Perhaps, the first thing one could think of when speaking of Africa is exciting wildlife safaris. It is the second-largest continent that consists of 54 countries. It is not a secret to anyone that many people in Africa are affected by poverty. What may sound weird to you is that experts believe that some African countries have the potential of becoming leading gambling markets.
A common misunderstanding is that people in all African countries live in extreme poverty. Before we continue, we have to mention that the most well-developed African countries are South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya. When it comes to gambling, the regulatory landscape throughout the continent is complex. Every country has the right to decide whether to regulate the gambling industry or not.
At the moment, some African countries decided to completely ban this form of entertainment, while others took a more relaxed approach and regulated it (or at least some forms of gambling). In some African countries, a cut-and-clear stance on the matter lacks. In other words, locals can play at casinos without being penalized.
Gambling Laws Across South Africa
There is no doubt that South Africa is the most developed country in the continent of Africa. At the moment, the regulation of the industry in South Africa allows both online and land-based gambling. But that was not always like this. Under the British colonization, all forms of gambling throughout the country were banned. In 1994, a new democratic government came into power and passed the Gambling Act of 1996. It regulated the industry to protect players’ best interests. In addition, the piece of legislation established a licensing procedure and a tax regime.
In 2004, the Gambling Act of 2004 was introduced to replace the previous Gambling Act. Four years later, the lawmakers approved amendments to the Gambling Act of 2004. Currently, South Africa’s gambling industry is prospering. South Africa is home to over 40 land-based casinos, 5 of which are located in the country’s legislative capital Cape Town. According to the most recent information, the country has a total of nearly 6,000 gaming machines, over 150 table games, and 20 poker tables. As for online gambling, it is developing at a rapid pace.
Regulatory Landscape in Nigeria
An interesting phenomenon we have observed in recent years is that a growing number of foreign casino operators are eyeing the opportunity to expand in Nigeria. However, both casino operators and players have to know that not all forms of gambling are allowed. Card games based entirely on luck, as well as roulette and dice games, are illegal. At the moment, Nigeria has 3 land-based casinos. The country’s gaming revenue almost doubled its size between 2009 and 2014.
As for the online gambling industry, the law does not explicitly state whether remote gambling is legal or not. Hence, Nigerians can play at online casinos without violating the law. In addition, no game restrictions apply when playing online. Due to the lack of regulations, gambling sites operating on the Nigerian market do not pay taxes. Unfortunately, the Boko Haram insurgency significantly affected the country, leaving long-term scars on the gambling industry.
Kenya’s Gambling Market
Kenya has a total of 13 gambling establishments. Its gross gambling revenue also doubled its size between 2009 and 2014. Interestingly, the market did not show any signs of slowing down during this period. Gambling throughout Kenya has been a legal form of entertainment since 1966. The main piece of legislation that governs the gambling industry in Kenya is the Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Act of 1966.
In 2020, the country garnered a great deal of attention after two of its biggest operators, Sportpesa and Betin, decided to pull out of the market following a tax hike. For those not familiar with the situation, the country introduced a plan to raise the excise tax on betting stakes from 10% to 20%. The country repealed its decision under pressure from the local operators. A few days ago, media agencies reported that the government mulls over reimposing the 20% tax.
What Makes Africa So Attractive for Online Casino Operators?
Africa is the country with the youngest population in the world. It was estimated that approximately 60% of the locals are under the age of 25 years old. Gambling is a popular pastime among young people and that is the first aspect that makes Africa’s gambling market so lucrative. Furthermore, Africans are fond of all kinds of sports activities. Therefore, the betting industry has a bright future in Africa.
In addition, smartphones and mobile data coverage throughout the country drastically increased, paving the way for remote gambling operators to enter the market. Africa’s gambling market is a rough diamond that needs to be polished to deploy its full potential.