Africa is one of the most eager sports-loving continents in the world. Its population greatly enjoys watching and playing sports like basketball, boxing, cricket, boxing, car racing - especially soccer. Africans love soccer!
But watching and playing sports is not the only joy Africans get from them. Recently, the continent saw a big spike in online betting and online casino services. Sports, particularly soccer, became a source of income for a lot of Africans.
With the proliferation of Internet resources on the continent, the African people are now able to place bets on their favorite sports games and win reasonable amounts of cash. In this article, we’ll see just how popular sports betting is in Africa, as well as explore the main drivers of this surge.
What makes African sports betting so popular?
Probably the craziest part about the rise of sports betting in Africa is a dissonance between the poverty rates and the number of sports bettors.
Almost 40% of the African population is considered below the poverty line. It means that almost half of the population’s income hardly reaches $1.90 a day. People cannot even afford to buy food for themselves, let alone their families.
On the other hand, however, there are dozens of millions of Africans who are not only crazy about soccer or rugby but also love to bet their money on these games. Here are some dazzling details about the sports betting popularity in Africa:
With an overwhelmingly young population of 190 million, almost 32% (60 million) is an active online sports bettor. According to a 2014 report, the Nigerians spend around 1.8 billion Naira on sports betting daily, which is almost 5 million US dollars. And with a more recent study in place, this number hits the mark of 5 billion Naira (almost $14 million);
South Africa, which is the most regulated sports betting market on the continent, has almost 50% of its population involved in sports betting. The same goes for the other parts of the continent;
According to a recent study, the South African sports betting market is worth almost $32 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach $35 billion by the year 2021.
These are some of the most recent data about the African sports betting market that shows that Africans are deeply involved in this business. Not only that, the European and the US sports betting operators have recognized this spike in Africa and imported their businesses in the continent.
The foreign and native sports betting companies claim that such popularity is inherently good for the population because not only does it give them an opportunity to earn money but also to find jobs in this industry.
What drives the rise of sports betting in Africa
Now that we’ve discussed how popular sports betting has become on the continent, let’s find out why this actually happens.
First and foremost, Africans love sports. Soccer is their most beloved sport, particularly the European leagues (La Liga, Bundesliga, Premier League, etc.) have an African fan community in millions. However, they also enjoy basketball, rugby, cricket, etc. very much. Such love for sports is one of the main reasons why Africans are so passionate about betting.
Another environmental factor for the sports betting being so rampant is a mild regulation. As we mentioned above, only the South African government was able to properly regulate the betting market. For the rest of the African countries, the betting laws are still new and aren’t really capable of controlling the rising market.
Perhaps the most prevalent aspect of sports betting popularity is the number of young population and their unemployment rate. With 226 million people in the age group of 15-24, and almost 60% of the population being under 24, Africa is considered the youngest continent in the world.
In addition to that, the North African countries have as much as a 25% unemployment rate, while Congo, Senegal, Botswana, and other countries have even greater rates.
Combine the youngest population with some of the biggest unemployment rates in the world and you get the perfect conditions for the sports betting industries to flourish and thrive.
Another important factor in this development is the improvement of the cellular and reception services on the continent. For example, Nigerians were previously afraid of using online sports betting websites due to the fear of electronic scams and slow internet speed. But with the new, faster digital payment systems and faster internet speeds, the bettors are much more willing to place bets on whatever sports game they want.
Africa is the world’s poorest continent, as well as the youngest and the most unemployed. But it doesn’t prevent its population to embrace the new online sports betting opportunities that are so popular these days.
Recently, the continent has seen the biggest spike in the sports betting industry, having some of its countries like Nigeria worth dozens of billions of dollars.
The businesses say sports betting is good for the customers to make some money, for the unemployed youth to find jobs, and for the government to earn tax-money. With the growing population of the continent, the market will only go faster and stronger.