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Top 10 Most Gambling Countries in Africa

By Budzh'yun
Updated: Feb 09, 2024
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Top 10 Most Gambling Countries in Africa

The African gambling industry, albeit less mature than its European or North American counterparts, is witnessing a rapid surge. This swift expansion is driven by a blend of economic progression, technological innovation, and regulatory transformations. The industry encompasses a wide array of gambling forms, from traditional casinos and sports betting to modern online crypto gambling platforms. 

The exploration of Africa’s gambling industry offers an in-depth look into a burgeoning market that is ripe for substantial growth. This analysis will delve into the top 10 gambling nations in Africa, offering an in-depth examination of each country’s gambling sector. The countries under discussion include South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Botswana, Tanzania, Morocco, Egypt, and Cameroon. These nations have been chosen based on several criteria, such as the size of their gambling market, the legal status of gambling, and the diversity of gambling activities on offer. 

The Africa Gaming Market size is estimated at USD 2.14 billion in 2024, and is expected to reach USD 3.72 billion by 2029, growing at a CAGR of 11.62% during (source: Mordor Intelligence).

Factors Influencing the Rise of Gambling in Africa

The burgeoning gambling industry in Africa owes its growth to a confluence of factors, each playing a pivotal role in molding the industry’s landscape. This section will explore the economic triggers, the impact of technological advancements, and the social and cultural viewpoints that have fueled the rise of gambling on the continent.

Economic Factors Fueling the Gambling Industry

The African economy has acted as a significant catalyst for the expansion of the gambling industry. The continent’s consistent economic growth, along with an emerging middle class, has created a conducive environment for the gambling industry to thrive. The industry has emerged as a profitable revenue source for governments, making substantial contributions to national budgets through taxation. For example, in South Africa, the gambling industry contributes approximately 1% to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The gambling industry has generated employment opportunities for thousands of Africans. The operation of casinos, betting shops, and online gambling platforms necessitates manpower, thereby creating jobs and helping to alleviate the unemployment rate.

Impact of Technological Advancements on Online Gambling

Technology’s advent has significantly transformed the gambling industry in Africa. The widespread availability of smartphones and affordable internet has made online gambling increasingly accessible to the African populace. According to GeoPoll, over half of the young people in Sub-Saharan Africa have participated in online gambling.

Technological advancements have also spurred the development of innovative gambling products and services. Online crypto casinos and sports betting platforms have harnessed technology to offer a diverse range of games and betting options, thereby attracting a wider audience.

Read Also: Is Bitcoin Gambling Legal in Africa?

Social and Cultural Perspectives on Gambling in Africa

Social and cultural viewpoints have also played a significant role in the rise of gambling in Africa. Gambling is often perceived as a form of entertainment and a potential avenue for rapid wealth accumulation. This perception has led to an increase in the number of individuals participating in gambling activities.

The social and cultural acceptance of gambling varies across the continent. In South Africa and Kenya gambling is widely accepted and ingrained in the social fabric. Conversely, in countries with strong religious opposition to gambling, such as Libya and Sudan, the activity is less prevalent.

The rise of gambling in Africa can be attributed to a blend of economic growth, technological advancements, and diverse social and cultural perspectives. As the continent continues to experience economic and technological growth, the gambling industry is expected to maintain its upward trajectory. 

Dominant Forms of Online Gambling in Africa: Sports Betting and Online Casinos

In the African online gambling scene, sports betting and online casinos are the most popular forms. Sports betting, especially on football matches, has become a popular leisure activity for many Africans. The immense popularity of football in Africa, combined with the simplicity of placing bets online, has led to a thriving sports betting industry.

Conversely, online casinos offer a broad spectrum of games like crypto poker, blackjack, roulette, and slots. These platforms have attracted a diverse audience with the lure of substantial winnings and the excitement of gambling. 

In 2021, GeoPoll conducted a survey on gambling among the youth in Africa, which found that over 80% of respondents declared they have already gambled or betted (source: Statista)

The study also found that football (soccer) was the most popular sport to bet on across all countries except South Africa, where lotteries (lotto) slightly edged football (29.3%)

Read Also: Why Casino Games Are So Fun: 6 Reasons

An In-depth Analysis of the Top 10 Gambling Countries in Africa

We analyzed the top 10 African countries with thriving gambling sectors and created our rating.

