The ups and downs of sports betting in Africa 

Africa has registered a surge in sports betting recently, with numerous users engaging in various types of wagers on sporting events. Despite quite a few betting shops being available in several African countries, most punters turn to online bookmakers for the multitude of advantages they bring. 

However, despite being seen as the continent with the best growth perspective for online betting, Africa is still far from having everything figured out. Even so, this pastime is increasingly popular thanks to its entertaining and income-boosting opportunities. 

With the advancement of technology, high internet penetration rates, and more generous mobile data packages, online sports betting is spreading across the continent. So, join us as we take a look at the main African countries that legalized online betting, as well as the challenges and opportunities that arise from this global phenomenon.

South Africa – the leader of the pack

One of the biggest online sports betting countries on the continent, South Africa, is a fully-regulated market ever since 2004. The National Gambling Board legalized online sports betting, and there’s a wide list of licensed online sportsbooks active in the country right now.

Football, cricket, rugby, or horse racing are just a few of the most popular sports chosen by South African punters when it comes to placing wagers. There’s a mix of local online bookmakers and top international brands that accessed the market as well. 

When talking about opportunities, South Africa is an exceptional market for online sports betting. First of all, the growing middle class, together with a spike in interest for sports, makes it ideal for online bookmakers. Then, there’s the wide availability of smartphones and mobile data packages so that punters can take online betting with them on the go. On the other hand, the country is facing challenges when it comes to blocking illegal bookmakers, match-fixing suspicions, and implementing responsible gaming such as that thrives by offering top-quality and licensed sports betting services to players.

Kenya – Another hotspot for online betting

The Betting Control and Licensing Board has set the framework for legal online sports betting in Kenya ever since 2011. The Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Act provides guidelines for all bookmakers that want to operate legally within the country. 

Just like South Africa, the elements that contributed to Kenya’s success when it comes to online sports betting are wide internet access, a thriving population, and rising quality of life. Kenyan punters can choose from local bookies or international brands that hold a license to operate in the country. 

The main challenges for Kenyan betting enthusiasts come from finding suitable payment methods, with the Fintech industry still lagging. Another thing that needs to be checked by the government is illegal gambling, with numerous unlicensed brands still available. 

Uganda – a rising star in online sports betting

Even though they are newer in the online sports betting industry, Uganda is showing a lot of promise for the future. The country allows operators to offer services based on a license issued by the National Lotteries and Gaming Regulatory Board. So, brands like from Uganda. 

High odds, wide betting markets, and features like Bet Builder or Early Cashout, online bookmakers in Uganda are more and more popular. However, compared to the previous markets we spoke about in this article, Uganda is lagging when it comes to internet penetration. 

With a GDP that rose constantly with around 7% since 2017, Uganda shows a lot of promise since that automatically translates into a solid middle class and more potential customers for online bookies. 

Just like the other African countries, the main sports chosen by Ugandan players are football, basketball, and rugby. The percentage of players using their mobile phones to place online bets is also on the rise, so the future is promising. 

The country’s corruption rates and lack of measures to prevent illegal online sports betting operators are two of the greatest challenges slowing down progress. However, the National Lotteries and Gaming Regulatory Board has plans to tackle these aspects for an improved online betting industry.

Nigeria – an estimated ₦730 billion wagered annually

Nigeria is another African country where online sports betting is legal and regulated by the National Lotteries Regulatory Commission. Online sports betting in Nigeria is a popular pastime, with many Nigerians enjoying betting on a variety of sports, including football, basketball, and horse racing. The national football team, as well as the big names from the Nigeria Professional Football League, draw tens of thousands of punters on a regular basis.

Online sports betting in Nigeria is available through a number of different licensed platforms that offer mobile apps and dedicated websites. Even though there’s a licensing system in place, the country still struggles with stopping illegal online betting. 

Final thoughts

In conclusion, the online sports betting industry in Africa is full of opportunities, but it also faces notable challenges. iGaming operators must work closely with local governments and regulatory authorities to ensure that the industry is regulated. Furthermore, they must also find ways to address the challenges of financial inclusion, money laundering, and addiction. Nonetheless, with the right approach, the sports betting industry in Africa has the potential to grow into a significant contributor to the economies of many African countries.

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