Online Sports and Casino betting in Africa is a rapidly growing business. It is arguably the fastest growing area of gambling growth in the world and whilst it is fairly new to the continent in comparison to Europe, Asia and North America, it is proving hugely popular.
Whilst there are some nations in Africa that gambling is unlikely to be a hit for economical reasons, the wealthier areas of the continent have bought into the industry. Below we look at the six countries in which gambling has flourished in recent times. These are South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Nigeria and Ghana.
South Africa is by far and away the most established betting nation in Africa. They are also the most robust and popular. The result of this is a heavily regulated nation similar to those found in Europe with countless amounts of opportunities to bet with a wide range of firms.
Betting firms must be legislated or they may be fined etc. Whether this is implemented is all together another issue and it is almost impossible for any of the offshore betting firms that function over there to be prosecuted. That said, South African users of offshore accounts can be prosecuted.
Whilst there are too many licensed firms native to South Africa to name they include Betway, Bet.co.za, BetVictor and SportingBet.
Depositing and withdrawing funds could not be more similar than those used in the established continents of Europe, Asia and North America. Visa, Mastercard, E-wallets and bank transfer are typically accepted with all bookmakers. You may also be able to use ApplePay/iPay and UKash.
Whilst there are more betting firms in South Africa than in any other African nation, this means the quality of some of the firms is not so good. Whilst all of the betting firms websites can be accessed via mobile device they are not always fully functional. The result of this means that whilst you will be able to place a bet via your mobile, in some instances you may have to access the full desktop website to perform certain operations. These include withdrawal requests and live chat options. That said, the major players are fully functional on mobile devices.
Soccer is the most popular sport to bet on in South Africa. However, there are many sports that run it close. Sports that South Africa have been historically successful in such as Cricket, Rugby and Golf have proved hugely popular and gross large amounts each year. Horse racing is also very popular in South Africa.
For one reason or another the laws of gambling in Ghana are somewhat lenient and is available to all persons aged 18 and over.
Technically, the gambling industry is regulated by the 2006 Gaming Act which dicTates that all gambling authorities are licensed by the Ghana Gaming Commission. This does not tell the full story however and the law isn’t particularly effective. The result of this is a number of offshore sports books who can provide Ghanian’s with betting opportunities without paying taxes.
Some of these offshore bookmakers include the established and professional bet365 and 888sport. There are plenty of options, however the gambler should shop around to be safe and read up on which companies they are making deposits with. The established companies native to Ghana include Betway Ghana, MyBet, Premier Betting and Safari Bet.
Payment methods are pretty much the same as those found across the globe. Typically these include Visa and Mastercard as well as popular e-wallets Neteller and Skrill. Mobile Phone based money transfer sites such Airtel and MTN are also regularly accepted by the off-shore and native bookmakers.
As is the case with most African gambling nations, mobile betting is popular. The logical reasoning for this is the fact that mobile phones are far more commonplace than desktop computers. As such, almost all of the established bookmakers of Ghana have mobile optimised sites whilst some bookmakers including Dreambet allow you to bet via SMS.
It will not surprise you to hear that the main market for betting is football. Basketball, boxing and rugby have also proven popular. Rugby presumably due to the rise of African sides in the increasingly popular Rugby Sevens tournaments.
One of the sport successful sporting countries in Africa (namely in athletics) is Kenya. Gambling in Kenya has been legal since the the Betting and Lotteries Gaming Act established the Betting Control and Licensing Board. Bookmakers legislated in Kenya include SportPesa, Betway, JustBeta and Betin (check out our Betin Kenya Review). Whilst the finer legalities of betting in Kenya stipulates that offshore accounts are not within law, they do not enforce this and there is seemingly no issue with opening accounts with companies including Bet365.
Depositing and withdrawing funds with Kenyan bookmakers is simple and is very much done in the same fashion as across the rest of the globe in most cases. However there are some exceptions, notably Kenyan betting powerhouse SportPesa. They require you to deposit money into M-Pesa, a mobile money transfer service. You are then required to transfer money into your SportPesa account from here.
However, more commonly it is the standard methods of Visa, Mastercard and the e-wallets of Skrill and Neteller amongst others. High-end gamblers can also use bank transfer if their deposits will exceed credit limits.
