There’s no doubt that gambling has always been quite common in Africa with the first land-based casinos and bookmakers popping up some 50 years ago.
While casinos continue to make up a large proportion of the market, sports betting has been gaining ground over the past decade and currently contributes around $37 billion to the gambling industry in the continent, while showing no signs of slowing down any time soon.
Currently, South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria are the fastest growing sports betting markets on the continent with states like Tanzania and Uganda closely following.
When it comes to the most popular sports among South Africans, football, horse racing and rugby are leading the pack, with thousands of wagers being placed on these sporting events every year.
Nevertheless, other more niche sports such as golf as well as Juksei are also rising in popularity.
Is Sports Betting Legal in Africa?
So what exactly is the legal status of gambling in Africa? As it stands, things are a bit complex not to mention ambiguous however the situation is slightly clearer when it comes to sports betting.
African citizens from all states are permitted to make use of the services of both physical casinos and bookmakers as well online sports betting operators too, as long as they possess all the required licensing from the national regulators and gaming watch dogs.
Nevertheless, there is a growing number of African citizens who are betting and subsequently losing large amounts of money on sports every year, leading authorities to crack down with harsher measures on operators and implement stricter laws to control the local sports betting industry.
Among the demographic, it appears that male youths are especially prone to fall victim to the trappings of sports betting since most of them believe that this form of gambling is a simple way to get rich quick, when the unfortunate reality is that they actually accumulate more losses than wins.
The most recent South African Amendment Bill passed just a few months ago aimed to impose stricter policies for operators to abide by and harsher policies for those who ignore them.
Some of the proposed measures included making dog racing illegal as well as restrictions on marketing content used by gambling operators. Nevertheless, the Bill has come under fire, with many experts claiming it will bring about more harm than good.
The Future of Sports Betting in Africa
Why is sports betting rising in popularity across the African continent?
It really comes down to vulnerable citizens who are duped by promises of winning big from a few bets, as well as the rising success of local athletes on the global sports scene.
Of course, there’s also the advances in technology which continue to drive the gambling industry forward, as could be witnessed from the very first ICE Africa conference and expo which was held in Johannesburg just a fews ago.
An event of this calibre in Africa is proof of just how far the industry has come and how it’s expected to continue booming over the next decade, with more professionals looking to break into the local scene.