sports betting in africa

Africa has, in recent times, been on the path of catch-up with the rest of the continents. The rise of the fourth industrial revolution, the digital age, seems to offer her the best leverage to gain recognition. 

One area that strives to meet up with and reveal its significance in the globe is sports betting in Africa.

The sports betting market, around the world, shows no signs of regression. Instead, it has become a part of countries and their economies, and Africa is not left out on the influence of sports betting.

Sports betting in Africa has intricacies which this article attempts to visit. However, we will first take a brief look at the history of sports betting.

The History of Sports Betting

The digital age might have brought and put sports betting in the hands of individuals, but it didn’t start with this era.

All over the world, sports betting has been both a fun activity and a means to earn. From the Roman citizens who bet on the brutal and gory fights of the gladiators, the Chinese kingdoms and their lotteries, to North Africa with the Ottoman Empire betting on horse races, sports betting seems to be as old as civilization.

It is said that sports betting in Africa has been an engagement over 70 years old. Being that old, a closer view of its activities should be an eye-opener.

It’s History In Africa

As previously relayed, sports betting affects the economy, but that is not all. It also affects the entertainment industry, and it also has a social impact, bringing peers together to test the power of chance and allow engagement with each other.

In Africa, the major areas where sports gambling is engaged are horse racing and football. Other areas are rugby, cricket, and other games.

Experts predict that sports betting will be a major factor in the growth of Africa’s economy. This prediction seems to be playing out already.

Reports say that in 2018, Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa made an estimated $40 Billion from sports betting. Other reports have proven that this is true.

According to the government of South Africa, nearly 50% of the adults in the country participate regularly in the sports betting economy. What this means is that one in every two adults are engaged, in one way or another, in the sports betting world in South Africa.

Also, a report from daily post reveals that, in Nigeria, about 60 million Nigerians between the ages of 18 and 40, spend an average of three thousand naira daily on sports betting. What this means is that more than 25% of Nigerian spend more than they earn daily on sports betting.

The above information shows that sports betting is a force to reckon in Africa. The question is, why will this activity remain so?

Several factors will ensure that the rate of sports gambling will increase in the continent.

Factors Affecting the Growth of Sports Betting in Africa

The Youthful Population of Africa. The population of Africa is majorly young, especially when compared with the population of the other continents. Having about 200 million of its population aged between 15 and 24, it leaves little wonder why sports gambling will be a major activity. 

Youthful exuberance, the tendency to explore, and the pull of risky endeavours all play a role in the young people’s decision making, and these factors also affect the decision to see sports betting as a worthy activity for the young individual.

The Love for Sports and Entertainment. The average African loves sports, from wrestling in the villages, fishing competitions, to football, we see sports woven in the strands of African heritage. 

This love is also a major influence on the rise of sports betting in Africa. The thrill of competition, the search for luck, and the excitement that comes with the game of chance added to the love of sports create, for the African individual, a unique package of sports betting.

The Rise of the Digital Era. The digital age puts the world in the hands of the individual. This truth may be symbolic, but the mobile phone makes it almost literal, a fact which is taken advantage of in betting. 

Gambling has been said to be a vice, and if it is so, the mobile phone provides secrecy, a necessary ingredient for vices to be performed.

However, aside from the offer of secrecy, the mobile phone also offers the factor of ease. No longer does one have to go to a specific location to place bets on activities, the mobile phone makes everything easier with a click. 

Also, the digital age offers a variety of betting options, and with variety being the spice of life, the gambler sees life as better and engages the more in sports betting.

The High Unemployment Rate. The high rate of unemployment in the continent affects and boosts the sports betting industry in two main ways.

Firstly, it gives the individual too much time. With too much time on his hands, he or she looks for entertainment or anything to engage the mind. The excitement of sports of any kind draws most people with too much leisure time. 

While in this place of leisure, if it is conceived that little earnings can be made, it will be embraced tighter. This leads to the second reason.

