Africa is a beautiful continent known for its rich mineral wealth, black gold, and spectacular wildlife. Not just that, what many people aren’t aware of is that most countries from this continent have continued to improve over the years, making way for industries to pop up everywhere - including casinos.
In fact, massive casinos were actually operating among metropolitan areas, such as Africa’s largest Rio Casino Resort, which is also the fifth largest around the world. Tsogo Sun Montecasino is another largest casino in South Africa that’s also located in Johannesburg.
But how does gambling in Africa evolve throughout the years?
History of Gambling in Africa
Just like the majority of the countries around the world, gambling was also a taboo in the second-largest continent and was banned in most African nations. Although Africa’s relationship with gambling may already be evolving, especially in recent years, some countries may still have prejudices against this form of entertainment.
The North African nations, for example. The vast majority of this part of the continent is Muslim, and gambling is prohibited in Islamic law - referred to as maisir. Despite that, archeologists were able to dig dice in Egypt which were believed to come from as early as 3000 BC. In sub-Saharan Africa, thoroughbred horses were also imported to South Africa from China in order to improve their local stock. That’s when horse racing became popular there a century later while the demand for thoroughbreds rose.
Meanwhile, the southern part of Africa is considered the biggest gambling market. To date, various casinos were built in many areas which are also traced back to horse racing, coming to the nation from the 30-40 years. Whilst thoroughbreds were already in South Africa in the 17th century, real money gambling was banned. The ban was further strengthened as the South African Gambling Act was enacted in 1965, making all forms of gambling officially illegal.
Then, 4 South African territories opposed the legislation and legalized betting. That’s why in 1983, hotelier Sol Kerzner opened a brand new casino under the company called Sun International. In 1994, all forms of gambling were legalized by the new SA government, then two years after that created a licensed casino system and a national lottery. Sun International then spread its empire to the neighboring countries.
Gambling Laws in Africa
Some significant timeline for the gambling laws in Africa happened in 1996 and 2004 after the introduction of the Gambling Acts. The 1996 version legalized gambling activities, including sports betting and lottery.
Meanwhile, the 2004 Act embargoed online casinos, though operators may find a loophole and escape the banning. Online bookmakers may be allowed to serve the continent legally as long as they secure a license from the authorities and pay levies. Bettors didn’t have to pay fees from their win as it wasn’t considered a source of income by the government.
In 2008, the National Gambling Amendment Act was passed which currently allows citizens to gamble on all kinds of casino establishments, as well as online gambling.
Which African Countries Gamble the Most?
Just like in many other countries, the internet and the rise of online gambling have also currently dominated the African nations as casino operators can now easily reach more players through online versions of games. With that, new technology has revolutionized gambling and sports betting in most African countries.
The majority of the casinos and gambling activities are being put up in Johannesburg, South Africa, making it the gambling capital of the African continent. The country offers a wide variety of casino games and sports betting, being the home for some of the largest casinos - not just in Africa, but also around the world. As mentioned earlier, the world’s 5th biggest casino is found in Johannesburg, the Rio Casino Resort.
Next to South Africa, Kenya is also a huge gambling fan. The establishment of many casinos proves that. Casinos are found in various areas within the city - including the luxurious malls and hotels. Casinos also make up the nightlife of this second-biggest gambling country in Africa.
Some of the best casinos you can find in Nairobi include Mayfair Casino, Finix Casino, Pink Apple Casino, and The Flamingo Casino.
Some other top gambling African nations include Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania, and others.
The future of gambling is bright in Africa, particularly among the considered gambling capitals like Johannesburg and Nairobi. The patchy history of the continent has proved the strong relationship between Africa and gambling, such as the evidence of dice during ancient Egypt and the horse racing in the late 17th century. While it was long forbidden, the gambling industry was still able to rise and evolve among African nations.
Not only are big casinos built in the continent, it’s even included among top global gambling destinations. That only shows how African people love gambling.