Business in Africa: Top Six Countries for Working in the Gambling Industry

15 april 2021
Online casino, Licensing, Betting
Author: James Burton

Developing regions are in the focus of successful entrepreneurs. Such areas open up lots of new perspectives for the entertainment industry. Africa is one of these markets. The region has many advantages.

Let us take a look at the strengths of this continent as a whole and get acquainted with the benefits of particular African countries.

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The Features of the Target Region

Gambling business in Africa: features of the region

The key to the success of any industry is the relevance of some products and services. One of the main factors influencing the demand for a business in a particular region is the number of potential consumers.

The growth rate of the population in African countries significantly exceeds the indicators of Asian and Latin American states:

  1. Africa — 2.7%.
  2. Asia — 1.2%.
  3. Latin America — 0.9%.

These figures indicate that the number of people interested in online entertainment services will continue to grow. It is an essential advantage of this region.

Another favourable factor affecting the development of the gambling industry is the popularisation of the mobile gambling format. Residents of some remote areas have gained access to high-quality mobile Internet relatively recently. This occasion influenced the evolution of the virtual industry.

Experts notice that in 2019, about 44% of the overall African online traffic came from smartphones. The number of mobile device users is over 270 million. Specialists predict that these indicators will continue to grow in the coming years. It is expected that the number of Africans using smartphones as the main internet communication device will be 475 million. It means it will increase by more than one and a half times.

The continent includes 62 countries. Analysts identify 6 promising states in terms of conducting gambling businesses. They bring big revenues to operators.

Top prospective African countries:

  1. South Africa — 48% of the gambling industry's annual income.
  2. Morocco — 9%.
  3. Nigeria — 7%.
  4. Kenya — 4%.
  5. Egypt — 3%.
  6. Ghana — 1%.
  7. Other states — 28%.

The Entertainment Business in South Africa

Let us check out some important statistics:

  • the total population of the country is 58.6 million people;
  • men — 48.7%;
  • women — 51.3%.

The age structure of the population:

  • people who are 15–24 years old — 17.24%;
  • citizens of South Africa aged 25 to 54 — 42.05%.

Most gamblers from this country are men. However, a substantial part of the female population also has a rather positive attitude towards the iGaming business.

An important role in this market is played not by gender, but by the age of gamblers. A large percentage of the country's population is represented by young people. The target audience of casino and bookmaker operators are citizens aged 25 to 54 years. As a rule, such gamers have stable incomes. They visit virtual entertainment resources regularly.

Land-based casinos and betting establishments are allowed in this country. Their activities are monitored by the National Gambling Board. Working in the online segment is possible with an international licence.

The most lucrative types of gambling business in South Africa are as follows:

  • casino games (roulette, poker, etc.) — about 40% of the annual profit of the entertainment industry;
  • bookmaker projects — 24%;
  • lotteries — 10%;
  • slot machines — 9%;
  • bingo — 5%.

Most often users from this state apply such payment methods as:

  • plastic cards;
  • bank transfers;
  • electronic wallets.

The Gambling Industry in Nigeria

Consider the main statistical indicators characterising this state:

  • the population of the county is 206 million people;
  • urban residents — 52%;
  • women — 50.7%;
  • men — 49.3%.

The age composition of the population:

  • residents of Nigeria who are 15–24 years old — 20.27%;
  • citizens aged 25 to 54 years — 30.06%.

Nigeria has a huge population. In addition, the majority of residents are city dwellers with a stable, fairly high income.

The most in-demand types of the entertainment business in Nigeria are as follows:

  • bookmaker activities — 55% of the gambling industry’s revenue per year;
  • casino card games, roulette, dice, etc. — 14 %;
  • lotteries — 31%.

Offline establishments can operate without hindrance. The land-based sector is controlled on the national and regional levels by such bodies as the National Lottery Regulatory Commission and the Lagos State Lottery Board. To work in the virtual field, an operator has to obtain the appropriate permission in any offshore jurisdiction.

Like South Africans, local gamers prefer to use traditional payment methods: bank transfers and cards, as well as electronic systems. At the same time, various mobile financial instruments are very popular here.

The Characteristics of the Gaming Field in Kenya

Take a closer look at the statistics:

  • the population of the country is 46.7 million citizens;
  • residents of cities — 27.3%;
  • men — 49.3%;
  • women — 50.7%;

The age structure:

  • people who are 15–24 years old — 20.45%;
  • Kenyan residents aged 25 to 54 — 33.75%.

