Online gambling numbers in a steady increase in Africa
Africa has been seeing a major rise in online gambling players, ranging from poker to sports betting. Compared to two years ago, sports betting has gained massive popularity across the continent.
There are many reasons as to why this surge is happening, but one of the top reasons is the COVID-19 pandemic fueling the attraction towards the online industry as players stray away from land-based gaming. Additionally, emerging technologies in Africa have propelled the growth of gaming in Africa.
Research from the South African government states that over 50% of adults are regular online sports betting players. This has also been eased by the convenience of mobile money taking over Africa.
Head of Statistics at the University of Venda in South Africa, Dr Alphonce Bere tells the Southern Times that as a result of the increased number of smartphone users in Africa, companies have seen an increase in people placing bets in sports events.
He further argues: “Sports betting is more popular today in the continent than it was two years ago. Most African punters have user accounts on international online betting platforms that have operations in numerous jurisdictions. Currently, sports betting in Africa mainly features bets on football and horse racing. There is a lot of interest in horse racing in North Africa that dates back to the 15th century. Africans have been betting on football for more than 70 years now.”
Statistically speaking, research from Dr Bere revealed that roughly 60 million people in Nigeria (making up around 30% of the entire population) between the ages of 18 and 40 actively participate in sports betting online, and the average wager per person each day was estimated to be US$15.
Football betting is arguably the most popular form of online gambling in Africa, as sports is ingrained in the culture of many countries within the continent. Even though one can be certain that Africa is on its way to becoming a pioneer for sports betting (seeing as most countries have regulated land-based sports betting), there is still a lot of work to be done in regards to online offerings.
Moreover, unemployment is also a major reason as to why there has been an increase in betting as many people take on the odds to make a living.
Dr Bere further explains: “The unemployment rate is very high in Africa. With the entry of foreign and local betting companies, youths engage in online sports betting for an opportunity to win big money. Unlike in developed countries, here you can make wagers with as little as US$1, or even less. That makes the playground more suitable for unemployed people.”