Betting on Sports in Africa – Why Mobile Entrepreneurs Will Make a Killing

It is nothing short of amazing to behold the impact that technology has had on Africa as a whole, particularly with regards to the internet and mobile phones/tablets. Right now, for instance, Africa’s mobile users account for 12% of all the standalone subscribers in the world and 6% of total revenues globally and growing.

In fact, according to the GSM Association, by 2020 approximately 80% of sub-Saharan Africa is expected to have access to smartphones and/or devices, which equates to roughly 730 million standalone subscribers. This is a particularly exciting prospect for entrepreneurs, companies, investors, and marketers involved in mobile-centric businesses and enterprises.

Combined, the internet and mobile devices have given Africans greater access than ever before to each other and the rest of the world, as well as a wide variety of services, businesses, and industries right at their fingertips, including cutting-edge mobile sports betting sites.

It may come as a surprise to learn that mobile sports betting is growing in leaps and bounds in certain parts of Africa, where access to computers and the internet has traditionally been extremely limited, and in many cases, still is.

It is in these nations that smart mobile technology has ‘leapfrogged’ traditional desktop computers and internet connectivity, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the area of virtual or mobile sports betting.

Virtual sports betting is a thriving and constantly growing industry in nations like Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, and a few others. It’s a sure-fire way to print money for canny ‘mobile entrepreneurs’ who have recognized the industry’s enormous and ongoing potential.
Here are a few examples by country:


NairaBET Filled the Mobile Betting Niche in Nigeria.

One such entrepreneur is Nigeria’s own Akin Alabi, a locally renowned author, motivational speaker, politician, teacher philanthropist and self-invented mobile betting guru.

According to the legend, Alabi was first exposed to land as well as online sports betting on a trip to the UK. Seeing how popular it was in Europe, upon his return to Nigeria he launched successful business writing and selling e-books on how to bet online.

When some of his e-book readers asked him how they could transfer their funds to foreign sportsbooks, Alabi realized that as there were no Nigerian owned or run online sportsbooks that processed payments and bets exclusively in Naira, here was a niche waiting to be filled.

In 2011 Alabi launched NairaBET, Nigeria’s first licensed online sports betting site, and since then neither he nor the site has looked back, with thousands of registered betting and gambling fans and a multitude of lines and odds from Nigeria and the rest of the world.

For instance, over and above hundreds of domestic and global soccer markets catered to soccer-mad Nigerians, NairaBET offers markets on a wide range of other sports like rugby (Union + League), Table Tennis, Baseball, Cricket, Golf, Aussie Rules Football and Futsal.

In terms of access to online sports betting sites in Nigeria, without exception each of the county’s major mobile/cellular operators – MTN, Etisalat, Glo Mobile, and Airtel – allow their subscribers to access any online and mobile bookmakers.

NairaBET Retail operations are regulated by the Lagos State Lotteries Board. It is also a member of the Association of Nigerian Bookmakers.

To say that Akin Alabi is making a killing on sports betting in Nigeria is an understatement, and he is not alone. Click on the attached link to learn more about NairaBET and other Nigerian and African online sports betting sites, news and reviews from across Africa.

Bet9ja Followed in NairaBET’s Virtual Footsteps

After witnessing the success of NairaBET, fellow Nigerian entrepreneur Kunle Soname also jumped into the online sports betting space by launching his online sportsbook, Bet9ja, in 2013.

Like Alabi before him, Soname took into account the massive number of Nigerian sports betting fans with smart devices, along with the huge financial potential of Nigeria’s mobile sports betting market. As such, he has made sure Bet9ja offers the biggest selection of lines with the most competitive odds, all available in Nigerian Naira.

For instance, Bet9ja offers odds on a diverse range of sports such as soccer, baseball, motorsports, volleyball, ante-post soccer, Aussie rules football, futsal, water polo, table tennis, basketball, horse racing, cricket, MMA, cycling, snooker, rugby, golf, and even pesapallo.

Bet9ja is accessible by anyone 18 or older in Nigeria who has a smartphone or tablet and a fast and reliable internet connection via 2G, 3G, 4G, LTE or Wi-Fi.

It accepts deposits via several safe and secure payment methods including Paycom Online Transfer, Skye Mobile Deposit, Webpay with Naira Debit Card, Instant Bank Deposit, GTBank (mobile + mobile transfer), ATM and Quickteller Online.

You’ll find many other examples of highly successful African online betting entrepreneurs in South Africa and Kenya that cater first and foremost to their home markets, and others. The point is that mobile technology coupled with fast, reliable and always-on connectivity has taken sports betting to an entirely new level.


Kenyan Betting Fans Can Use M-Pesa Mobile Payments

In Kenya, many betting fans were prevented from betting online on account of not having ‘traditional’ online payment methods such as credit cards.

However, thanks to the growth of mobile-money platform M-Pesa which is available on the Vodafone mobile network, now more Kenyan betting fans than ever before can safely and quickly fund their mobile accounts from the privacy and convenience of their devices.

Owned by Safaricom Ltd, M-Pesa transacts over 5 billion Kenyan shillings (US$50 million) every day, a large percentage of which is processed on Kenyan mobile sports betting sites. According to Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore in a May 2016 interview, M-Pesa’s application to sports betting has “overtaken every other sector.”

According to World Bank data, in mid-2016 the number of transactions processed by M-Pesa totaled almost a third of Kenya’s gross domestic product of $61 billion. From its launch in 2007 until this period, M-Pesa’s user base grew from 2 million to over 21 million.

The service, offered by Safaricom Ltd. in East Africa’s biggest economy, is now transacting about 5 billion shillings ($50 million) day, Chief Executive Officer Bob Collymore, 57, said in an interview May 7 in the capital, Nairobi.

South Africa

National Gambling Act Spawns Sportingbet

Although most forms of online and mobile gambling are illegal in South Africa (casinos and poker), lotteries and sports betting are the two exceptions. As such, the country has seen several licensed and regulated sportsbooks launch in the last few years.

These online sportsbooks welcome punters from across South Africa (that are over the legal gambling age of 18) and process any payments, bets, and cashouts in South African Rand. All South African sports betting sites are overseen and monitored by the National Gambling Board (NGB) under the mandate of the National Gambling Act of 2004.

Since online sportsbooks entered the South African gambling landscape, online betting figures have skyrocketed. For instance, since 2013, Gross Gambling Revenues (GGR) of ZAR online and mobile sportsbooks have increased by over 20% year on year, as per South African GGR trend betting stats published by the National Gambling Board.

One of South Africa’s most popular sports betting sites is Sportingbet, a UK owned betting that launched a purely South African-facing site in 2009. Today this popular online and mobile sportsbooks boasts over 700,000 members and offers over 3,000 betting lines and odds daily on a multitude of domestic and international sporting events.

Like most online and mobile sportsbooks operating in Africa, Sportingbet offers in-play or live betting, where punters can place additional bets on games, matches, and events while they are still being played. It also lets its members watch live-streamed events on-site.

The most popular sports, of course, comprise South Africa’s favorite sports including rugby, soccer, horse racing, cricket, golf, and tennis. Plus, punters can make quick and easy deposits using Neteller, EcoPayz, Visa, Bank Transfers, MasterCard or Instant EFT.

Licensed by the Western Cape Gambling & Racing Board, Sportingbet is fully regulated and monitored to ensure its odds and processes are 100% fair and within industry standards.


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