What the online gambling boom could mean to Africa

The online gambling boom has made a lot of people a lot of money. From modest beginnings in the mid-90s to the multimedia, multi-screen experience that many of us are familiar with today, the evolution of the industry has been incredible to behold.

The industry is expected to be worth in excess of $94bn by 2024, supported by the growing presence of the smartphone in our day-to-day lives and the relaxation of gambling regulations internationally.

Increased processing power and new technology is helping to further enhance the experience, including the use of concepts like augmented reality and virtual reality, making immersive casino experiences a reality from the comfort of a player’s home.

But another catalyst behind the growth of the industry is the technological development happening in countries across northern and central Africa. As more households gain access to smartphones and high-speed internet, the potential audience for the product grows.

Continental momentum

There’s been similar growth in Asia, with businesses from China, Thailand, and others advertising their brand and product in international media, including Premier League soccer games in the UK. Though some steps behind Asia, economic leaders across Africa are recognizing the lucrative potential of online gambling as more and more of their citizens become exposed to it. Of course, regulation is important and governments are working hard to put steps in place to safeguard the experiences of new players.

But gambling isn’t totally new to Africa and small-time betting has been a part of many nations’ culture for generations, whether that’s soccer matches or pool games in the local town or village.

But the appearance of a national lottery, and the continent’s very first casino operators, in 2004 really helped to set the wheels in motion – and three years later a Ugandan company opened Africa’s first licensed sports betting outlet.

That has proven to be the catalyst behind Africa’s own gambling boom, which has seen hundreds of new brands established, offering no shortage of choice – whether that’s people wishing to make a sports bet or try casino live from their phone for the first time.

Affordable phones

The rise of the smartphone in Africa has been another key component in the growth of the industry, as manufacturers turn their attention to the production of more affordable handsets, aimed at citizens of developing countries.

The debut of the iPhone was, of course, a game-changer, but for a while, smartphones were inaccessible to citizens of less affluent countries. However, those days are gone and, as a result, gambling is just one of the industries now within touching distance for nations like Nigeria, Kenya, and Ghana.

The impact in terms of figures is evident. Recent data suggests that more than a third of Kenyans use their phones to place bets, while others hit their local betting shop or internet cafe to enjoy their own experience.

The opportunity

Revenue in Kenya alone is expected to surpass KSh5 this year, which represents an increase of more than 140% since 2014, and the pace of change shows no signs of slowing in the years ahead.

The continent certainly has questions to answer as it tries to carefully adapt to the growth of gambling, but the arrival of the industry undoubtedly offers Africa some incredible economic opportunities.

Source: blacksportsonline.com

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