Online Gambling in Africa
As of 2021, online gambling in Africa has been on the rise, thanks to several top-tier iGaming operators setting their sights set on the continent of Africa. It is considered a lucrative and upcoming market by iGaming titans who see a great opportunity to enter, dominate and expand within the market. Unlike most European or American governments, African states seem more willing to regulate online gambling provided that it will rope in hundreds of millions (if not billions) of dollars every year through taxation.
Before we take a closer look at the gambling panorama in Africa, let’s first see what the best African Casinos and Sportsbook are this year.
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Over the past half a decade or so, a good majority of African countries across the continent have seen a steady and sustained growth in GDP which allows the common man to indulge in entertainment channels such as online gambling, be it betting on sports online or playing online casino games. In addition, within the same time frame, there has also been incredible penetration of mobile technologies and mobile internet services across Africa which facilitates easy access to online gambling platforms to most socio-economic classes in Africa.
One of the main facilitators for the increasing popularity of online gambling in Africa is the wide and inexpensive availability of broadband internet connectivity. In early 2020, it was estimated that 11.5% of the world’s internet users were based in African countries.
In this article, we are going to delve deep into all facets of online gambling in Africa. This will include a look into the current state of affairs regarding online gambling in certain African countries, sports betting in Africa, online casino games in Africa, playing the lottery online from ZAR Casinos South Africa and much more.
Gambling on Mobile in Africa
In Africa, it is estimated that only 41% of people have access to broadband internet services in their households. On the other hand, there is estimated to be over 650 million mobile users in Africa (which is more than in the US or Europe) and thus gambling on mobile is actually more accessible to African players than gambling on a PC connected to the internet via broadband. Find a list of online casinos for mac computers.
Playing on mobile comes with certain advantages. Needless to say, you can play while you are on the move, but there are also easy mobile payment solutions, and there aren’t too many regulations which restrict mobile gaming either. While countries like Kenya and Uganda have regulatory measures in place to protect gamblers on the internet, most other African countries are yet to define regulations.
Legalities of Online Gambling in African Countries
We need to understand the basic fact that Africa is a continent where countries have different laws and regulations pertaining to online gambling or anything else for that matter. In general, there isn’t a great deal of regulations surrounding online gambling except for in countries like South Africa, Uganda and Kenya which are gambling hotspots within the African continent.
Lawmakers are trying to draft and implement complex yet thoughtful laws to regulate online gambling in a way which is safe but also profitable to the state. This means finding a balance between loosely regulating online gambling and straight out outlawing any form of online gambling.
A ban on online gambling does not seem to help either cause. A ban would mean zero revenue for the state through the taxation of online gambling. But at the same time it would not stop citizens from indulging in online gambling either. In certain African countries where online gambling has been restricted, players still continue to gamble online by using online gambling platforms which are hosted offshore and therefore cannot be subjected to the laws within their jurisdiction.
Furthermore, there isn’t a blanket law which applies to all forms of online gambling. This means that online casinos may be subject to certain regulations and restrictions while sports betting may have other legal provisions or restrictions. Likewise, we also have lottery games, skill-based gambling games, horse race betting and a myriad of other online gambling niches which are all molded by different sets of legislation in different African countries. Also, make sure to check out our guide to Zimbabwean online casinos, Zambian online casinos and of course, see a full list of Malawi online casinos.
Below, we provide you with brief insights into the current state of online gambling in various African nations and the laws that go along with it in each country.
South Africa is one of Africa’s most prosperous countries and ranks third in the continent in terms of GDP as of 2020. Even though South Africa is not as heavily populated in comparison to other African countries, the local purchasing potential here is significantly greater than its peers.
South Africa is the largest gambling market in Africa. There are estimates which predict that the gross gaming revenue for South Africa will surpass a staggering $2.3 billion within a time frame as early as 2023. The online gambling market in South Africa is estimated to be worth over an incredible £2 billion at this time. Check out our guide to gambling in South Africa to learn more.
In terms of the online gambling laws in effect in South Africa, the country was one of the first African nations to develop a legislative framework to regulate online gambling. While online sports betting is allowed and even encouraged as long as it is operated by state-sanctioned companies, online casinos seem to have gotten the shorter end of the yardstick.
