The African gambling markets: licensing conditions and development prospects

African gambling markets - development prospects

A trend towards accelerated development of the African gambling markets has been observed over recent years. Licensing Gaming specialists shared information on the state of the gambling industry, licensing conditions for operators and development prospects of the industry in Africa.


The modern age influences transformational development trends of various business areas, including the gambling industry, regardless of the fact how far the discussed regions are located. The switch to remote services, tightening of the legislative conditions for the work of operators, the implementation of responsible gambling principles, and much more are the key parameters for the gambling industry development. Africa has its own history of development, cultural characteristics, which, according to experts, are due in no small part to the development of the industry, as well as regional distinguishing features, which are determined by the rules of work of specific jurisdictions.

We have prepared materials on the current situation in the African gaming market, based on information published in government and other open data sources.


Features of development of the African gambling markets

The African gaming market is much younger than the European one, and that’s why some legislative aspects of the gambling industry functioning are under development. Despite the fact that enormous work on the implementation of the European principles and experience in legislation has been done in many jurisdictions, the basis for the development of operators and gambling developers is only being prepared. In order to make the market look monolithic, organizations that join efforts of gaming regulators from different countries (for example, Gaming Regulators Africa Forum (GRAF)) have been established.

Features of development of the African gambling markets

Another feature of the gaming market in African countries is the popularity of the betting segment. Since the interest is spread evenly throughout the continent, the governments of most jurisdictions control sports betting more strictly by tightening the conduct of business rules. Nevertheless, the continent can be divided into three regions, in which the conduct of gambling business is strikingly different.


South Africa

The operation of the law regulating the gambling industry has been revised since 2004. It made the work of gaming operators more complicated. Thus, dog races and bets on this type of competitions were banned. Despite the fact that lawmakers pursued exclusively humanitarian goals, many Africans employed in the industry became unemployed. The key objective of the legislative inspection was to centralize the licensing process. Local authorities used to grant permission for work to casinos and slot machines with limited payments. The new law assigned the competence to the National Gambling Board.

The restriction on the number of licenses that can be granted was the most distressing for operators. Thus, many companies lost the right to provide services in the region.


East Africa

East Africa gambling markets

The gaming market in Kenya is a case in point as regards the Africans being involved in betting entertainment. Hootsuite and We Are Social Companies undertook a study, the results of which show that 11 out of the 20 most frequent queries in the Google search engine are directly related to betting.

“Such user activity is due to the fact that sports betting operators use a variety of marketing strategies for user acquisition”, – the representatives of Licensing Gaming comment on the phenomenon.

Moreover, the study indicates that Kenya is the key player in engaging millennials into gambling. On average, the representatives of this age group spend more than $50 monthly on bets.

The Kenyan government has developed a draft law on the regulation of gambling, according to which licensee companies must provide the state with a financial guarantee of $1 million.

Besides, they decided to increase the amount of fees when obtaining a license to provide betting services. As the representatives of the gambling regulator think that mobile betting contributes to problematic gambling, they decided to restrict the use of communication platforms for promoting business.

The government also developed a mechanism for monitoring operators’ actions in order to track financial flows and the timeliness of tax liabilities and funds allocated by companies to fight against problem gambling.


West Africa

West Africa gambling markets

According to the expert forecast, West Africa is one of the most promising markets in the region. Nigeria is considered to have the maximum development potential. The total amount of mobile betting transactions in the country increased from $420 million to $620 million from 2016 to 2018.



Despite the fact that sports betting operators will always find their grateful users in Africa, there are many difficulties in working in this gambling market, including a high density of competitive environment, the main weapon of which is advanced marketing activity.

“The main obstacle to working in the African market is the trend towards tightening legislative requirements concerning betting operators”, – the experts of Licensing Gaming sum up.

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