The last decade or so has seen astronomical growth in the iGaming market in Africa. With recent iGaming legislative reform, improving technological infrastructure, and a populous passionate about all things sports and betting-related, the writing is certainly on the wall.

There is a significant buzz among market experts in the iGaming sector, labeling Africa as the next big thing when it comes to growth in the iGaming sphere.

The growth of iGaming in Africa

Until now, the growth of iGaming in Africa has been relatively slow due to its lack of technological infrastructure and outdated regulatory statutes. The last decade, however, has seen this trend rapidly start to change, signifying to market observers a potential market explosion in the very near future.

According to iGaming intelligence specialist H2 Gambling Capital, the total value of the African online gambling market reached an estimated US$996 million in 2019, showing constant and uninterrupted growth since 2012 when they began keeping records. Based on these numbers, H2 estimates the value of the African iGaming business will likely more than double in the next five years, reaching an estimated level of more than $2 billion by 2024.

Sports betting in the African market

Africans are very enthusiastic about sports, in general, and sports betting, specifically. According to recent research on Africa’s betting market, the sports betting industry was estimated to be worth $37 billion in 2018 and could reach near $100 billion in the next 70 years.

Sports betting in Africa already has a strong foundation, leading some to believe that online casinos may not necessarily thrive in the region. In a recent roundtable, however, Maria Luisa Malfasi of ESA Gaming said that online casinos could and will certainly succeed in Africa, as long as the games are tailored to the audience and, most importantly, mobile-friendly.

Why Africa is the next big iGaming market

Africa is a diverse region of the world that has seen an increase in the quality of life in recent years, due to the human and natural resources of the area that are now being leveraged. Sub-Saharan Africa is currently home to over 1 billion people, half of whom will be under 25 years old by 2050.

Renata Du Toit from Gambling Africa shares his insights on the African gambling market, saying “Although the African market has a long way to go to be on par with the bigger regions on the iGaming playing field, all the signs are there of massive expansion potential and a track record of consistent growth.”

Experts believe that South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda are all among the continent’s most promising territories that generally all have rapid population growth, large national economies, and widespread mobile penetration. These are some of the most important factors to consider when analyzing the growth of iGaming in Africa moving forward.

Influential factors

There are a host of other considerations that influence the iGaming and retail potential of the African market, however, the salient points include smartphone usage, a growing youth population, improving technology, and the present-day adoption of a legal framework to regulate the industry.

Smartphones: The proliferation of mobile technology – Africa leapfrogged the telephone in typical communication advancement and went straight to smartphone adoption

Youth Population: The African region is witnessing an increase in its youth population. Estimates predict that by 2050, Africa will have the largest number of young people (i.e. those aged from 0-24 years) on the planet.

Technology: iGaming, in all of its iterations, relies on a strong internet connection, regardless of the type of device being used to play. The African region has seen an increasing prevalence of high-speed internet connections, especially in emerging economies, that have enabled African populations to participate in the online gaming sphere.

New iGaming Legislation and Regulation: This factor certainly depends on the African country in question, as gambling laws vary from place to place. In many African countries, however, gambling legislation has not yet caught up with the Information Age and the online sphere (as it related to gambling) remains a vague and flexible grey area.

Although this has been the norm for quite some time, more and more African nations have begun adopting a concise and business-friendly regulatory framework, including tax policy and security protocols that are absolutely crucial to the industry.

The rising star in iGaming

Many are calling Africa the “rising star” of the iGaming industry; a previously untapped market that’s full of potential with the makings of the next big market explosion.

Today, anyone with a smartphone in their pocket can place a bet or play casino games — and there is no shortage of smartphones or keen players in Africa. Although there are still many hurdles that need to be overcome to fully establish the region in the iGaming sphere, all signs point to Africa as being poised for massive growth in the industry.