The South African National Gambling Act of 2004 bans interactive online games and this includes games of chance like slot games and certain card and table games. However, South African online casino enthusiasts have plenty of offshored-based online casino options to choose from. You can also find out more by reading about South African online gambling laws.
As per data from 2020, Nigeria is the second richest country in Africa, second only to Egypt. Nigeria is a heavily populated nation which is home to over 200 million people. Therefore, it is not too shocking that Nigeria represents a substantial 7% of the gambling market in all of sub-Saharan Africa. This makes it the largest gambling market with respect to GGR. It is not just that there are 200 million people, but also that the GDP was worth $443 billion as of 2020. This means that there are a lot of people and they have considerable amounts of money to spend on things like online gambling.
Online gambling was outlawed in Nigeria until as recently as 2004 when the bank was lifted and this brought in the big investors. The most popular form of online gambling in Nigeria seems to be sports betting. See a list of our online casinos available in Nigeria.
A poll conducted in 2014 concluded that approximately 30% of the population in Nigeria place sports bets on a daily basis. A back of the envelope calculation should tell you that it means there are 65 million people in Nigeria that place at least one sports bet every day. At this time, there is row between the Nigeria Lottery Regulation Commission and the Lagos State Lotteries Board as to who gets regulatory rights on a federal level as far as online gambling is concerned.
The Kenyan Government seems to be having an internal conflict when it comes to online gambling. Going by the fact that online gambling is legal and regulated, there are still a lot of other restrictions in terms of how it can be advertised seems to suggest that online gambling in considered highly taboo, but not bad enough that the government will pass on the revenue that it brings in.
The Gaming Bill of 2019 legalizes online gambling and regulates it. However, operators need to stay under the radar in how they market their services. For instance, it is illegal to use a celebrity as an ambassador of an online gambling brand or platform. Also, gaming operators are not allowed to advertise their site on Television between the hours of 6am to 10pm.
Even though Kenya is still one of the biggest online gambling markets in Africa, the market suffered a huge setback as a result of back and forth between state authorities and gambling operators in recent years. This tussle saw the downfall of the Gross Gambling Revenue of Kenya fall from $300 million in 2018 to $175 million in 2020. Nevertheless, since the introduction of 2019 gambling bill, the market has been steadier and is growing again, slowly but surely. Take a look at online casinos available in Kenya.
Tanzania sets a quintessential example of an African nation where online gambling has risen hand in hand with the mobile broadband infrastructure. This trend can be seen across various other countries, both in Africa and outside.
In Tanzania, both online casino gaming and online sports betting is legal and regulated. The state will issue licenses to operators at a fee for both cases. Online casinos and online sports betting platforms are hit with a flat 25% tax on their gross gaming revenue. Tanzania has been a prime inspiration for several medium and smaller African countries in terms of how they have regulated, taxed and profited from online gambling. The state does not get too involved in terms of running state sponsored platforms. It simply sets the guidelines and minimum standards for private operators to abide by when offering their services to players based in Tanzania.
The main piece of legislation came in 2012 in the form of a bill named Internet Gaming Regulations. In 2019, the online gaming laws were amended to lift the ban on marketing and advertising of online gambling, along with other amendments which were generally considered pro-gambling. Tanzania uses the latest technology available to facilitate transparency between the operators and the state, they have introduced technology which seamlessly records every bet placed online in approved platforms which eases the reporting responsibilities of the operator and minimizes any miscommunication or human error.
Ghana, much like Tanzania, has a legislative framework that is rather amicable towards online gaming operators. Ghana has an authoritative body that deals with gambling called the Gaming Commission of Ghana. The Gaming Commission of Ghana has been drafting and refining a detailed regulatory framework over the past few years to regulate online gambling in all its forms in a progressive manner.
Ghanaian players are not pushed to choose online gaming websites hosted offshores since they have perfectly capable onshore operators regulated by their own state which ensures added safety and trust worthiness.
Even though many Ghanaians don’t have internet accessibility, online casino gaming is perfectly legal for those who are more fortunate. On a positive note, the accessibility to affordable internet and computer systems in Ghana is on the rise. As of 2009, it was estimated that there were only a million internet users across Ghana, but as of 2020, that number is at around 4 million users.
