Online betting has fast become a regular occurrence for many people across Africa. For this relatively new industry, the current tech advances are sparking a veritable gold rush.
A History of Gambling in Africa
Like any other continent, Africa has a rich history of traditional gaming and betting on the outcome of games. Among the games played in times long past, there are board games, such as Mancala, which involved moving objects across the course of a board, and Dara, an ancient guessing game with sticks that is similar to guessing the number of sweets in a jar.
When Europeans came to the country, they introduced many of the commonplace games in online gambling in Africa and the world today. This included card games like poker and blackjack, various lotteries, and other casino games like roulette.
Before long, these gambling activities were outlawed and put under the strict rule of authorities. However, as with many societies, various countries and jurisdictions decided to regulate the activities instead rather than outlaw them entirely.
However, regulating land-based casinos and betting houses is a different wheelhouse to online gambling. And while internet-based gambling is a relatively new industry, it has caused many African jurisdictions a cause for concern and a rethink of laws.
Internet and Mobile Phone Usage: A Technological Revolution
Smartphone and internet uptake and access across the continent are growing faster than anywhere else. With this increased technological usage comes a whole new way for African people to interact with the rest of the world. As they say, with great knowledge comes great power, and now it is squarely in the hands of a new audience.
This is excellent news for the country’s growth, wealth, and world status. Not only this, it opens new consumers to new avenues, including online working, skills building, education, and entertainment.
Because of the continent’s rapid uptake of the internet and smartphones makes the African online gambling market new and fresh. This is perfect for innovators who can capture their target audience’s hearts and provide tailored digital gambling experiences.
Which Countries are Doing What in the Regulation Space?
The legalities of online gambling in Africa vary widely from region to region. In some countries, online gambling is only legal through licensed bookmakers to place a bet on sports, whereas in others online casinos are widely available to players.
For example, in Kenya, there is a primarily legalized online betting market in sports betting and online casinos. Paired with M-Pesa, the country’s mobile money, it makes for a smooth and easy betting experience. In fact within the country, according to a 2021 survey, 84% of youth had tried betting, with the majority who bet doing so via a phone.
Of course, in regulated markets such as Kenya, there are always advances in controlling further in the space to protect players and benefit the government.
Current Challenges in the Online Gambling Market
It’s hard to judge Africa regarding online gambling since the regulations vary so widely across countries. But, like most markets, players will find a way to play regardless of the legality.
Gaming companies must keep up with rapid advances and changes in the space and tailor their products to the market to succeed and comply with the law. Bringing it back to Kenya, many sportsbooks were delisted from the approved sites list for non-payment of back taxes – which opened the market up to new entrants that have now gained a foothold.
Where to for Online Gambling in the Future in Africa?
As more people, or potential bettors, come online, the online gambling market hots up and becomes more competitive. All eyes are on the African continent, and with good reason, because hugely successful online casinos and affiliates such as NoDepositRewards will be offering an array of exclusive no deposit offers, particularly to South African players who enjoy a good game complemented by an even better deal!
With smartphone growth expected to hit 8.8% year on year in 2023, online gambling is becoming cemented in regular life, thanks to flooding new and targeted marketing at these new audiences. African markets can benefit from rapid technology uptake as existing products widely used and thoroughly tested in other markets come online.
They also benefit from innovations from within the continent as people can quickly target localized pain points and bring new products to market. Combined with mobile money? It’s a vast space where many people claim a piece of the pie.