The ranking of these countries is based on a multitude of factors, such as the magnitude and growth of their gambling industry, the legal framework that governs gambling, the popularity of various forms of gambling, and the revenue generated from this sector.

Criteria that we used

Initially, we considered the size of the gambling industry in each country, which includes the number of casinos, betting shops, and online gambling platforms, as well as the number of active gamblers. 

Following this, we examined the growth rate of the industry, giving higher rankings to countries with rapidly expanding gambling sectors. We then evaluated the legal framework for gambling, with countries that have clear, fair, and well-regulated gambling laws receiving higher rankings. 

Lastly, we considered the revenue generated from gambling, giving higher rankings to countries where gambling significantly contributes to the economy.

Results that we received after deep analyze gambling in African countries

Long story short, here is our result:

RatingCountryShort Description
1South AfricaSouth Africa stands out with the most developed and diverse gambling industry in Africa. The country boasts a well-regulated industry that includes casinos, horse racing, sports crypto betting, and online gambling platforms. The sector is overseen by the National Gambling Board, which ensures fair and safe gambling practices.
2NigeriaNigeria, the most populous nation in Africa, has a rapidly growing gambling industry, especially in sports betting. The Nigerian Lottery Commission regulates the industry, and the popularity of football betting has significantly boosted the sector.
3KenyaThe gambling industry in Kenya is primarily driven by sports betting, with a particular emphasis on football. The industry is regulated by the Betting Control and Licensing Board. Mobile money platforms like M-Pesa have made online gambling more accessible to Kenyans.
4GhanaGhana has a well-regulated gambling industry, supervised by the Gaming Commission of Ghana. The sector comprises casinos, sports betting, and online gambling platforms. The country’s stable economy and high internet penetration have contributed to the growth of the industry.
5UgandaDespite recent regulatory challenges, Uganda’s gambling industry remains vibrant, with sports betting being the most popular form of gambling. The sector is overseen by the National Gaming Board Uganda.
6TanzaniaThe gambling industry in Tanzania is thriving, particularly in Dar es Salaam. The sector, which includes casinos, sports betting, and lottery games, is regulated by the Gaming Board of Tanzania.
7MoroccoMorocco, one of the few North African countries where gambling is legal, has a well-established casino industry. The sector is overseen by the Ministry of Interior.
8MauritiusMauritius boasts a diverse gambling scene that includes casinos, horse racing, and sports betting. The industry is overseen by the Gambling Regulatory Authority.
9BotswanaBotswana has a burgeoning gambling industry, with several land-based casinos and a rapidly growing online gambling scene. The sector is regulated by the Botswana Gambling Authority.
10ZimbabweDespite economic challenges, Zimbabwe’s gambling industry continues to grow, with several casinos and a growing interest in sports betting. The sector is overseen by the Lotteries and Gambling Board.

Deep analyze of TOP 3 African Gambling Countries

In our analysis, top gambling countries in Africa are South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya.

Have a look more detailed on them.

PointSouth AfricaNigeriaKenya
Overview of the Gambling IndustrySouth Africa is home to the most advanced gambling industry in Africa, featuring a well-regulated market that encompasses casinos, sports betting, and online gambling.The gambling industry in Nigeria is experiencing swift growth, propelled by a large youth demographic and an increasing rate of internet usage.Despite facing recent regulatory hurdles, gambling industry in Kenya remains robust, especially in the sports betting sector.
Popular Forms of GamblingIn South Africa, casino gambling and sports betting, particularly on rugby and cricket, are the preferred forms of gambling.Sports betting, particularly on football, is the most prevalent form of gambling in Nigeria.Kenyans are passionate about sports betting, with mobile betting on football matches being the most popular choice.
Legal Status and Regulations of GamblingThe National Gambling Act of 2004 governs gambling in South Africa, with the National Gambling Board supervising all activities.The National Lottery Regulatory Commission is responsible for overseeing gambling in Nigeria, with regulations permitting sports betting and lottery games.The Betting Control and Licensing Board regulates gambling in Kenya. However, recent amendments have led to a clampdown on unlicensed operators
Economic and Social Impact of GamblingThe gambling industry plays a crucial role in South Africa’s economy by providing employment opportunities and contributing to tax revenue. However, the issues of problem gambling and addiction are on the rise.Despite the gambling industry contributing to revenue and job creation, concerns have been raised about its impact on the youth, many of whom are attracted to sports betting.The gambling industry contributes to the Kenyan economy through taxes and job creation, but problem gambling, especially among the youth, is a pressing issue.
Revenue Generated from GamblingIn 2019, the gambling in South Africa generated over 30 billion in gross gambling revenue.The Nigerian gambling industry is estimated to generate over $2 billion annually.Despite regulatory challenges, the gambling industry in Kenya still generated approximately $2 billion in 2019.