Sports betting is very popular in Ghana. Even though local, land based betting shops are still the most popular way to punt on football games, there are several online sports betting websites in operation that focus on serving Ghanian sports bettors. Don’t forget to check out our guide to online casinos in Ghana.
Botswana is in the midst of the overhaul of their online gambling legislation. The bills that are currently in effect have been deemed archaic and obsolete by the Botswanan Ministry of Trade. The Ministry of Trade has triggered the process of drafting and implementing an updated gambling bill in 2011 and it seems like this is still a work in progress.
What happens in practice with regards to online gambling in Botswana is not theoretically compatible with the current gambling bill that fails to address or make any provisions for online gambling specifically. The new bill which is in the pipeline will serve to replace the Casino Act and the Lotteries and Betting Act.
Currently, players based in Botswana can play at online casinos or online sportsbooks. It is not illegal to do so since there are simply no laws pertaining to the practice.
Unfortunately, the online gambling market in Namibia still suffers from laws that were passed in the 90s without much foresight. In the 90s, the Namibian government essentially ceased the issuance of licenses for any form of gambling operations. The ban was in place for far too long until was finally lifted in 2006. Despite the ban being overturned, the iGaming industry in Namibia remains affected by the lack of any sort of foundation to go by.
Currently, various types of online gambling, including online casinos and online sports betting, is legal in Namibia and is loosely regulated. You can consult our full list of online casinos available in Namibia for more information. However, if you are looking for state-licensed domestic operators, you are going to be disappointed by the lack of options. Players are free to sign up and play at trusted foreign operators’ websites and don’t have to worry about any government interference if they decide to do so.
Given that the ban on issuing licenses has been lifted, we do anticipate the domestic market to pick up in time.
Mauritius rolled up their sleeves and implemented The Gambling Regulatory Authority Act in 2007. This piece of legislation was developed with the intention of being a regulatory framework around which online gambling in the country could be dictated by the state. Even through Mauritius does issue online gambling licenses for a fee to domestic operators that seek it, there has not been much interest from the side of the investors. The reason for an underwhelming response from gambling operators to set up online shops in Mauritius probably has to do with the humble population of the country and the even lower number of active internet users.
Players based in Mauritius are further crippled from choosing to play with offshore operators since the laws ban any offshore providers from providing services to anyone located in Mauritius. However, there is simply no way to enforce this ban and players that do play with offshore operators have never been reprimanded in any recorded case. For that reason, we have taken the luxury of listing online casinos available in Mauritius.
Uganda brought forth a detailed and vast gambling regulatory framework in 2016, known as the Lotteries and Gaming Act. However, much of the legislation introduced as part of this bill deals with gambling in general and does not really address online gambling specifically.
Ugandans seem to be fond of gambling and it is estimated that they spend $40 million on gambling on average in a year. The government reaps in taxed revenue of over $10 million consistently since 2018.
Given the demand for gambling and the huge amounts of tax money coming in, the government is determined to hold on to all of the local punters and force out any offshore operators from providing services to their punters. They have a huge campaign going to nationalize the gambling market as much as possible. Gambling operators are taxed 20% of their gross gaming revenue and are also instructed to withhold up to 15% of winnings made by players.
Best Online Casinos by Country
Online casinos are extremely popular across Africa. Be it domestic operators or offshore operators, players based in countries like South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana and various other African countries have plenty of choices when it comes to online casinos. First, start by consulting our guide to the best deposit casinos in South Africa.
If you haven’t played at an online casino before, you should know that it is an exciting experience as long as you choose an online casino that is licensed, trustworthy and of good quality. This is where we can help you out.
Since there are literally hundreds of online casinos, it might be overwhelming for a player to choose the right casino for their needs. This is precisely why we have compiled a list of top recommended casinos for various African countries. By simply clicking on any of the countries below, you will get insights into what the top-recommended choices are specific to that country. Plus you can also check out our guide to the best live dealer casinos.
We assess every casino based on a whole range of factors when we shortlist and recommend an online casino. A few things that are taken into account include the casino’s lawfulness and safety, quality and extent of the game library, privacy and security offered, banking options available, bonuses/promotions offered, and the overall quality of customer service.
