Betting and casinos are popular all around the world, with online play now legal in many countries. Digital versions of games such as roulette, blackjack and slots have enabled a whole new audience to enjoy traditional casino entertainment.
Africa offers enormous potential for gambling markets because it’s still a relatively small player compared to elsewhere. The population of Africa makes up more than 16% of the global population, but only 1.1% of gambling revenue comes from the continent.
Part of the reason for this is that more gambling in Africa is land-based rather than online. This is much harder to track, so the true percentage may be higher than reported. However, some African nations still have a complete ban on betting of all kinds, and in other African countries, it’s heavily restricted. All of this limits the revenues for the continent as a whole.
Despite the restrictions in some parts of Africa, there’s an enthusiastic market in areas where betting is legal. The popularity of online slot machines and sports betting has been rapidly rising, a trend that’s set to continue.
But where are the most prominent gambling markets across Africa? Here’s a look at some of the top participants.
South Africa is undoubtedly the top gun for gambling in Africa, making up approximately 80% of the total gambling revenue for the continent. Almost everyone in South Africa gambles in some way, with over 90% of people actively taking part.
Revenue for gambling in South Africa alone reaches around $2 billion annually. Up to 41 land casinos are permitted in the country, and there are currently 39 in operation.
Overseas operators provide online gambling, but it’s fully regulated. The government provides each operator with a licence, and tax revenue is collected. As broadband services widen further, online gambling is expected to increase even further.
Ghana has been leading from the front in terms of betting legislation, having passed its first set of laws on gambling in the 1960s. Ghana’s Gambling Commission was set up in 2006 and regulates bookmakers and land-based casinos.
There are currently a total of six approved casinos in the country. Like the rest of Africa, online betting is provided by overseas operators. However, many of the biggest online gambling companies have sports books and casinos dedicated to Ghana because it’s such a big market.
Nigeria is another country which openly enjoys gambling, particularly sports betting on football. Some sources suggest that a third of Nigerians bet on sports regularly, a significant portion of whom bet every day.
Land casinos can be licensed locally, but there is currently no regulation for online betting. Legislation is currently in the process of being introduced. Once in place, it could have a big impact on the amount of betting on the continent due to the size of Nigeria’s economy.
Kenya is a cross between South Africa and Nigeria; there are lots of casinos and a huge appetite for gambling within the country. Online gambling is permitted, but there is no regulation, and poor internet connectivity remains a barrier. Despite this, gross gambling revenue is around $40 million per year, a figure that’s expected to rocket as tech improves.
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