January 24, 2022
Online gambling is a somewhat common practice in most developed countries. Gamers in regulated jurisdictions across Europe, Asia, and America can play real money slots on mobile anywhere, anytime.
But the focus is now shifting to Africa. African countries have been operating in a gray iGaming space for a while now. Add in the fast internet and mobile penetration rates, and Africa becomes practically irresistible to the best mobile casinos. So, this post looks at what makes Africa tick for international online casino operators.
Africa’s fast-growing economy is fueled by technological advancements, with mobile technology playing a central role. According to a GSMA report, there were approximately 495 million smartphone users in Africa by the end of 2020. This represents a whopping 46% of the continent’s population.
Still need further convincing that the smartphone industry in Africa is the next big thing? Well, Statista says that Africa’s smartphone economy has been on the rise even during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report says that Q3 of 2021 saw 26 million new smartphone units shipped to the continent.
These statistics should be excellent news to the ears of the best mobile casinos. It means that the number of potential mobile casino players on the continent is steadily increasing. Moreover, most of these smartphones are 4G/5G enabled, which is a big boost, considering Wi-Fi connectivity is not that widespread in the continent.
Despite the recent internet uptake in Africa, the continent still trails other regions in this regard by a country mile. But there is some good news. A report by DW says that World Bank wants to help the region achieve universal internet coverage by 2030.
That said, Nigeria, Egypt, and Kenya lead in terms of internet coverage. Nigeria, for example, had 154.30 million active internet users as of 2020, with numbers expected to increase even further. On the flip side, countries like South Sudan and Eritrea only have 8% and 6.9% internet penetration rates, respectively.
So, although challenges lay ahead, Africa’s internet connection is expected to grow in tow with mobile subscriptions. Even more impressively is that countries like Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa have already rolled out 5G internet.
Unfortunately, Africa has no uniform approach to gaming laws. The thing is that most countries don’t have laws to regulate online gambling. And those that have are either outdated or too shallow to cover the present realities of the gambling market.
For instance, all forms of betting are legal in Kenya, ranking the country third-highest in the continent in terms of gambling revenues. But, as expected, land-based casinos are far and wide here, so most players opt for readily available online betting via mobile phones. Currently, tens of offshore betting companies operate in the region.
On the other hand, countries like Egypt and Somalia have strict betting laws that make it challenging for players to gamble freely. But to their defense, this is usually the norm in most Muslim countries, especially in the Middle East. So overall, it’s a mixed bag for operators when it comes to gambling laws in Africa.
To conclude, playing mobile slots for real money or any other casino game is now commonplace in a continent that was in the dark a few years back. Africa is currently experiencing an upsurge in smartphone and Wi-Fi connections.
In addition, governments have realized that regulated gambling can bring in decent revenues. Therefore, some countries have even set up gambling regulation bodies to streamline the industry. So all said, Africa is on the right trajectory to becoming a haven for the best mobile casinos.
With roots in the vibrant city of Lagos, Amara Nwosu is MobileCasinoRank's premier researcher. Melding rigorous analysis with an intuitive grasp of the mobile gaming sphere, Amara unravels the intricacies of the casino landscape for readers worldwide.