As with most things in this increasingly integrated and complicated global market, online or iGambling is reaching new and growing markets throughout the developing world. So what is behind this ongoing change? For starters, the growth of internet access across the globe. As of 2021, more than half of all human beings on the planet have access to the internet. That number only stands to increase as we enter the mid-21st century. There is no place where this is more true than in Africa.
The rapid expansion of internet access and mobile devices has made online commerce, banking, and social activity possible throughout the continent. Apps like WhatsApp, Facebook, and YouTube allow people across all 54 countries the chance to participate in the virtual world. As long as the infrastructure expands to meet the demand, access and participation online will increase.
iGambling in Africa
Africa’s countries have different approaches to online gambling, with some restricting it entirely while others are embracing it cautiously. However, there is a handful with somewhat amiable legislative stances on online gambling. As a result, they are currently viewed as the primary markets for online and land-based casinos. And they are spread across the continent; no single region stands out above all others.
In terms of the kinds of gambling people engage in, there is a large variety. However, sports betting is widespread and lucrative, amounting to nearly $40 billion in value. Football is the most popular sport for betting, but rugby and horse racing are also highly competitive categories. Horse racing is particularly popular in countries with long historical connections to the Arab World and the historic trade system around the Indian Ocean. This is true, especially in countries of East Africa, like Kenya.
Rugby is popular in South Africa, as well as Namibia and Morocco. South Africa has a broader range of casinos for players to choose from. However, many of these online casinos are based outside of Africa. The playcasino.co.za best online casinos in south africa cover what you may expect from these casino recensions. These include reputable platforms like Zar casino, Europa casino and the exciting Springbok Casino.
Gambling laws across Africa are still developing, and South Africa is a prime example of this. While online gambling is not legal in South Africa, land-based gambling is. The National Gambling Amendment Act is over ten years old and still lacks the teeth necessary to make iGaming genuinely regulated and legal. In the meantime, land-based casinos enjoy the right to operate as long as they have the proper licenses from the National Gaming Board. Despite these issues, South Africa still accounts for the vast majority of gambling activity on the continent.
Other countries like Tanzania and Kenya have young populations and accommodating legal systems. Both countries are experiencing growth in the iGaming sector. Tanzania was an early adopter of iGaming on the continent, and Kenya is one of the top markets. If anything, the high tax rates in Kenya are an inhibitor to even greater growth in this sector.
Meanwhile, in West Africa, Nigeria is a leader in both land-based casinos and online. Nigeria has a large gambling industry that is already worth $2 billion. Ghana is also a rapidly growing iGaming market.
As mentioned previously in this article, the technical infrastructure had to be in place first before online gambling could take off in the country. The advent of online financial banking has had an incalculable impact.
The range of options for financial exchange has exploded. Traditional credit card and banking companies like MasterCard or Visa play an important role, as most companies accept their transactions. Still, online services like JamboPay and PayPal are also taking a larger share of the African bettors market.
And given the demographic trends across the continent, sports betting and other forms of gambling are only expected to grow. Africa remains the world’s youngest continent. In another decade, those young people will be entering their prime earning years. Online casinos like Yebo, Punt, and Springbok and their investors have seen the potential in African markets, and they are now also ready to play.