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Sports Betting in African Countries

  Africans love sports, more so football. Different sporting events are not only an entertainment opportunity but also a time to make some m...


Africans love sports, more so football. Different sporting events are not only an entertainment opportunity but also a time to make some money from betting. There are different kinds of online sportsbooks that smart Africans are known to be making decent money from.

Just like anywhere else in the world, there are some countries that gamble more than others in Africa. Generally, African gambling can be split into three sections as far as the legality of gambling is concerned:

       Legal – Countries where casinos and betting companies gamble based on existing laws.

       Unregulated – Countries where authorities do not ban gambling, but there is no legal framework for gambling.

       Banned – Countries where any form of gambling and sports betting is prohibited under law.

The concept of religion plays a central role as far as sports betting regulation is concerned. For instance, in a country such as Sudan, where there are more religious people than Morocco, you are less likely to find devoted gamblers. Strict lawmakers also play a pivotal role as far as gambling is concerned.

Generally, sports betting in Africa takes unique turns depending on which African country you are conversing about. Keep reading this detailed guide about betting in African countries to learn more.

The popularity of sports betting in Africa is something that no one can underestimate. Figures released by GeoPoll tell it all. It is estimated that 54 percent of the youth in Sub-Saharan have tried some form of gambling, mainly sports betting. Kenya alone accounts for 2 million people having attempted mobile-based sports. These are individuals aged between 21 and 40. That explains why Kenya's minister for Interior Security refers to sports gambling as "a curse on youth."

The Scope of Legislation of Sports Betting

To give you an idea of how pervasive sports gambling has become in Africa, just look at your favorite soccer team jersey, and you will have your answer. Most English Premier League teams wear uniforms with betting companies' logos for increased visibility. In the past, a sports betting company in Kenya called SportPesa was reported to have paid 10 million USD as part of a sponsorship agreement with Hull City. SportPesa also entered into a sponsorship partnership with Everton to the tune of 12.5 million USD.

Amid all these monies involved in the activity, one is sure to wonder about the existence of any legal ramifications. No single expert can confidently state that they have a comprehensive assessment of the gambling laws throughout Africa. That's because Africa is the second-largest continent worldwide in terms of landmasses and population size.

Imagine trying to fit all the 54 African countries under a single categorization despite each of these having its own governance systems and the rule of law?

Regional Sports Betting Differences

As briefly mentioned above, Africans face significant differences in their approaches to sports betting based on different regions. For instance, in Sudan, most people abide by Islamic law, which is against any form of gambling. Individuals who are caught wagering on different sporting events, including card games, are subjected to strict punishment, mainly public lashing.

If you were to go a few miles from Sudan to East Africa, you meet Kenya gambling is more supported and has clear regulatory laws for sports betting. The country boasts of up to 13 fully operational casinos that compete for the available market share. There is also a fledgling online casino industry in addition to the brick-and-mortar sportsbooks that are operated mainly by foreigners.

In Kenya's capital city, Nairobi, gambling is viewed as a way to entice tourists, as millions openly engage in sports without any fear of legal implications. In any case, there are no specific laws that prohibit citizens from betting. Thus, you will find many enthusiastically betting for their favorite football clubs on major sporting events. Betting companies normally run some of the most sophisticated campaigns both online and offline in an effort to lure more people to their platforms.

The issue of colonization seems to have had a significant impact on the way sports betting developed in each of the African countries. Typically, betting regulation in these countries features a mixture of both local and European customs.

For instance, Morocco is heavily influenced by the French colonizers, and the outlook of sports betting can be seen to have picked on these influences. That is why the majority of the people play roulette online for money, mainly the French variant.

Owing to the diversity demonstrated by different African countries on the issue of sports betting, the continent is best examined by breaking it into different regions/countries. This breakdown may not capture everything, but it attempts to shed more light on what it is like gambling in Africa.


Kenya has the second-highest casinos count in Africa, currently standing at 13 establishments. A PWC report estimated that the country recorded gambling revenue to the tune of 15 million USD in 2014. This is a figure that has continued to increase year over year.

As far as legislation is concerned, most laws are passed to generate the operations of gambling companies in the country. Citizens do not face any legal restrictions related to gambling.

South Africa

South Africa is the king of gambling in Africa. The country has indeed had a long history of attempting to ban sports betting over the years, the majority of which came to effect under brutal British rule.

With the increased restrictions of gambling during the colonial era that ended just a few decades ago, South Africans were forced to create their private casinos and card clubs. By the time democracy was installed in 1994, it was believed that the country has as many as 2,000 illegal gambling houses.