Like all of the countries on this list, phone betting is where it is at in Kenya. The bookmakers all have sites that are functional on a cell phone whilst some companies require you to register using your phone number. Without phones betting in Africa would not be growing at the rate it is. The gross revenue of the Kenyan betting market is estimated to be in excess of $50 million USD.
Once again it is football that makes up the vast percentage of bets placed in Kenya, namely the English Premier League. Whilst grossing a far smaller sum, Rugby and Cricket have also proven popular.
Gambling in Nigeria is legal providing the bookmaker is a licensed Nigerian sports book. That is the best way to explain the legalities of gambling in Nigeria. However, if truth be told you can also bet with offshore accounts. Although it is technically illegal it has been shown that the vast amount of Nigerians gamble with firms based outside of the nation.
However, if you want to remain within what seems a loose law, betting with companies such as Bet9ja, Bet365Naija and NairaBet is your best option.
Depositing and withdrawing money to these accounts is not as easy as in other nations. However, you should still find an option that is suitable to you. E-wallet options are rare but this situation is sure to improve. Native bookmakers tend to accept Visa, Mastercard and bank transfer whilst options rapidly increase with the offshore (technically illegal) betting firms.
It is rumoured that up to 30% of Nigerians place sports bets on a regular basis and this is done predominantly through mobile device. Due to this bookmakers have provided websites that are extremely user-friendly when being viewed on a smartphone. Again, please be aware that in some instances bookmakers will require you to access a laptop to make a withdrawal.
Unlike South Africa, Soccer is streets ahead in terms of popularity for betting in Nigeria. In comparison to the other nations basketball, floorball and bandy have proved to be popular whilst tennis, rugby and cricket also attract high levels of interest.
Tanzania has had regulated gambling since 2012 but has been legal for over a decade. The regulation came hand in hand with the uprising of online gambling and all operators must adhere to the relevant licensing. The Gaming Board of Tanzania oversee everything and hand out the licenses. Tanzania were one of the first nations in the continent to legislate gambling but progress has been relatively slow in comparison to countries like Nigeria and Kenya. There are not as many firms (SportPesa being the main one), however like the nations above there are a plethora of overseas companies that attract users from the country. Furthermore, Tanzanian users are not being prosecuted for using such firms. As is the case with all of the countries, make sure you check out the credentials of all of the betting firms before making your initial deposit.
The bookmakers native to Tanzania including SportPesa tend to accept payment via Mastercard and Visa but not e-wallet (offshore accounts accept these). Tanzanian bookmakers do accept mobile money transfer services that include Vodacom, M-Pesa and Airtel Money.
Bets are typically made via mobile device (more so than any of the other countries on this list) and as a result the bookmakers have ensured they have a fully functional and optimised mobile service for all of its users.
Once again football tops the list in terms of popularity (like every other nation on this list). Boxing and Basketball also attracts much interest as does rugby. However interest is not even close to that shown by Tanzanians in the English Premier League, La Liga and Serie A.
Last but not least we take a look at the gambling picture in Uganda. Strangely you are required to be 25 to gamble in this nation (all of the above are 18). In terms of legislation, like many of the above, Uganda betnting firms must hold a Ugandan license as stipulated by the Lotteries and Gaming Bill. However, offshore firms are again not bothering with this and the Ugandan government do not seem too fussed either way. This isn’t to say that users should just join offshore companies blindly. Whilst the vast majority will be legitimate be sure to check out their credentials first. In terms of firms native to Uganda there are currently 40 registered betting firms. Whilst most of these are by way of betting shops, the online market is increasingly growing like every other African countries.
Ugandan based and foreign sportsbooks all accept Visa and Mastercard. Local banks such as Stanbic and Barclays of Uganda are also normally accepted by way of bank transfer. As is also the case with most African countries, mobile money transfer services that include Airtel and MTN are also usually accepted forms of payment. Unique to Tanzania is a voucher system which gives a unique ID which you then type into your online account whilst e-wallets are of course accepted by the offshore powerhouses.
The increasing popularity of smartphones continues to ensure that mobile betting is the most popular method of gambling and all reputable sites in Ugandan have a mobile betting service to some extent.
Now for the big surprise regarding Uganda. Football IS the most popular sport. That’s right, six out of six on this list. In fact, if we included every country in Africa the strike rate would still be 100%. Basketball is also popular along with boxing and rugby.