Home Business and Technology What is the State of Online Gambling in Africa?

What is the State of Online Gambling in Africa?

Online Gambling

Online gambling is a relatively small industry in Africa compared to Europe and North America. But it’s a sector on the rise thanks to changing laws and increasing access to stable Internet connections throughout the continent. So far, these are the countries that allow online casinos. 

Angola

The seventh-largest country in Africa hosts a handful of land-based casinos but does not license remote gambling platforms. The country’s lawmakers attempted to legalize the sector in 2016, and their plans are still underway.

That being said, Angola allows its citizens to play casino games at foreign casinos, at least before it introduces new laws. When that happens, the country might allow all gambling sites to acquire a local license before targeting Angolans. 

Benin 

Although a small country, Benin has a thriving land-based casino industry. The state doesn’t restrict online gambling, meaning its citizens can use offshore casinos at will. Of course, it also means Benin doesn’t allow online casinos to set shop within its borders as of yet. 

Botswana

Benin and Angola might not have clear laws about online gambling. But Botswana categorically permits gambling websites to operate within its borders. However, they must acquire a license from the government before they advertise to Botswana’s citizens.

The land-locked country first introduced an online gambling law in 2012. It amended the Act in 2016, and since then, it’s been reaping the benefits of a legal iGaming sector.

Unfortunately, not many international gaming brands have acquired permits to operate in Botswana. But considering the country doesn’t prosecute its citizens for using offshore casinos, these websites welcome Botswana’s players with warm hands. 

Cameroon

Coffee, cocoa, oilseeds and soon online casinos could be all major exports from Cameroon. But that’s only if the government’s plans to legalize online go ahead. Local lawmakers regularly cite corruption as a major challenge for regulating the sector.

There’s also a concern that land-based casinos in the country help corrupt individuals launder money. And considering the potential tax revenues in question, the West African country might want to legalize online casinos sooner rather than later. 

The central African Republic

For a country that’s perennially plagued by civil wars, rampant poverty and human rights violations, few casinos would want to operate in CAR. And sure enough, there are no traces of a thriving gambling sector in the Central African nation.

With the Central African Republic’s government being dysfunctional, most locals can gamble at foreign casinos freely. Unfortunately, most of the best-rated online casinos tend to ban players from CAR to access casino games.

One explanation could be that online casinos don’t want corrupt officials to launder money on their websites. Again, international regulators like the UKGC prohibit casinos from servicing people from countries with hostile governments. 

South Africa

The continent’s second-largest economy has a long history with gambling that dates back to 1673. Over the years, however, the industry has been heavily restricted, with the government only legalizing land-based casinos.

That doesn’t mean you can’t find online casinos for South Africans, though. In fact, some of Africa’s most well-known gambling sites in the world are based in the country. And that comes with its fair share of benefits.

For example, South African casino players have access to bonuses from a wide range of gambling sites. They can also deposit and withdraw money to their local banks. And in some cases, they can access some of the casinos using their native languages.

“Since online casinos still fall in a somewhat grey area as far as South African gambling legislation is concerned, things could change when online gambling legislation is finalised. While it is likely that the South African government will want to legalise online and mobile casino gambling in order to receive the tax and licensing revenue that it can generate, the country may choose to offer a limited number of government-run online casinos rather than allow the current choice of international online casinos that are available. There is also the chance that operators may be able to apply for an online casino license in the future.” – OnlineCasinoSouthAfrica.net. 

DRC Congo

C.A.R. ‘s southern neighbours have a functional government and an established gambling sector. It includes a handful of land-based casinos and a national lottery program. The country’s gambling laws make it easy to obtain a license. But they are not progressive enough to recognize the iGaming industry.

That means online casino operators can’t acquire licenses or get regulated by the Congo government. However, Congolese citizens can create accounts and play at offshore gambling sites without getting into trouble with their government. 

Ethiopia

Although gambling is legal in Ethiopia, no casino has been successful in the East African nation. First off, the government runs the only lottery department in the country. Worse, its laws are so strict that few casinos have applied for licenses.

There’s also the issue of customers. Most of the casinos that have opened and closed down in Ethiopia in the past several years decried lack of players as a reason for shutting down. Fortunately, Ethiopians that want to access casino games can use offshore establishments. 

Ghana

Ghana is known for its fast Internet speeds, excellent business environment and a growing middle class. Against that backdrop, it’s not surprising the local government supports nearly all forms of gambling. From land-based to online casinos—Ghanaians have access to all types of gambling. 

Kenya

Like Ghana, Kenya also permits both land-based and online casinos. It also boasts one of the most established sports betting sectors in Africa. As such, Kenyans can legally bet and play slots or poker at a wide range of iGaming websites. Of course, that includes both local and international casinos. 

Nigeria

Although Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy, it doesn’t come close to South Africa in terms of gambling revenues recorded annually. Precisely, Nigeria collects $40 million against South Africa’s $1.6 billion.

That being said, Nigeria has much stricter laws than its counterparts. The West African country only allows card games of skill and backgammon in its casinos. What’s more, it only has three licensed casinos. 

Zimbabwe 

Despite its decades-long political and financial woes, Zimbabwe has always supported the gambling industry. The country first introduced a gambling act in 2000, then allowing land-based casinos and betting shops.

After a growing concern of problem gamblers, Zimbabwe stopped issuing new gambling licenses in 2015 temporarily. Its ban didn’t include online casinos, notably because it does not license nor regulate the industry.