Efforts to streamline everything led to the issuance of 40 gambling licenses to various casinos and horse racing tracks. The country proceeded to create the National Gaming Board, whose mandate is to oversee the gambling industry.

Today, sports betting continues to thrive in South Africa across various cities and towns. PWC estimated the industry to have generated revenue to the tune of 1 billion USD in 2014.


A conversation about gambling in Morocco is incomplete without mentioning the Casino de Marrakech, which has been operating since 1952. It is the most venerable gambling venue in Africa.

As much as Morocco is predominantly an Islamic country (90%), the country considers gambling to be a legal activity based on a 2002 declaration. Since the Islamic Moroccans do not practice gambling, sports betting here is more of a tourist attraction activity.

Besides the grand old casino, the country has seen the emergence of eight modern casino resorts. These offer different games, including roulette, baccarat, blackjack, slot machines, and poker. The government also takes part in the betting initiatives by supervising a national lottery that dates back to 1972.

Summarizing the legal scope of sports betting in Africa, whatever happens in each country in Africa boils down to its cultures, customs, and religions. Most Muslim countries on the continent have established strict anti-gambling laws that prohibit citizens from engaging in the activity. On the other hand, many other African countries have various forms of legal gambling activities. The common challenge that the majority of these countries face has to do with ensuring the economy benefits from sports betting.

Betting on Sports in Nigeria - Is It Legal or not?

You will notice that we did not discuss Nigeria in the above section, where we looked into how gambling compares across some African countries. That's because we sort to have that discussion in this section.

So far, we have seen that most African countries regulate gambling based mainly on their religious values. But what happens in a situation where the country's religious makeup is intermixed, as is the case in Nigeria?

Undoubtedly, there must be a compromise, as Nigeria has shown. Sports betting in Nigeria is regulated by the National Lottery Regulatory Commission. A 1992 Act defines legal and illegal games. The legal games include:


       Sports betting

       Land-based casino

Dice games, roulette, fish table games and non-skilled card games are considered illegal.

There are also strict legal provisions that regulate slot machines. Only licensed operators are allowed to run such games.

Nigeria has three operational casinos, two of which are in the capital city of Abuja and one in Lagos.

The country continues to register significant revenue from sports betting, valued at 33 million USD in 2014 by PWC.

Are Sports Betting Beneficial to African Countries' Economies?

While evaluating the legal scope of sports betting in some of the African countries mentioned above, you saw that the evaluation also included revenue generated by the industry. Generally, sports betting can be of significant benefit to the African economies, provided the activity is regulated.

During the introduction, we gave you a snippet of the extent to which sports betting companies are willing to go to gain visibility. We mentioned how SportPesa, one of the once-leading gambling sites in Kenya, sponsored English Premier League clubs to the tune of millions of dollars. That raises one important question – are these betting companies using Africa as a source of revenue and investing the same in foreign countries?

Undoubtedly, the amount of money that SportPesa spent on Everton ad Hull City as a sponsorship package helped give the betting company more visibility. From a business perspective, the company benefited from the increased visibility offered by such sponsorships. However, the fact remains that revenue generated from an African country was invested in a foreign country. The extent to which these millions of USD impacted the economy remains unmeasured.

The gambling industry in African countries is well-endowed. South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya were projected to be worth 37 billion USD as far as gambling is concerned. Nigeria is said to be spending as much as 5 million per day on sports betting. Most of those spending this amount of money are unemployed or underemployed young people and normally stake an average of 8.40 USD per day.

Many of the proponents of sports betting argue that the activity has helped create jobs for thousands of previously unemployed youths. This is a true argument since running a successful gambling company requires these firms to employ thousands of people across the country. They employ agents who run parlors in communities without a stable internet connection. There are also "sports analysts" who make money from analyzing games and advising others on how to go about their bets.

As far as taxation is concerned, this activity is a source of revenue for the government. There are different angles from which the government gets money just from individuals engaging in the activity. A straightforward approach has to do with the direct taxation on the betting companies. Additionally, gamers pay more taxes every time they pay for their bets via mobile money.

It is important to note that high taxes have been imposed as a way to regulate the activity.

There are also arguments that sports betting is one of the main reasons for the increased uptake of mobile phones and mobile money. Since these betting companies are based online, individuals are forced to purchase smartphones to facilitate their gambling endeavors. However, the absence of sufficient data to support this claim makes it questionable.

Sports Betting Options in Africa

       Teasers – Sports betting option in which the gambler is expected to choose two or more events that would likely take place. The player only wins the bet after each of the selected events wins.

       Parlays – Parlays are often implemented as low-risk, a high-reward opportunity where the player leverages their sports betting knowledge for a bigger opportunity.

