Online casinos: an emerging industry in Africa

With the whole continent experiencing a surge in their economic strength, and considering the large and growing percentage of the internet that it makes up, it’s not a wonder that investors would be looking to the various countries in the continent to make good use of this untapped virtual gold mine.

Bolstering this is the improving virtual infrastructure that is being built up in countries all over the continent, allowing people easier access to the world via the internet, and by extension, online gaming. All of this should slowly start painting a clear picture of why the online gambling industry has been slowly on the rise in the continent.

Current Legal Landscape

With most countries legalizing or regulating gambling only recently, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many casinos have been enjoying a rather unsaturated market, allowing for many newcomers to become established and make a name for themselves. This of course translates as well to the more recently permitted online casinos. There are many examples of these new real money online casinos which came into the continent, but it is important to understand the regulations that exist, or do not exist, and what this can mean for the companies that wish to view their prospects here, before investing.

For this, we can look at other countries or continents that have already gone through this kind of growth, or are currently going through it.

How the USA is Handling Online Casinos

The USA is home to the world renowned City of Angels, one of, if not the most famous city for gambling and entertainment. It may be surprising to hear then, America treats online and land-based gambling very differently. While gambling, both in person and online, is legal in most US states, online casinos in particular are not nearly on the same level, with only six states having it legalized at all. This stems from the country’s recent past with the online aspect of the gambling world, which made it nigh impossible for casinos to function in the online space.

This however does not necessarily dictate the future of the industry in America, however. Very similarly to Africa, recent events also resulted in the increase of time online for many Americans, which helped foster a growing gambling scene, in the form of online sports gambling, as well as casino gambling for the states which have it legalized. In fact, 6 more states have legislation proposed to legalize the hobby, and introduce a new stream of revenue for the country.

And just how effective would this kind of legislation be?

As fun as the average player may find this hobby, one must consider as well the monetary investment that must be undertaken to even implement such a system in a country; is it worth it for investors to fund this kind of thing?

Well, looking at the statistics in America again, we can compare the state of Nevada, home to Los Angeles, with the two premier states which have legalized online casinos, and see how they compare.

Nevada brought in an impressive $12 billion as a state in 2019, increasing it slowly to $14.8 billion in 2022. New Jersey and Pennsylvania by comparison are considerably on the lower end of the income revenue, coming in at $3.47 and $3.41 billion respectively in 2019. However, they saw a total growth of 50.14% AND 52.49% each, bringing their totals to $5.2 billion per state.

What does this show us? That online gambling can tap into a seemingly dormant source of revenue that land-based casinos, for one reason or another, simply are not.

For this reason, we can see that in terms of pure revenue, the online sphere is an excellent source to divulge into, and with proper legislation, can see huge rewards for the individuals daring enough to venture into this brave new world.

How is it in Africa?

Coming back to Africa, there are 2 types of countries when it comes to the legislation. There are those that are not legislated or not properly handled, and there are those that are. While both situations have certain advantages and disadvantages, already, one can see a difference in the performance of the countries where proper legislation is made, versus those that are lacking in this aspect.

For this, we shall look at Nigeria as our stand in for poor legislation, and Tanzania as our pioneer in that world.

Nigeria’s gambling ban was lifted in 2004, and allowed for many investors to take their share in the most populous and highest GPD nation in Africa. Unsurprisingly, Nigeria also has the largest gambling market in the continent, reaching 7% of the continental total. However, it is regrettable to note that online gambling is not regulated at the federal level, which is causing issues with regards to who has jurisdiction on collecting licensing fees.

Tanzania in contrast is streamlining this, with legislation introduced in 2012, and then being revised in 2019. This has led to a rapid increase in online gambling, as well as high tech solutions, such as an API to record bets placed in online platforms.

There is no doubt that the economic climate in Africa is ripe for this budding sector. Taking examples from America, we can see that this economic source can keep even smaller gaming economies competitive with world renowned ones, and if we look at Africa itself, we can see how proper legislation can help foster and grow this economy to a truly incredible source of wealth for the country overall.


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