We have detailed online casino recommendations for various African countries below. However, some of the top choices that are popular across Africa include:
• Africasino: Launched in 2016, Africasino is undoubtedly one of the best online casinos catering to players from all over Africa, with a special focus on South Africa. Africasino has a fantastic user interface which is decked up with an African wildlife kind of theme and unmistakably South African colors. One of the unique aspects of Africasino is the fact that the website is available not just in English, but also in Afrikaans. New players get a massive welcome bonus worth up to R10,000 when they sign up and make their first three deposits. Africasino offers hundreds of slots and casino games from providers like BetSoft, Leap, Playson, Booongo and many more.
• Apollo Slots: Apollo Slots is a simplistic online casino with a user friendly interface. The casino went live in 2016 and is a solid overall online casino choice for players based in Africa and elsewhere. Apollo Slots is powered by Real Time Gaming (RTG) and offers an excellent collection of slots, table games and video poker. Also an integral part of the collection is RTG’s progressive jackpot games that can be truly life-changing.
• Black Diamond Casino: Black Diamond Casino exudes class and exclusivity. It has a sleek, black user interface which looks timelessly classic. The casino is equipped with the latest technology in online gaming and is one of the few Africa facing online casinos that supports crypto currencies. Black Diamond Casino went live in 2009 and it is trusted and well – established online casino. Black Diamond Casino is home to an amazing collection of games from Rival Gaming, BetSoft and Parlay Entertainment. Apart from the traditional online casino game categories such as slots and table games, Black Diamond also has a good collection of Bingo games.
Sports Betting in Africa
Sports betting is extremely popular across Africa. In countries like Nigeria and Uganda, a huge portion of the adult population is known to indulge in sports betting on a daily basis. One of the most popular sports in Africa is football and football presents a huge number of betting opportunities. Not only do African audiences love to watch local and international football leagues, but they also support their teams by backing them with real money bets.
Apart from football, betting on sports like rugby and cricket is popular in South Africa and Kenya. Another huge betting market is horse racing. Horse races take place throughout the year across Africa, especially in South Africa and these races and derbies attract bettors from all over the continent.
Sports betting online is legal in most African nations and in countries where it has not been explicitly legalized. There are seldom any issues for sports bettors that choose to play using offshore operators instead of with operators licensed by their local governments. There is no dearth of online sportsbooks that accept players from African countries. Depending on exactly which African country you are based in, we recommend certain online sportsbooks. However, if we consider Africa overall, some of the top online sports betting platforms are:
- Bet.co.za – Bet.co.za is an online sportsbook that accepts real money bets by players from various African countries. This sportsbook is primarily focused on the South African market and accepts South African Rands. A huge range of sports betting markets are covered here. This includes everything from football, tennis and rugby to more niche markets like snooker, esports and handball. This sportsbook also supports in-play betting where punters can place bets on sporting events that are currently underway. New players are welcomed with a massive welcome bonus when they make their first deposit. Courtesy of this welcome bonus, you can make as much as R1000 for free.
- Hollywoodbets –Hollywoodbets is an online sportsbook developed for the African market by South Africa. This online sportsbook makes no efforts to hide its patriotism – it is adorned with South African colors and theming all over. Hollywoodbets is one of those rare few online bookmakers to give new players a bonus just for signing up, no deposit required. Just make an account by completing the registration form and Hollywoodbets will give you R25 for free. You can use this bonus to place your first sports bet for free. The process to place a bet at Hollywoodbets is really simple – it is based on the process one may follow at a betting shop. The betting works on the basis of a Betslip. Hollywoodbets offers betting on live games and also on the booming Esports market.
- Playabets –Playabets is an Africa facing online casino which is most popularly known for its incredibly generous bonuses. Apart from a lucrative welcome bonus which is exclusively meant for new players, Playabets also offers a whole range of bonuses and promotions for existing members as well. There are tons of sport-specific bonuses targeting football, cricket, rugby and other sports that are popular in Africa. You even get a bonus for referring a friend to sign up with Playabets. Apart from offering betting on 35+ sports markets, Playabets also offers products such as Playa Live Score, Playa Keno and betting on eSports like Counter Strike, Dota and League of Legends.
Online Lottery in Africa
The lottery is a game based purely on luck and has very little to do with any type of skill or strategy. The odds of winning a lottery jackpot are usually very slim to say the least. However, the risk of loss is also rather negligible since lottery tickets are usually very inexpensive. In fact, many people across Africa don’t mind spending a couple of bucks to play the lottery every single day in the hopes that if they happen to have one lucky day, they are going to win so much money that they can retire in luxury and style.
