Although there are many places in Africa that lack proper regulations, the industry has reached a large chunk of the continent’s population.
Due to people’s widespread interest in sports betting and wagering in general, as well as the increased availability of modern technologies, online gambling is on the rise in different parts of Africa.
The State of Online Gambling in Africa
After years of restrictions, several African countries have just recently welcomed legal gambling on their territories, making online casino games, in particular, a relatively new concept on the continent. This is the reason why Africans account for just 1.1% of online gambling in the world, although the continent’s people make up more than 16% of the global population. There are still countries that completely ban wagering, but the ones that allow it are now experiencing a great rise in its popularity, which also helped boost the economy. Sports betting and online casinos are the most popular forms of wagering, and many countries could benefit from legalizing such activities. The users are mostly attracted by the variety of game types offered, as well as the chance to take advantage of promotions like no deposit bonuses or free spins on their favorite slot machine.
Top Online Gambling Markets in Africa
Most Africans are quite passionate about gambling, both offline and online, but there are a few countries where the legal online gambling market is particularly thriving:
Since around 80% of online gambling on the continent happens in South Africa, it is no surprise that the country now generates close to $2 billion in annual revenue from the wagering industry. It is home to 47 legal land-based casinos located in 35 different cities. And even though there is a ban on online casino establishments registered within the country, the state officials are issuing licenses to foreign operators, which additionally increases the total tax revenue. The population enjoys sports betting, as well as popular casino games like poker and roulette. South Africans also love playing slots because of how fun they are, and they are easy to play. What is more, there are plenty of online casinos offering free spins to their members, which allows players to play for free, practice their skills and simply enjoy.
Nigeria is also one of the leading countries when it comes to online wagering on the continent, and thanks to neat regulations, the market revenue has now reached $45 million. The country’s officials created solid conditions for local bookmakers and casino owners who hold proper licensing and do not skip taxation. However, the online sector is still unregulated, although the authorities are currently working on passing legislation that would allow iGaming. Nigerians are particularly passionate about sports betting, thanks to the nation’s long-lasting love for different types of sports, especially soccer. In fact, a third of the country’s population regularly engages in sports betting, and the average amount of money spent per day stands at $15.
Kenya is one of the least restricted countries when it comes to the legality of both online and offline wagering on the continent. The government legalized wagering back in 1996, and the people are free to visit land-based establishments as well as the internet operators with no fear of potential sanctions. There is a total of 13 land-based establishments in Kenya, and the gross gambling revenue in the country is around $40 million per year, with a growth rate of around 7%. The only thing that’s holding back further development of the industry is poor mobile internet coverage which is expected to improve.
Ghana passed legislation dealing with lotteries and gambling back in the 1960s, and the current Gaming Commission established in 2006 regulates bookmakers and land-based venues. Ghana is home to six establishments and the largest one among them is Accra’s Victoria Casino which offers more than 13,000 slot games. As for the online sector, Ghana is friendly towards it but it is almost entirely provided by foreign operators. The locals can freely engage in all forms of online wagering and such attitude of Ghana’s officials lead to a significant boost of the economy in the past few years.
Although Morocco is known for luxurious land-based casinos, wagering in such facilities is only allowed to foreign players who can freely engage in a variety of games such as poker, baccarat, blackjack, slots, and many others. Some venues have a rich history that began decades ago, like the Casino de Marrakech which was opened in 1952. However, the online sector is still unregulated, and there is nothing that restricts the citizens from accessing international websites. Just like the rest of the continent, Moroccan punters have a strong preference for sports betting, and they are most interested in football and rugby.
Despite the lack of regulations across the continent, Africans are developing a solid interest in online gambling, and countries like South Africa and Nigeria are currently the leading markets. Thanks to the increasing availability of the internet and mobile devices, the industry is expected to expand even further.