The Future Of Online Gambling Industry In Africa

As most South Africans are aware by now, whether by choice or not, the iGaming industry in Africa, especially South Africa, is evolving rapidly. You’ve undoubtedly heard on the radio or driven by billboards, ads for online casinos, casino games that you can play, or even cryptocurrency investing platforms. This isn’t by coincidence, there are multiple different factors that are causing this online gambling revolution.

We’ll be taking a look at what those factors are and how they’re changing not only the way casino games, and gambling as a whole, are played but also how public perception of the medium is changing. iGaming investors and developers have put the work in and done the research, they have identified multiple key metrics which they can hone in on.

The Advent Of Online In Africa

Without the internet, there’d be no online casinos to make use of. The rate at which online connectivity has grown in Africa is exponential. Taking South Africa as an example, comparing where we are today as opposed to 10 years ago is nothing short of staggering. Around 2011 – 2012 the average speed that internet users had was around 512 kB/s, fast-forward to today and most users are sitting at around 20 Mbps.

The ease of access to the internet means that most Africans can indulge in online gambling easier today than ever before.

It’s important to note that it isn’t only hardwired internet connections that have evolved at a break-neck speed. Mobile internet connectivity has connected Africa to the world and vice versa. Roughly 70% of people in Africa have access to smartphones. You’ll be able to sit in your lounge, log into your casino of choice, pick a game, walk out into your garden and continue playing.

There is a downside to primarily using mobile data to access your iGaming site of choice though. Data prices and rates in Africa are some of the highest in the world. Players would rather not spend an exorbitant amount of money just to gain access to internet casinos, they’d rather spend that money on the games and entertainment options. In this regard, there is still work that needs to be done.

Investigating The Three African iGaming Leaders

The three leaders in the African iGaming sphere are Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya.

Nigeria, the country with the biggest population, also had the highest GDP in 2021, amounting to $441 billion (~R7.5 trillion). Most forms of gambling in the country have been legal since 2004 and are wildly popular amongst the vast majority of the population. Roughly 30% of the country’s population aged between 18 – 40 make bets on nearly a daily basis. This is interesting due to the fact that dice and card games, as well as roulette, are still illegal. If these mainstream games were legalized, the percentage of wages made daily would most likely skyrocket. Football betting, and sports betting in general, is definitely the most popular form of gambling in the region.

Coming in second place on the highest African GDP list for 2021 is our very own Southern Africa. Clocking in a GDP of $420 billion (~R7.1 trillion). South Africa’s relationship with online gambling is a rocky one. The majority of online gambling has been outlawed except for sports betting. Physical casinos and the national lottery are still wildly popular so whenever legislation surrounding online gambling catches up to the 21st century, it’ll be interesting to see how things shift. Players from South Africa still play online casino games by logging into casinos that are hosted by offshore servers, taking advantage of the loophole that exists in the current laws. It is illegal for online establishments to be hosted within the country, so having them loaded overseas skirts that rule.

Next is Kenya. The GDP for the region was roughly R1.8 trillion. They’re an interesting country to look at as a case study as most forms of gambling are legal, they just lack the infrastructure to nurture a healthy online gambling environment. Even with the limitations that their region has, millions of Kenyans still manage to visit online gambling sites, proving that where there is a will there is a way. If they had the reach and means of the other two entries in this section, we’d be seeing a vastly different picture.

Methods For African Deposits & Withdrawals

Now that we’ve established the online framework which allows players to access these gambling sites as well as the three countries that partake in online gaming with the highest GDP, it’s time now to look at how players interact with and engage with these sites.

Online payments are by far the most popular method of payment on the continent, with cryptocurrencies on a rapid increase in popularity. E-wallets give players the option to safely and securely deposit money into a casino account. Neteller casino payments (read more!) and Skrill are widely available across the markets, and there are always new ones launched on a regular basis. Read about electronic wallets and those available to casino players across Africa in this comprehensive guide. 

Crypto wallets allow players who invest in coins to engage with establishments that allow the use of crypto. The investment opportunity that is presented by coins is attractive to so many African players, to the point where they’re gaining more and more legitimacy with the public.

What They Get Right

Gambling sites tend to offer new players exciting incentives to sign up at their establishment. Bonuses and welcome packages like no-deposit bonuses are kings. They allow players to test out the various number of games available online.

There are so many entertainment options that players can engage with, that it’s staggering. Any type of game that you can picture in a physical casino has a digital counterpart and some even have live dealer variants, like the ones you can find HERE, that emulate the in-person experience.

So Much Room For Growth

Even with everything that we’ve discussed, there is still so much that can be done to bolster the online gambling scene on this continent.

The laws that govern and dictate the ways players can conduct themselves with online gambling brands need to be reviewed and overhauled. In South Africa, only casinos that have a physical presence are allowed to launch online variations. This creates a limited pool of options, if this was changed, there’d be more competition driving online casinos to make their experience the best for the guest.

While South Africa is pretty well established when it comes to online connectivity, the rest of the continent still has room to grow. When their connections strengthen, online gambling will see a steady rise.

Region restrictions also hamper the growth of online entertainment on this continent. It is all well and good that online casinos have tens of developers in their libraries, if those suppliers aren’t available in different countries, it’s pointless. Should legislation and connectivity improve, it is possible that more suppliers grant Africa access to their titles.