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Let’s talk about responsible gambling in Africa

As major stakeholders in the gaming space talk about Responsible Gambling Week promotion and awareness of responsible gambling in other parts of the world, particularly in UK. The Industry Group for Responsible Gambling’s (IGRG).

According to the chairman John Hagan he said since its lunch in 2017 Responsible Gambling Week has grown rapidly in the gaming ecosystem, and part of the programs for the week will includes pop-up and banners adds on online gambling sites, advertising space in football stadia and matchday programs, posters in betting shops and the screens of gaming machines and all will include the weeks slogan “Lets talk about responsible gambling” and how the sector needs to prove its year-round commitment to these.

However, we take a look at Africa gaming space are there any programs to promote Responsible Gambling in African countries where gambling is legal.

Over the recent years, many parts of the developing world have experienced unprecedented increase in gambling availability, participation and expenditure. This growth has been evident in Africa. Indeed, legal casinos, sports betting, lottery and poker are currently known to be operating in a numbers of countries in Africa including Botswana, Comoros, Kenya, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda Senegal, Tanzania, Morocco, Swaziland and South Africa which as the most numbers of physical casinos and the largest gambling markets in Africa.

Furthermore, Comoros is known to have one of the regulated online casinos in Africa, also as one of the biggest online casino markets representing 10% of online casino gambling in Africa. While in Morocco is known to be the home of Poker tournament in Africa, the city of Marrakech as hosted some poker tournament in recent years and Lottery is also legal in the country. While countries like Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, Botswana, Senegal and Tanzania are seeing huge expansion in sports betting.

For example, in Kenyan according to Geopoll youths participation on sports betting between age 17-35 represent 76% of youths participating this simple means, the youths in the country has one way or the other involved in gambling in the past and other forms of gambling related activities, while 54% are actively on said betting, and on the average $50 are spend on gambling monthly, nothing occupies the average Kenyans minds other than gambling.

Another good example is the West Africa nation Nigeria known to have the youngest population in the world According to Wikipedia. Sports betting is popular in Nigeria and the youths love affair for sports cannot be denied, however, between age 18-40 are involved in active sports betting, on the average punters spend around 3,000 Naira (about $15) everyday on betting that’s around 30% of the population, that amount to the total of 5bn Naira ( over 25million USD) per day. This figure has been climbing year on year, at over double spend of 2017.

Uganda is another country with 57% of the population is active in gambling related actives, Ghana is touted to have the lowest in gamblification participation with 42% according to a recent survey conducted by (based on African Youth Charter).

However, the gambling industry is considered to have a beneficial impact on the economy through employment opportunities and tax revenue for government, and easy money for low-income earners.

Unfortunately, major stakeholders in the gaming space aren’t doing enough to promote and talk about responsible gambling in Africa and the devastating effects gambling has on many of those whom are involved in all forms of gambling related activities, more than half of whom are below the age of 35 in Africa are at risk of facing gambling addiction known as biopsychosocial disorder that is characterize as a persistent and recurrent maladaptive pattern of gambling behavior.

Although, there have been a reported case of gambling addiction in 2016 in Kenya a young man found dead hanging behind his mother house a student of Kenyatta University, he committed suicide few hours after losing money he’d placed on bets in the UEFA quarterfinals between Germany vs. Italy after using his school fees of $800 to gamble on the said football match.

This is a particularly problematic in Africa because the continent has the youngest population in the world over 520 millions Africans are between age 15-35. On top of this unemployment is extremely high which account for 42% of African youths are unemployed while only one of six African youths is gainfully wage employed.

These unemployed and underemployed youths are easily stimulated by sports and the love affair for the sports betting offers a way out of poverty. Another danger is that low earning young people often borrow money for gambling, this places them in a cycle of continuous debt, rising debt levels compound an already dire situation- 40% of people in Africa live below $2 a day according to UN report.

Though, South Africa is touted to be the only country in Africa to have a Responsible Gambling Foundation. it is right about time major stakeholders in the gaming space in Africa see it as an important aspect of the industry i.e Regulators, Operators, Suppliers and other important bodies related to gaming industry should see it as a problem that’s need quick attention in Africa gaming ecosystem “Lets talk about responsible gambling” in Africa. Sooner or later it will become a thing that is perpetual in Africa.

Written by Adeleye Awakan
Associate/Editor www.gbc.ng Africa’s leading digital gaming magazine. For consultant on gaming in Africa, Marketing, PR, Advertising, and Thoughtful leadership article contact: [email protected]

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