GAMING IN BURKINA FASO

ABOUT THE COUNTRY

Burkina Faso is a landlocked country in West Africa that covers an area of around 274,200 square kilometres and is surrounded by Mali, Niger; Benin, Togo, Ghana and Ivory Coast. The July 2019 population estimate by the United Nations was 20,321,378. The country’s official language of government and business is French.The country occupies an extensive plateau, and its geography is characterized by a savanna that is grassy in the north and gradually gives way to sparse forests in the south.A former French colony, it gained independence as Upper Volta in 1960. The name Burkina Faso, which means “Land of Incorruptible People,” was adopted in 1984. The capital, Ouagadougou, is in the centre of the country and lies about 500 miles (800 km) from the Atlantic Ocean.

BRIEFLY ABOUT THE ECONOMY OF BURKINA FASO

About nine-tenths of the population is engaged in subsistence agriculture or livestock raising. Difficult economic conditions, made worse by severe intermittent droughts, have provoked considerable migration from rural to urban areas within Burkina Faso and to neighbouring countries, most notably Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. As many as 1.5 million people, or almost one-third of the country’s labour force, have been abroad at any given time. (In the early 21st century, however, unrest in neighbouring countries, particularly in Côte d’Ivoire, made it difficult for Burkinabés to find employment.) The development of industry in Burkina Faso is hampered by the small size of the market economy and by the absence of a direct outlet to the sea. Beginning in the late 1990s, the government began to privatize some state-owned entities in order to attract foreign investment.

GAMBLING IN BURKINA FASO

Most forms of gambling are legal in Burkina Faso, a former French colony situated in Western Africa. Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world with a GDP per capita of $600, but this doesn’t seem to deter Burkinabé (residents of Burkina Faso) from pursuing games of chance.

Lottery and sports betting, with an emphasis on wagering on horse races is the monopoly of Lotérie National Burkinabé, the national lottery of Burkina Faso.* Casino gambling and slot machines are also legal and require a licence in accordance with the regulation of 2014.**

Online gambling, on the other hand, is not regulated in the country. It could be argued, that the monopoly on lottery and sports betting applies to online versions as well, but there is no mention of online gambling in either bills. Even if it were considered illegal, the government of Burkina Faso would likely not have the resources to effectively prohibit online gambling. Also, the online gambling market of Burkina Faso is rather small: only about 4% of the population has access to the internet.

CASINO GAMBLING IN BURKINA FASO

Casino gambling is legal in Burkina Faso. Operators of slot machines and casino games must obtain a licence issued by the Ministry of licence and pay a one-time licensing fee of 5 million CFA francs (about $9000). There are some gambling halls in Burkina Faso, mainly in the capital, Ouagadougou, though the exact number is unknown. Apart from slot machines, Poker games and Roulette are also available. Slot machines may only be installed in establishments used specifically for gambling, i. e. not in bars or hotel lobbies.


Online casino gambling is not regulated in Burkina Faso – with an internet penetration rate of less than 5% that should not come as a surprise. Likewise, there are no online casino sites based in Burkina Faso. Burkinabé with access to the internet are free to play on any international casino site.

SPORTS BETTING IN BURKINA FASO

Exclusive rights to operate sports betting are owned by the national lottery of Burkina Faso, LONAB. At the moment the only type of sports betting offered by the company is wagering on horse races. There are two types of betting available when it comes to horse racing: ECD, conducted in sports betting halls with large screens and PMU, available at several retailers. Horse races Burkinabé can bet on are held in hippodromes in France.

While results of horse races are available online, actual betting is not offered on the website of LONAB. Residents of Burkina Faso who wish to bet online or choose from a wider variety of sport to wager on can gamble on international sports betting sites.

BINGO IN BURKINA FASO

While there is a department and a city in Burkina Faso named Bingo, the game is not well-known in the country. There are no dedicated Bingo halls in the country – though operating one would likely require a licence as other gambling establishments do. The national lottery of Burkina Faso does not offer any Bingo games either.


Online Bingo is, of course, unregulated as well, and there are no online Bingo sites based in Burkina Faso. Should Burkinabé wish to participate in online Bingo games, they are welcome to play on international online Bingo sites, though few websites accept the Central African Franc.

LOTTERY IN BURKINA FASO

Lottery in Burkina Faso is also a monopoly of LONAB. Games on offer include Tombola, scratchcards and the televised Télé fortune, as well as the previously mentioned horse races. Proceedings of lottery ticket sales go towards supporting socio-economic projects (hospitals and schools) as well as sports and culture programs.

While the Burkina Faso national lottery has a website, currently lottery tickets can only be bought at physical retailers. It is unclear in the regulations whether the monopoly of LONAB applies to online lotteries, but even if it theoretically did, the government would lack the resources to supervise online gaming. As a result, gamblers in Burkina Faso are free to participate in international lottery draws.

BITCOIN AND CRYPTOCURRENCY IN BURKINA FASO

As there are no laws in Burkina Faso regarding online gambling at all, Bitcoin gambling is also unregulated. With an internet penetration rate of less than 5%, Burkinabé aren’t highly likely to participate in Bitcoin gambling. Still, the possibility to play on foreign Bitcoin casino sites is there.

Bitcoin is also largely unknown in Burkina Faso. There have been initiatives to pay African workers in Bitcoin, which would enable them to send part of their income home (which most of them do) with no, or very little transaction fees and delay. This method might face obstacles in Burkina Faso, as there aren’t many legit Bitcoin traders exchanging Bitcoin to Central African Franc.