If you are into iGaming and have been keeping up with the trends, you may already know that there are a lot of speculations about new markets. Surely, iGaming attracts more and more people, so it is only a matter of time until we will hear about new markets emerging.
One of the popular theories on the field is that Africa is going to become a new big iGaming market. Could it be a new target for big players like Golden Tiger casino, 888 casino, Leo Vegas, and many others? We made our research, and here are some of the insights we’ve managed to find.
Factors to consider
For many years the UK market has been the biggest in the iGaming niche, leading the United Kingdom to be a focus for the large casinos. Regulations in the UK indeed allowed the iGaming industry to grow and develop. However, nowadays, due to all the insecurities and issues Brexit has raised, this situation may change.
We are still used to the fact that iGaming is more popular in Western countries (such as the United Kingdom, Canada, Sweden, Germany, etc.), and in the UK alone the industry generates more than £4 billion of revenue per year. However, online casinos want to expand their business to new markets. Countries like India experience a boom in mobile gaming, meaning that online casinos may become as popular as mobile games there.
With more and more people across the globe gaining access to powerful smartphones and a strong internet connection, the iGaming industry is very likely to expand to new countries, benefiting from the demographic situation. Sixty percent of the African population is younger than 25 years old, which makes this continent the youngest on Earth. Also, studies show that by 2050 one third of all youth on Earth will live in the Sub-Saharan region. All these factors combined show that investing in the African market today is very likely to lead to success in the near future.
The big four of Africa
Africa is a big continent with 54 countries. Of course, they do not share the same legislation, so the iGaming regulations vary. Also, people in Africa are not equally interested in gambling, so the African market is definitely not homogeneous. Hence, let’s take a look at are some countries that have been in the spotlight of large iGaming operators for some time.
- South Africa
This country has strong ties with the Western countries and a large population, but online gambling is prohibited there. Attempts to change the legislation are not successful yet, but this country has some strong advocates for online gambling. Its legalization is a hot topic in South Africa, especially when counting the potential tax income from this industry.
On the other hand, South Africa also has a lobby against iGaming. Offline casino owners may be alarmed by the possible legalization of online gambling, which can lead to a competition they are likely to lose.
However, iGaming is popular in South Africa despite being technically illegal. If you look up the online casinos in South Africa on Google, there will be plenty of options available. This proves that the big interest exists, so with the shift in the regulations, this market may be booming.
A close neighbor of South Africa, Zimbabwe, is another country with a young population and an interest in iGaming. Gambling used to be not very common among Zimbabwe’s citizens, but everything has changed, as the younger generation shows a growing appetite for both online and offline gambling.
Unlike South Africa, Zimbabwe has no regulations concerning iGaming. There are no specific laws that cover these issues, and this fact has led to some controversy. It may seem to be a perfect place to operate for online casinos, but, on the other hand, lack of regulation also means a lack of protection. Thus, Zimbabwe remains in a situation where online gambling is neither legal nor illegal.
This country in East Africa has a relatively strong economy and also understands that current legislation that regulates gambling is outdated. The laws on gambling were adopted in 1996, and it is obvious that they do not cover iGaming – it simply did not exist at the time. Thus, online gaming in Kenya is in a “grey zone” as it is not specifically regulated, but at the same time, it is not prohibited.
While sports betting remains very popular in this country, more Kenyan players start to play online slots. This means that this market is worth paying attention to if you want to keep up with the trends in iGaming.
This large country is one of the most promising markets in Africa when it comes to gambling because of its large population and good internet coverage. However, the industry’s regulation is rather poor, which leads to a lot of casinos operating illegally. The specific law that regulates the industry allows sports betting, lottery, and offline casinos while prohibiting games such as roulette and dice.
There is no specific regulation for online space, as it is not directly mentioned in the law. Nigerian citizens can play in international casinos, as no acts specifically ban this activity. Interesting fact: Nigeria even used to have its own online casino; however, today it is shut.
Africa has everything it takes to become a new leader in iGaming. Even though currently we can see the lack of regulation when it comes to online gambling, the potential of the continent is huge. With the young population that is more interested in online gambling and the growing urbanization, we might see many big operators focusing on this continent in the near future.
As for now, online gambling is poorly regulated in Africa. Nevertheless, in some countries, legislators are ready to change the situation, acknowledging the possible tax income. We do not know how much time it is going to take, but we are pretty sure that Africa has a chance to become a big iGaming market someday.