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Gambling in Africa in recent years - short review

Published: Monday, October 9, 2017

We want to focus today on the aspect of gambling in Africa, not only South Africa region. Information is gathered from the internet, mainly the World Lottery Association (source: WLA. So, we have some summary and prediction of the lottery industry in Africa concerning years 2013 - 2017.

State of Africa gambling - introduction

Mostly profitability of this business depends on volume. Gambling is doing well in South Africa despite the slowing economy these years. National Lottery is getting more and more sales but it's the casinos where the most money goes. Casinos had gross gambling revenues at R 16,4 billion in 2012.

In contrary, the casino market in Nigeria is only a fraction of SA. It is limited because of high cost operating licenses that discourage operators to enter Nigeria market.

Kenya has the most open gambling laws in Africa. Gambling is considered a leisure activity. If you support or not this kind of activity, you can not tell that this kind of activity doesn't give the country anything. The tax revenues supporting country budget are really high.

Overview of Africa gambling market

Our summary covers only SA, Nigeria and Kenya, the most developed markets in Africa. In SA also limited payout machines, sports betting, bingo and National Lottery are included. For rest of the countries only casinos.

So far, South Africa has the largest overall gambling market established. It includes the largest casino market (land-based). It's enough to say that Nigeria made R 310 million and Kenya 18 R million compared to SA outstanding R 16.4 billion (as in 2012). It's mainly because of 37 licensed casinos in South Africa. Nigeria has 13 land-based and Kenya only 3 casinos.

SA casinos have better equipment - better games, more slot machines, and tables. Also has a larger economy overall. Considering this, more citizens are capable of playing from time to time. The fact that casinos regulations are quite recent in Nigeria doesn't help to improve the situation. There is also non-casino market growing in SA. It's fueled by limited payout machines and licensed bingo (for now only in few provinces).

Are online casinos and lotteries legal in Africa?
- All online gambling is permitted in Kenya.
- Nigeria has prohibited online gambling, except for lotteries.
- South Africa online gambling is illegal. The only exception is for online sports wagering.

Gambling market predictions for Africa

South Africa market is quite mature these years and is not expected to grow rapidly. It can grow with 5% annual increase of sales.

Nigeria can be in future the fastest growing country with a 16% increase in gambling revenue in 2017. This is because of strong economic growth that helps opening new hotels attracting investors, business travelers and tourists.

If Kenyan economic and tourism growth will not be busted by terrorist activities, revenue rise of 12% in 2017 is expected.

Gambling in South Africa

We would like to cover the only aspect of lotteries, as it's the most interesting for us - players. National Lottery was established in 2000, and as it occurs by 2012 has generated over R 4,7 billion. It was possible because of the most known games - Lotto and Powerball . Lotto is the most popular game, but Powerball has the fastest growth rate with rising payouts. The lottery is operated on behalf of a government license. This license is given for seven years, so current operator called Ithuba will be holding lottery till 2022.

The difference between Lottery and casinos is that it generates some fund for charity. The agreed percentage of sales is paid to the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund. Money is distributed for sports, art, culture, child welfare, medical and charities.

What's interesting lottery category in gambling will be the slowest growing. It may be because of non-instant play. In the casino, you play and get winnings immediately. Playing Lotto you must wait for the results. Ithuba seems to start fighting this problem by introducing new faster animated computerized draws and a new game called Rapido with every 5 minutes draw - all day long.

Gambling in Nigeria

The situation is quite twisted in this country, mainly with online gambling. There are only 3 licensed land-based casinos in Nigeria. They can operate up to 15 hours per day.

There are many illegal, unlicensed casinos in Nigeria, which are constantly being shut down by the government. They compete with these that are licensed and limit the size of legal income, and taxes.

It is not legal to wager sports too but there are many sports betting sites available.

Nigeria has lottery launched in 2004.

Gambling in Kenya

Although gambling is more open in Kenya, it is promoted by the government and regulated by the Betting Control and Licensing Board. Online gambling is permitted in all forms. Kenya has 6 casinos in Nairobi, 5 in Mombasa, one in Malindi and Nkunda. Totally there are over 800 slot machines and more than 150 table games. Casino taxes can reach an estimated 5 million $ in 2017.