       Prop bets – These are bets that are not tied to the outcome, and you can use them when betting for particular aspects of the game.

       Point spreads – This option often shows up when betting on football and basketball. It essentially evens the odds on the two teams such that the bettor can support both teams with even chances of winning.

       Over/under – Involves predicting a number for a statistic in the game in question. The bettor predicts that the actual number, e.g., game scores, will be higher or lower.

How to Choose the Best Sports Betting Platform?

Africans have access to a variety of sports betting platforms, leaving them confused over which platform best works for them. Luckily, there are some guiding factors to consider when deciding on the most reliable sports betting casino.

1.     Availability and reliability

Whichever country you are from, there are some casinos that are known to have been around for a long time and have registered a high availability rating. These platforms are easily accessible online with minimal downtime issues. You can rely on this availability so that you gamble with peace of mind. The last thing you want as a gambler is to keep getting frustrated or worried that the casino can go out of the market any second.

2.     Betting features

The best sports betting platform is one that gives you access to a variety of features to enhance the whole experience. Not only should it have a variety of teams to choose from, but it also should support multiple payment options to make it easy to deposit betting funds or to cash out. Additionally, you should be able to see comprehensive stats on the player and team stats alongside other guides.

3.     Betting markets

Most sports betting sites normally perform better in particular markets and poor in others. Always aim at choosing a betting platform that gives you a variety of markets to consider. Evaluate the site to understand how it covers each sport.

Focus on the extent to which it goes to offer an above-average experience. In this case, your interest would be drawn to things like player props, team props, game props, team futures, player rewards, and other endless possibilities. Today, it is possible to bet on pretty much anything. Do not settle for less.

4.     Customer support

The best betting site understands that players can get stuck any second and would need assistance. Thus, they have a customer support desk available 24/7 to respond to queries promptly. Focus on a betting site that has different contact methods, including the possibility to reach them via social media.

Please keep in mind that when starting at a betting site, things often appear too easy, and you may not care much about their support desk. However, as you get deeper into betting, different issues can come up, and that's when you realize the significance of the support desk. If you do not get support, you will definitely become frustrated and waste time/effort looking for an alternative.

5.     Sports coverage

The betting site may cover at least one of the major leagues. However, being able to bet on different sports available at home and abroad is something you should not ignore. A betting site with a variety of sports means it is well-rounded, and you would not miss out on given games. Imagine planning to stake on certain games, only to find that your site does not list them. Additionally, what would happen when your favorite sport is off-season, and you do not have more games to bet on?

6.     Live betting

Live betting is one of the most intriguing betting features that most gamers have not had an opportunity to explore. It allows you to bet as the action unfolds. How impressive can that be? You may want to choose a betting site that has such a feature. As you do so, take note of the fluctuating odds to help determine when to call the game and when to retain a winning bet.

Sports Betting vs. Online Casino Betting

Sports betting and online casino betting are two different activities. However, they share various similarities.

For starters, the two are forms of gambling, and they are found in casinos.

However, they also differ in distinct ways and could present some people challenges on which gambling option to choose. Here is a look at how sports betting and online casino betting compare to help you make a comprehensive choice.

1.     Long-term profits

When looking into online casino gambling, you may find the thrill that these games offer to be quite captivating. However, you have a house edge to deal with. The house advantage technically reduces your profits so that the casino can stay in business for a long time.

On the other hand, sports betting gives you a realistic shot of the amount of money you can potentially win. Instead of you trying to beat the house edge, you just set enough bets for your desired win.

Okay, the high number of bets you may have to place sounds more awful than a house edge, but it is not entirely the same. In sports gambling, you could potentially get long-term profits as opposed to casino gambling.

2.     Game strategy

Not all casino games require strategy, and even those with strategy have a limit to how far you can strategize. For example, slot machines do not need any strategy. You just spin the wheel and hope lady luck is on your side.

Blackjack stands out since you have to generate an extensive strategy. However, it has a catch where you can use a blackjack strategy chart and begin playing like an expert once you master it.

When it comes to sports betting, strategizing is part and parcel of the whole experience. There are no charts that guide making perfect decisions. You have to evaluate previous games and compare them to current circumstances to decide which side has better chances of winning.

3.     Betting options

The land-based and online casinos present you with different gambling options, including roulette, craps, blackjack, baccarat, and video poker.

As much as online casino gambling is enticing, sports betting offers more options than the former. In football/soccer betting, you can access numerous soccer leagues or boxing each featuring countless games. Additionally, you could explore different wagering options like teasers, parlays, prop bets, point spreads, over/under, and live wagers.

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