Sports Betting: The Rise of African Gaming


Africans are crazy about sports. Football has the most fans. Followed by cricket and rugby. But sports events are not only a key source of entertainment for Africans. They are also an opportunity to win money by placing sports bets. Interestingly enough, almost 40% of the African population is below the poverty line, yet Africa is emerging as one of the most lucrative sports betting markets in the world. As a result, we can see many (smart) Africans making a lot of money by betting on sports and online sportsbooks. Sportsbooks are very popular because they accept numerous payment methods: banking methods – cards such as Visa and Mastercard, PaySafeCard, Neteller, PayPal and mobile wallet based solutions.


Growing the Local Economy

Sports betting in Africa is extremely popular. Recent studies show that over 60 million residents of Nigeria aged 18-40 are actively betting, and spending an average of $15 per day. Similarly, the South African government statistics show that over 50 percent of adults in the country place sports bets regularly. And it’s pretty much the same in the rest of the continent as well.


European and US sports betting operators have realized the potential of the African market and seized the opportunity to expand. Additionally, sports betting companies are greatly supported by local advocates who say that this expansion is good for the economic growth of several African countries because it provides job opportunities for many young Africans and generates tax revenue for the government. At the same time, it enables bettors to make some money.


Rise of Sports Betting in Africa

There are many reasons why sports betting is so popular among Africans. From their love of the sport to the high unemployment rate and lenient sports betting laws. Everyone has a reason to enjoy the leisure-time activity, bettors and sports betting operators alike.


Great Love for Sports

Yes, we said this before but we can’t stress enough how much Africans love sports. Football is the most popular sport, for playing and betting. European football leagues in general and the Spanish, English, Italian, and French leagues, in particular, have African fans in the millions. Other sports like cricket, rugby, tennis, horseracing, basketball, boxing, and car and motorcycle races also have a substantial following and attract a large number of bets. Africans are especially enthusiastic about placing bets on match outcomes such as the number of goals, players that score the most, etc. This inexplicable sports craze is what makes sports betting the most lucrative and fastest growing in the world.


Lenient Sports Betting Laws

It is very attractive and very easy for European and US sports betting companies to expand into Africa because of the lenient sports betting laws in almost all African countries. In fact, South Africa is the only country that has proper regulations. In the rest of the African countries, gambling laws are new and the industry is not yet regulated. All the while certain countries with Muslim-majority have enforced a blanket ban on every form of gambling including sports betting.


Rise of Mobile Gaming

The rise of mobile devices in Africa is making sports betting available to even more people. Now, more and more Africans enjoy sports betting on the move. In fact, the African sports betting operators are using this mobile trend by partnering with top mobile phone operators to link mobile money services such as M-Pesa, Orange Money, and Airtel Money with their sports betting products. As a result, Africans are increasingly using their smartphones and tablets for sports betting, slowly making Africa the first mobile continent for sports betting.


High Unemployment Rates

Africa has a staggering unemployment rate – more than 200 million people aged 15-24 do not have jobs. In fact, several countries have a 25% unemployment rate. At the same time, the population of the continent is expected to double by 2050, and the continent to have the world’s largest youth population. The main reason why many associations support the expansion of European and US sports betting operators and sportsbooks in Africa are the job opportunities they would create, thus lowering unemployment.



The African continent is huge, and rules and regulations for sports betting are still a fresh subject. The 54 countries have different laws that allow or completely ban gaming and gambling so whether you are an eager player or sports betting operator looking to expand, do your proper research on the regulative and the other sportsbooks out there.


There are many factors that influence the landscape. Reputability, licensing, fair play, privacy policies, and customer care among others. But one thing is certain – sports’ betting is on a constant rise in Africa, with mobile betting dominating the market. If you are an operator considering Africa your next target, now the best moment to take your place on the ‘Mecca’ for online gaming.