Online gambling is on the rise across Africa and a number of local ex-pat punters are looking to get into the game. Increased access to the internet, smart devices and private computers has led to a surge of new interest in online betting, while sports bets and casino games are fast becoming the norm.
The biggest markets by far are Nigeria and South Africa, although there is a healthy casino culture in Egypt, and Kenya is starting to see an increase in online gaming. Elsewhere, Botswana, Cameron, Ghana, Morocco, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Uganda have all witnessed a surge of popularity when it comes to both casino betting and online gambling, and the laws are quickly catching up.
Business is booming and companies know there’s no better time to step into the trade, offering would-be punters any number of bonuses and incentives to join their sites.
But before you get started, there are a few points to consider which are completely unique to the African market.
What’s The History And What Can I Gamble On?
Both Nigeria and South Africa are well known for being countries where people love to take a punt. Every African country has its own national sporting culture, but in Nigeria and South Africa football and horse-racing are particularly popular – two of the most bet-friendly sports in the world. This has led to the rise of both bricks and mortar and online betting sites, which have grown alongside non-sportsbook gambling such as casinos and lotteries.
Historically highly regulated, Nigeria currently enjoys three different types of offline gambling: casino-based gambling (which is primarily a draw for tourists); lottery games (which were recently legalised for locals); and on-site betting, which sadly sees many unlicensed institutions conduct trade while attempting to hide their status.
Gambling in South Africa is also highly formalised, with the country famously enforcing horse-racing as its only legal type of gambling until 1996. Since the loosening of these laws, gambling has been on an upswing. The National Lottery has an astonishing 96.9% participation rate, with slots and scratch cards also popular.
But with such heavy regulation in place for both countries, the rise of online gambling has brought massive change to existing legislation.
Both countries saw their laws rewritten to factor-in the online sphere – in 2012, Nigeria’s Gambling Commission issued licenses to several online casinos, while South Africa took a much harder stance, placing a blanket ban on online gambling in 2010.
But the demand was there, so it’s hardly surprising that these laws have since been relaxed and there is now a competitive market for both bookies and potential punters in Nigeria, South Africa and elsewhere on the continent. In Nigeria, N1.8bn (£4.7m) is staked on sports betting every day, and South Africa earns on average R22 billion (£1.29bn) in gambling revenue each year.
If you are in Africa and you want to take a punt, you can choose to either go local or take advantage of any number of online sites. The following firms are fully regulated and may be worth checking out:
Where Can I Gamble In Nigeria?
Bet9ja is one of the best-known sites in Nigeria and mimics the design of the top industry leaders. It includes live betting, access to an app and regular statistical breakdowns of events both in place and historically. It covers the full spectrum of local and international sports such as racing, casino and table games and offers virtual reproductions of matches currently being played; although, they aren’t an exactly an amazing replacement for the real thing.
The site is also very upfront about its online security, using a combination of Dell servers, Fortinet Firewall, and a Thawte SSL encryption certificate. There are also no fees for withdrawing and multiple ways to add to your online wallet through card or bank transfer.
Another local favourite, the site is easily navigable and offers full secure online protection. There is an extremely wide range of game types, folding MMA, amateur football, and niche sports such as pesapillo into their portfolio. The site also has a social bent with a populated forum, statistics centre, live bets, and the ability to use Nigerian Naira and USD and fill your wallet through bank transfer or PerfectMoney.
Where Can I Gamble In South Africa?
Sportingbet is near the top of the list locally, with a reputation for being reliable and secure. The site offers a focus on football, featuring premier championship and varsity matches alongside a range of offers and awards which are passed through to users through their online app.
However, wallet management can sometime prove a little cumbersome, with withdrawals taking up to five working days.
Interbet places a greater emphasis on horseracing, soccer, and rugby, offering a loyalty scheme and access to more specialised punts such as tote best, TAB and fixed odds punts. While not exactly the most attractive site on the market, Interbet is known to work to retain its clients, offering a range of top-up options from internet transfer, credit card, bank deposit, and even cheque. It also provides highly-rated 24hr customer support, an online app and regularly updated incentives for introductions and regular players.
It’s also worth remembering that if you’re not entirely sure about going fully local, many large and fully-reputable online sites have committed to accepting play from both countries, including Bet365, Ladbrokes, William Hill and many others.
However! Don’t forget that when you’re using a site for the first time, you should always double-check that your area is legally allowed to make use of the site and confirm that you’re happy with any transaction fees that may be in place.
What Are Some Useful Tips?
Be On The Lookout For Scams: Unfortunately, both on online scams and illegal gambling are extremely common in Nigeria and South Africa and it often proves safer to play with reputable sites that have been fully vetted and reviewed. This may mean choosing ones that are based back home in the UK or regulated by countries where they have long been established and road-tested, such as the U.S. Also, always make sure that the website you are using is secure and has full security protections. You can check your security at any time be clicking to select the top left part of your search-bar. This will display a ‘padlock’ symbol if the site uses the HTTPS protocol and encrypts any data that you send. It is also worth taking extra precautions to update your own security on your computer and don’t enter any sensitive or financial information into a computer that is used by the public.
Remember, You’re One Step Removed: If you do decide to take a punt with companies that are based beyond your shores, remember that the rate of correspondence can be slow and it can be difficult to address any problems if you are not based in the country. However, if you get into trouble, you could always appeal to the UK Gambling Commission, their known points of contact or the local police force.
Local vs. International: if you are taking in interest in local sports and events, it’s worth remembering that international sites will often not offer some of the games or specific match types that may be played locally. While a large site may back events that are of interest to you, locally based sites are often your best bet to get in the action on lesser known games. Also, make sure you remember to gamble safely and always take note of the exchange rate on the site to make sure that you don’t blow your budget.