There are many national lotteries games in several African countries which take place weekly or sometimes even daily. You can buy tickets for these lottery games at retailers and approved lottery shops.
If you are not keen on visiting a retailer to buy a lottery ticket, or even if you are interested in playing big lotteries from around the world and not just African lotteries, then you have the convenient option of online lottery services. Such online lottery websites allow members from all over the world to play lotteries from all over the world. Players simply have to pick their lottery numbers and pay for their entry.
Depending on which lottery you played, a land-based agent will actually visit the retailer in that country and buy the lottery ticket on your behalf, as per your specifications. A scanned copy of the lottery ticket is then sent to you for confirmation. Some of the top online lottery services for players based in Africa are
- The Lotter – The Lotter is one of the most popular online lottery websites on the internet today. It was launched back in 2002 and now serves hundreds of thousands of players from all around the globe, including Africa. Over the years, The Lotter has paid out over $100 million in lottery prizes to its members. On their website, you can view some of the biggest winners and the stories of how The Lotter changed their lives for the better. The Lotter is owned by Lotto Direct Limited and is licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority. Some of the most popular lottery games that one can play via The Lotter include Mega Millions, EuroMillions, US PowerBall, Italy SuperEnalotto and several others.
- Jackpot.com – Jackpot.com is an African friendly online lottery website which has a different mechanism of action when compared to most other online lottery services. At Jackpot.com, instead of the player buying a lottery ticket through an online medium, the player will actually bet on the outcome of the lottery in terms of predicting the winning numbers. While the player plays the role of the bettor, Jackpot.com plays the role of the bookmaker. If you win, the jackpot you are paid is equivalent to the jackpot prize of the respective lottery itself. So where do these winnings come from? Well, all bets at Jackpot.com are insured. You can bet on world famous lotteries like US Powerball, Mega Millions and EuroMillions.
- Giant Lottos –Giant Lottos is another online lottery system which we would recommend to our African players. This online lottery purchasing service works similar to The Lotter. You make your pick and a person actually visits the lottery shop and buys a lottery ticket and sends you a copy of the ticket. One of the attractive points of this lottery service is that the website is available in Afrikaans which certain South African players will appreciate. Also, Giant Lottos offers some great features like bulk-buy, syndicates and Google registration. At this time, there are 12 lotteries that you can play through the Giant Lottos online platform. This includes Mega Million, USA Powerball, Euro Jackpot, Euro Millions, UK Lottery, and Canada Lotto 649, to name a few.
Is gambling legal in Africa?
There is no black and white answer to this blanket question. The fact is that Africa is comprised of 48 different African countries and each one of these countries have their own laws and regulations pertaining to gambling. Furthermore, even if we are looking at one specific country, the laws that regulate gambling could vary from the laws that regulate online gambling. Certain forms of gambling could be legal whereas other forms may be outlawed. Having said that, online gambling is usually legal in African nations. To be sure, check the local laws of your jurisdiction.
How to choose an African sportsbook?
There are many factors that need to be considered when choosing an online sportsbook. Some of the most important ones are the legality, fairness, security and safety of the online sportsbook. Apart from this, one must also consider the kind of promotions are available, banking methods supported, the number of sports you can bet on, whether you can bet on in-play or live events, whether you can bet on eSports, etc. Choosing an online sportsbook must be done in accordance with your specific requirements. In this article, we give you a list of our top recommended online sportsbooks for African players.
Which sports are popular to bet on in Africa?
The most popular sport across Africa is undoubtedly football (soccer). However, in certain African countries like South Africa and Kenya sports like rugby and cricket also make for popular sports betting markets. Another popular sport that players across Africa like to bet on is horse racing.
Which African countries offer online gambling?
Some African countries that offer licensed, domestic online gambling services include South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana, Uganda, etc.
Players residing in African countries that don’t have licensed online gambling operators can always use the services of offshore gambling operators.
Which country has the highest rate of gambling?
Some of the African countries with the highest rates of gambling include Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda and Ghana. Nigeria does top the list with respect to the percentage of gamblers and the highest gambling expenditure.