Gambling comes with the hope of luck. The hope that one could win large and have a change of situation is a major reason unemployed individuals would bet over and again on one team or the other.

The high unemployment rate leaves the young people with too much time on their hands and also leaves them looking for any way to make a quick buck. That is where sports betting comes in as a solution.

The Lack of Firm Regulation in the Sports Betting Industry in Africa. Like every activity, sports betting is not for everyone. However, this fact is not acknowledged by most players in the industry. 

From the operators to the players, the regulators seem to have a weak hold on activities, and this leaves it open for all and sundry. With the lack of adequate regulation, the profits run high, the losses run low and the consequences are heavy.

 This makes that the loser today gets blinded by the high winnings of the winner for the day and believes that the next bet would change the situation. This hope keeps him coming back.

In other climes, there are restrictions on gambling, from age, sanity, financial ability to mental stability which keep the wrong people out of the industry and ensure balance. When everyone and anyone thinks the industry is for him or her, he deposits over and again, thereby increasing the ever-growing revenue from sports betting.

Hard Truths About the Sports Betting Industry in Africa

There are many views from which betting of all forms and sports betting, in particular, is viewed; it doesn’t seem to affect the growth of the betting world.

The moral stand against gambling will have some hold on certain individuals, but this hold might get weak when faced with the above reasons people gamble. A young individual might see it as pure fun, and like a junkie, places bets over and again.

An idle man might stroll into a shop to while away time and get hooked on the excitement in the air. In a few hours, he looks for a way to get excited again.

The unemployed might look to sports betting to help him make some cool cash to pay rent, and pour the little he has into the betting pool, hoping that time and chance will work in his favour.

The lady who had a mobile phone and is scrolling down her social media wall sees an advert and decides to try out. She wins and can’t believe how easy it was. She may try again.

The experts were right concerning the role of sports betting in the African economy, however, if it would not serve as a double-edged sword, the regulators need to sit up and do their jobs. Leaving it to the operators to play the role of regulators is as futile as the African tale of leaving yams for the goats to guard.

Most operators are after their gains, and wouldn’t mind who bets. The sports betting industry needs regulators if it would be truly profitable for both the individual and the industry. 

This regulation will protect against excesses which can eat away at the centre and can be done effectively, thanks to emerging technologies.

Employing Technologies In Sports Betting Regulation In Africa

One advantage of the digital age is that of emerging technologies. Employing these technologies is one way the regulators can stay at the top of their game. Technologies like blockchain can track and save activities, revealing the right and wrong, and help promote safety in sports betting.

Investing in sports betting in Africa

Following all that has been said about sports betting in Africa, an avid investor is already looking for opportunities to investment in this newly discovered gold mine. While this is a very good way to think, one question to ask is how to go about investing in this sector.

Like every other part of the world, there are strict laws placed foreign investments. However, these laws are more strict when it comes to betting majorly because of sentimental reasons. Another question is understanding the market trends and projections.

This might be a difficult thing for a foreign investor who doesn’t know a lot about the market terrain or consumer behavior, hence the need to do due diligence and a comprehensive market report .

However, in growing and emerging markets like Tanzania, we have compiled a report on due diligence, laws and policies, and projections to help you make informed decisions. This report will give you a headstart and help you understand where you are putting your money beforehand. Click here to get a copy of the report for a cut-price


Sports betting in Africa is lucrative for both players and operators, and the regulators need to protect the players and ensure that the industry is not abused. The future expectations of the industry’s gain might turn out disastrous if adequate measures are not put in place.

The minors, the mentally unstable, the financially unstable, those under the influence of intoxicating substances, and similar individuals have no place in the sports betting industry of Africa.

The moral holds can only do so much, the regulators need to step in and make the industry clean.

Sports betting in Africa is a huge investment opportunity. Like every other investment ventures, there are policies, rules and regulations that governs investing in sports betting in Africa.

Our firm provides support for foreign investors who wish to leverage on this growing industry. Contact us for inquiries and support about investing in Africa.

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