Most leading online casinos are expanding their territories towards the continent of Africa. Traditionally, Africa has been seen as a developing continent that mainly focuses on agriculture and tourism. But that’s quickly changing as gambling is now a common way of entertainment in Sub-Saharan countries like Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa. So, this article’s main aim is to uncover the hidden potential of gambling in Africa.
It’s not wrong to say that Africa has come in late to the online gambling party. But as it stands, the continent is set to become an online gambling hub, thanks to the widespread internet and smartphone technology. The continent is awash with affordable smartphones and tablets that make accessing online casinos and sportsbooks effortless.
According to a December 2020 research by Statista, the number of internet users in Nigeria is more than 200 million. Egypt is second with more than 50 million, with Kenya coming in third with 46 million users. The same report adds that PCs generate only 24% of web traffic in the continent, with 74% coming from smartphones. Now, this market is too good to ignore by most online casino operators.
As said before, online betting in Africa is still in its baby steps. As such, most sportsbooks and online casinos operate freely in the continent. However, most countries here have a centralized regulatory body or watchdog. But in South Africa, each of the nine provinces has an independent gambling board that oversees gambling in their jurisdictions.
When it comes to the legal online gambling age in Africa, most governments are yet to stipulate that. For example, Ghana’s 2006 Gambling Act leaves internet gaming in a grey area during an era where the world actively regulates online gambling.
But that doesn’t mean that minors can easily engage in gambling. Like gambling sites in other parts of the world, African casinos and sportsbooks prohibit underage gambling. In most cases, any person over 18 years can participate in online gambling. To ensure this, a casino will require players to complete an ID verification process before depositing or withdrawing money.
In countries like Kenya, where mobile banking is prevalent, most gambling sites will require players to register using their phone numbers. This rules out any possibility of underage gambling and fraud.
As said before, Africa is turning out to be a lucrative gambling market, with all reputable online casinos and sportsbooks already grabbing a market share. South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda are actively leading the way. The same can be said for Tanzania and Seychelles.
Interestingly, some of these countries actively regulate online gambling to make it safer for all parties involved. For example, Kenyan legislatures are already discussing laws to set $1 as the minimum online bet amount a player can make. The main aim is to prevent gambling addiction, leaving only serious punters to participate in online betting.
Of course, for a developing continent, gambling isn’t on top of their agenda. Therefore, the continent lacks robust gambling laws, exposing it to frauds. In most cases, the rules are either outdated, vague, or simply unenforced. Also, most gamblers can’t find the right balance between gambling and their day-to-day lifestyles. This can lead to bankruptcy or gambling addiction.
Africa lacks a traditional brick-and-mortar gambling setup. To their defense, however, constructing a modern casino needs enormous investments. For online casino and sportsbook operators, this is promising news. All in all, Africa is ready to take the online gambling industry by storm, thanks to the ever-expanding internet coverage and smartphone use.