Sports Betting in Africa

Stories | 04 Aug 2017

Africa is a very mixed continent in terms of economic and social development. For many different reasons, Africa still remains interesting market for numerous online operators and in coming years this trend will be more noticeable.

Depending on the type of regulation of gaming legislation, grey and black market share could be reduced.

Countries that offer the most near-term revenue potential for online sports betting operators, and  others they should be considering longer term

At this moment, South African market generates the biggest turnover. The reason for that is legally regulated online sports betting as well as necessary Internet and Mobile infrastructure.

Nigeria, as the most populated African country, is already experiencing transition from significant retail market towards online market. According to PWC those two markets along with Kenya will be worth approximately $37 billion in 2018.

Uganda, Tanzania and Ghana can be stated as markets with biggest sports betting popularization.

Current availability of the licences

Africa is pretty unregulated market in terms of licences. Many countries have regulated land-based sports betting while online sports betting still remains unregulated which opens the door for many sports betting operators.

As previously stated South Africa has completely regulated Online Sports Betting. In 2012, Kenya regulated this field by revising its Betting, Lotteries and Gaming Acta. Licence issuing is controlled by government’s The Betting Control and Licensing Board. Other African countries, whose residents are allowed to work with gambling operator using international licence don’t have this field specifically regulated.

Gambia expressly prohibited gambling, while in the countries like Morocco, national lottery has the monopoly.

Sports and leagues that players in these key markets like to bet on, and how do they do it

Africans are well known as football passionate and by knowing that a lot of African football players are stars in famous European clubs. The fact that football bets are the most widespread doesn’t come as a surprise. International competitions such as FIFA World Cup, African Cup of Nations, Euro or Copa America along with Premiership, Primera, Serie A and UEFA Champions League are favourite picks for African punters. All other sports have negligible share in total turnover even if rugby or cricket have some audience on certain markets.

Since Africa is a young market, large folds accumulators and low stake bets are dominating betting patterns. That is the reason why pre-match betting still has much bigger ratio to In-Play betting. However, globally observed, In-Play has globally had continuous growth during the last few years.

Even if online punters have the possibility to choose among the number of different markets, top soccer markets such as Three Way, Double Chance, Total and Both to score are still their main choice.

The great popularity of horse races betting on South African market should also be remarked as well as betting on the outcome of the national lotteries who offer potentially high winnings on small stakes. That is exactly what attracts punters in Africa.

The best options for local players to deposit and withdraw, given the predominantly cash-based economy and general distrust of online transactions

High percentage of the African population does not have access to any kind of financial services. Mostly because of this other payment methods are represented, like payments over mobile phone which have been implemented in cooperation with leading mobile operator. The most famous Mobile Money Platform is M-Pesa with more than 20 million registered users.

Many operators also use their Retail business to enable players with direct deposit and withdrawal as well as with vouchers that have the same purpose. After that, betting can be made by SMS or Call to Bet service.

Local quirks and characteristics operators should be aware of

Of course there is diversity between the countries, but in general, we can mention a few notable details:

–          implement mobile and other less-conventional payment methods &

–          provide betting on horse racing.

Another interesting detail related to Pre-Match betting is that punters are eager to have fast resolve for interrupted or postponed matches.

Robert Matijević, Senior Product Manager at NSoft

Robert Matijević, Senior Product Manager at NSoft, the author of the text.