Africa is the second-largest continent on the planet, with over fifty nations and a population of 1.3 billion people. In recent years, digital infrastructure developments across the continent have brought internet and mobile connectivity to the masses.
As a result, many online casino and sports betting operators see the potential of expanding their businesses in this region.
While brick-and-mortar casinos are uncommon in Africa, due to the heavy investment required to construct them, online gambling and sports betting are rapidly growing in popularity.
Sports betting is particularly popular, with many people using sites like Sportsbet.io regularly across the continent. In this post, we will look at some of the factors driving the growth of sports betting in Africa.
Digital infrastructure developments
The recent development of online gaming in Africa is mostly down to the rapid expansion of mobile internet infrastructure. Not so long ago, Africa was thought of as a relatively disconnected area in terms of digital infrastructure. However, this is rapidly changing.
Two-thirds of Africa’s population now have access to mobile broadband, while three-quarters of people have a SIM mobile connection. There are now multiple 4G networks operating across Africa. Widespread mobile broadband access means that Africa’s population now accounts for 11.5% of all internet users.
Combined with the availability of cheaper smartphones and computers, the rapid development of digital infrastructure in Africa has led to a rise in people enjoying online casinos and sports betting.
Key African markets for sports betting
Currently, Africa’s biggest gambling markets are South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria. Other key markets include Tanzania, Uganda and Ghana.
Of the key markets, South Africa is the largest gaming market in Africa. Sports betting is prevalent there, with an estimated 50% of adults placing bets regularly. Of all gambling forms in South Africa, sports betting has seen the highest growth in recent years, accounting for 21.3% of gambling revenue in 2018.
Despite the popularity of sports betting in South Africa, some work still needs to be done to develop the necessary legislation to ensure online betting is legal, safe and accessible in the region.
Before online sports betting can flourish across Africa, some challenges must be overcome. The most significant of these relates to Africa’s gambling laws, which are outdated, vague, or unenforced in many places. This is something that legislators will need to address to ensure fair and accessible services.
However, the good news is that very few places in Africa are culturally opposed to gambling, unlike some other parts of the world. Many African citizens enjoy betting and are in favour of industry development. These factors are promising for those involved in the development of online casinos.
The economic potential of sports betting for Africa
Sports betting holds substantial economic potential for Africa and those investing and operating in this industry.
In addition to the enhanced connectivity driving growth in the industry, several other essential factors are considered. Firstly, as Africa is developing economically, there is an increase in disposable income amongst its citizens. A middle-class is emerging with spare cash for hobbies such as sports betting.
Secondly, there is an increased interest in western culture, which includes gambling and sports like football. This partly explains the popularity of sports betting across the continent. Finally, we see an improvement in gambling legislation and taxation.
This is making it easier for betting sites to operate in the region as well as ensuring that African nations benefit economically from the industry. There is still some work to be done within individual nations to improve in this area, though.
Sports betting and online gambling is a growing sector in Africa that holds substantial economic potential. Improvements in digital connectivity alongside economic development and Western culture’s growing popularity are behind the industry’s growth.
To fully benefit from the industry’s economic potential, African nations must continue to improve taxation and gambling legislation.
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