Countries in Africa with the Best Betting Legislation

As one of the world’s oldest pastimes, it is perhaps little surprise that Africans from across the continent have shown themselves to be gambling fans. This has proven particularly true over the last number of years. And with the rise of online gambling across the world, Africans have proven themselves equally receptive to this trend.

The rise of digital and mobile technology has been crucial to this rise. And with more devices in the hands of the average African than ever, it is no surprise that this technology has become an increasingly important part of their daily lives. This is no different when it comes to recreation. And online services like shopping, social media, and online betting have become very much normalised across the continent. In this setting, new companies such as Bet365 Uganda and other online casinos and betting platforms have established a presence in the African market.

However, it isn’t just technological innovations alone that have created the conditions for the rise and growth of the online gambling market in Arica. An important, although often overlooked, factor has been the legislative changes that have made online betting possible.

This fact is equally true of Africa as it is with any other continent or country where the online gambling industry has experienced significant growth. Legislation is an essential piece of the puzzle as it ensures that customers have a safe environment to bet in, which helps build long-term customer loyalty and creates a sense of trust.

However, there is a considerable degree of variation in how sophisticated or liberal betting legislation is across Africa. Whilst some African countries have enacted reasonably comprehensive gambling legislation packages with modern regulators, others are still based on decades-old betting laws that are ill-suited to online gambling.

This is also further complicated by a significant degree of regional variation, with the adequacy or complexity of betting legislation often influenced by the religious sensibilities of a particular country. For example, North African states which are traditionally Muslim tend to have more restrictive betting legislation. Whilst traditionally less religious, more liberal countries in the South tend to be more open.

With that said, let’s take a quick look at some of the major African territories where online betting has been legislated for.

South Africa

As the largest and most dynamic gambling market on the African content, South Africa is surprisingly behind the times when it comes to betting legislation. Currently, most online betting activity falls under the 2004 National Gambling Act. This makes allowance for several licensed betting operators to provide gambling services to South Africans and imposes penalties on any individual or company infringing this.

Despite the limits of the 2004 act, various attempts to bring in more modern legislation have fallen short. This is despite South Africa having a relatively healthy economy compared to other countries in the region, as well as gambling itself being very popular with South Africans.


Nigeria is, by a wide margin, the most populous country in Africa and one of the biggest economies. With a rising middle class and poverty levels falling, online betting has taken off over the last number of years. Nigeria previously had a strict gambling ban, which placed heavy restrictions on the sector. However, this was lifted in 2004, and since then, there has been significant growth in the industry.

Online gambling and betting are not regulated at the federal level which means restrictions will vary from state to state. Each state has a regulatory body that can issue licenses to betting operators.


As one of the largest online betting markets on the continent, it is little surprise that Kenya also has some of the most up-to-date legislation. This has also been helped by the Kenyan economy booming in recent years—although this might be beginning to falter.

The majority of gambling activities are regulated under the Betting, Lotteries, and Gaming Act. However, updates to this legislation have been proposed with the 2019 Gaming Bill. It has yet to pass the final stages of implementation, with several recent changes suggested. Because of these legislative provisions, the online betting and gambling space has moved away from a monopoly to a vibrant market with many different operators.


In terms of the countries with the most up-to-date legislative regimes, Uganda is up there with the best of them. Uganda introduced a new framework for regulating online gambling in 2016 with the Lotteries and Gaming Act. Although this did not immediately apply to online betting activities, it has been amended to cover it. Because of these efforts, Uganda has one of the most vibrant and active betting industries on the continent.


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