The Future of Gambling in Africa

With a promising outlook, the future of gambling in Africa is set to be shaped by several predicted trends and developments.

Anticipated Trends and Developments

One of the most notable trends is the anticipated expansion of the online gambling market. As the penetration of smartphones and the internet increases, a larger number of Africans are expected to engage in online gambling. According to a report by PwC, the gross gambling revenue in Africa could reach a staggering $37 billion by 2022. South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya are projected to lead this growth.

In addition to this, sports betting, particularly football betting, is gaining popularity. As reported by The African Exponent, football betting has become a widespread pastime for many Africans, especially among the youth. This trend is likely to continue, driven by the continent’s fervor for football and the surge of betting companies.

Furthermore, the incorporation of local payment methods into online gambling platforms is anticipated to stimulate the industry. As more platforms accept mobile money and other local payment methods, a greater number of Africans will have the opportunity to engage in online gambling.

Read Also: Where Is Gambling Legal?

Potential Obstacles and Solutions

Despite the promising prospects, the future of gambling in Africa also encounters several obstacles. A major challenge is the absence of robust regulatory frameworks in numerous African countries. This lack of regulation could lead to issues such as problem gambling, money laundering, and fraud.

To counter this, it is essential for governments to enact and enforce comprehensive gambling laws that safeguard consumers and ensure fair play. Regulatory bodies should also be established to supervise the industry and guarantee compliance with the laws.

Another hurdle is the digital divide. While the number of internet users in Africa is on the rise, many Africans still lack access to reliable internet. This can hinder the growth of online gambling. To address this, both governments and private sector players need to invest in enhancing internet infrastructure across the continent.

Impact of Technological Innovations on the Future of Gambling

Technological innovations will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of gambling in Africa. The advent of mobile technology has already revolutionized the industry, making gambling more accessible. As technology continues to evolve, we can anticipate further innovations in the industry.

For instance, the emergence of blockchain technology could revolutionize the industry by offering a transparent and secure platform for online gambling. Blockchain can also facilitate faster and cheaper transactions, making it more convenient for players.

The rise of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) could provide immersive gambling experiences, enticing more players. These technologies can simulate real-life casinos, allowing players to enjoy the thrill of gambling from the comfort of their homes.

FAQ about Gambling in Africa

Which African countries allow gambling?

Gambling regulations vary across Africa. South Africa offers the most extensive legalized landscape, while countries like Kenya and Ghana boast thriving online sectors. Others, like Ethiopia and Tanzania, have stricter restrictions.

What are the most popular gambling activities in Africa?

Sports betting, particularly on soccer, reigns supreme across the continent. Casino classics like slots and card games also see widespread participation, along with local lottery variations.

Are there responsible gambling resources in Africa?

Yes! Organizations like Responsible Gambling Africa and Kenya’s Gaming Regulatory Authority offer resources and support for responsible gambling practices.

Is gambling tourism a major trend in Africa?

Yes, especially in countries like South Africa and Morocco, where high-quality casinos and vibrant nightlife attract international players. However, always prioritize responsible and respectful travel within local gambling cultures.

How does gambling impact local communities in Africa?

The industry can generate revenue and employment opportunities, but ethical concerns surround potential social harm and inequalities. Choose establishments committed to responsible practices and community development.

Author: Budzh'yun
Crypto Casino Expert
Budzh'yun Zulu has been a professional writer since 2015. He knows the problems players face when searching for reliable casinos and analyzes every site he writes a review about. With a background in sports betting, he understands the opportunities available to successful bettors when utilizing digital currency.