love with.
I honestly didn’t ever think I would love a job, especially this much, and to find my passion, niche, and grove later in my career is amazing. All my past experiences in advertising and digital came together into one beautiful role and industry.

What do you know for sure?

Sasha. Taxes and change, isn’t that what they say? Jokes aside, our iGaming landscape is changing at such a fast pace that it feels like if you check out for a month you could be left behind for good.

I know for sure that to stay relevant and to keep your casino, or affiliate site moving forward, growing and making profits you need to keep building your network and knowledge base. Staying relevant is key.

What is 1 (or 3) book (s) that all women should read?

Sasha. Inside Coca-Cola: A Ceo’s Life Story of Building the World’s Most Popular Brand

It’s a very old book and I read it while I was studying for my post-grad, but the thinking of how to experience and live a brand from all the touch points and all employee’s perspectives opened up a new way of thinking that I refer to often. The CEO used to drive the delivery trucks, and this helped him see issues and find innovative solutions. He put his ego aside and the results of this work culture and ethic speak for themselves.

From a woman’s perspective working in iGaming, any book about boundary setting and the book “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F&%^” are always around to remind me of these valuable lessons of where to use our energy. Fun fact it even came out as a documentary not too long ago.

In your opinion, what is the role of women in the casino iGaming industry, and how can we overcome any barriers or glass ceilings that may exist?

Sasha. At a founder level, females are not well represented at all, whereas on the C-level we are.
 I feel that’s because women still have to prove their credibility when they walk up to the table, whereas men don’t as much. However, women are well respected at the operations and marketing level as this is where our superpowers lie.

A huge shift has changed in the last 10 years with females dominating in the C-level and board-level space and proving over and beyond, and it’s turning a corner, the groundwork is being done now and soon we will be on par with the male counter parts when it comes to being founders and owners of casinos. That is without a doubt.

And yes, I am going to say this, and it’s completely cliche but….

I strongly feel that women need to support women, let’s stick together, support, mentor, and grow each other. I have watched and experienced the most incredible growth and relationships where this happens. 

With sports betting making up 45 percent of the South African gambling market, what do you think is next?

Sasha. The reason for this is that online casinos are banned in South Africa. Only sports betting licenses are available allowing bets. How operators have worked around this is that they use slots and live dealer games as bettings and odds games, under sports using the bets and odds avenue of these games.

Since this adoption, online operators are paying healthy taxes over to the ZA gambling board which is a win for both parties.

How do you compare the UK/US casino betting market with the South African one?

Sasha. The player profile here in South Africa is very similar to that of a European player but with fewer bonus abuse and fraud attempts.
The player behavior does not mimic the US in any way and so too is completely different to the rest of Africa where bets are placed on low value and on multiples.

If you had a magic wand to create anything you wanted in the SA sports betting industry, what would that be?

Sasha. That South Africa would legalize online casinos and allow for a regulated market. This will provide players with more game choices, the government more revenue, and greater safety for online players who are now playing in the grey and black markets.

What do women want (in online casino betting)?

Sasha. They want a safe, fair, and rewarding player experience that is made to feel as though they are part of a valued community. They want to be recognised as a unique player and treated as such. They are almost 60% of the market.



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