A significant percentage of the population is young people. This is an important benefit for entrepreneurs wanting to start their businesses here.

As in the case with previous countries, work in the online segment is possible subject to obtaining an international licence. Offline activities are permitted. The sector is regulated nationally by the Betting Control and Licensing Board.

The most profitable areas are:

  • bookmaker business — 70% of the annual entertainment industry’s revenue;
  • casino — 20%;
  • lottery draws —8%;
  • bingo — about 2%.

Kenyans use the national mobile payment service M-Pesa.

The Entertainment Sphere in Ghana

African gambling: entertainment sphere in Ghana

This country has the following characteristics:

  • population — 30.42 million citizens;
  • urban residents — 56.7%;
  • men — 50.7%;
  • women — 49.3%;

The age structure of the population:

  • residents who are 15–24 years old — 18.64%;
  • citizens aged 25 to 54 — 34.27%.

This state provides an opportunity to obtain a licence for almost all types of gambling business: betting, online casinos, land-based establishments, etc. To do this, it is necessary to contact the Ghana Gaming Commission. Besides, lots of foreign operators work in Ghana under international permits.

The country has a large population. It is noteworthy that most of the citizens are urban residents. Visiting gambling establishments, as well as using virtual gambling services, is allowed from the age of 18.

The local entertainment market is represented by a wide variety of areas. Here are the most lucrative ones:

  • casino games (roulette, poker, etc.) — 74% of the annual profit of the entertainment field;
  • bookmaker establishments — 12%;
  • slot machines — 6%;
  • lotteries — 3%;
  • bingo — 8%.

Ghanaians prefer mobile gambling. Therefore, they use payment applications for smartphones: Airtel Money and Ecobank. Moreover, the Speedpay check payment system is highly sought here.

The Gambling Environment of Tanzania

The state is marked by the following indicators:

  • population — 61.2 million people;
  • residents of cities — 35.2%;
  • women — 50%;
  • men — 50%.

The age composition of the population:

  • citizens who are 15–24 years old — 20.39%;
  • people aged 25 to 54 — 30.31%.

To operate in the Tanzanian market, it is required to get a licence from the local regulator — the Gambling Board of Tanzania. It is worth noting that this country was the first to legalise the gambling business in the East African region.

The most widespread type of gambling here is sports betting. Nevertheless, the market is actively developing. It provides all the necessary opportunities for the popularisation of other entertainment industry’s fields. Most often, Tanzanians use the Airtel Money mobile payment system.

The Prospects of the iGaming Market in Uganda

This state is characterised by such statistical indicators:

  • population — 44.27 million citizens;
  • city residents — 25%;
  • men — 50.5%;
  • women — 49.5%.

The age structure:

  • citizens who are 15–24 years old — 20.25%;
  • residents aged 25 to 54 — 26.24%.

The percentage of the urban population in Uganda is not very high. Nonetheless, a lot of young potential customers and the popularity of mobile gambling allow operators to succeed in this market.

About 45% of the country's male population use the services of virtual entertainment resources and visit land-based gaming and bookmaker clubs.

The online sector is not regulated by the state. The activities of offline gaming and bookmaker establishments are controlled by The National Gaming Board Uganda.

Here are the most profitable fields:

  • betting business — 46% of the entertainment industry's annual profit;
  • casino games (roulette, poker, etc.) — 23%;
  • slot machines — 24%;
  • bingo — 6%;
  • lottery draws — 2%.

Residents of Uganda use bank cards, the Airtel Money mobile payment system, as well as e-wallets Neteller and Skrill.

The Perspectives and Potential Challenges for Operators

When considering the example of the above countries, we can see that the African region provides numerous opportunities for the development of gaming projects. At the same time, novice operators may face some difficulties.

Let us take a closer look at the strengths of this market and some potential challenges:


Possible difficulties

Rapid population growth and the improvement of the economic situation on the continent

The difference in approaches to the industry regulation in African countries

The fast expansion of the telecom infrastructure

The search for effective methods of gaining the target audience’s trust

A rather low level of competition in the emerging market

The lack of stable internet connection in some areas

Betting Industry vs. Casino Business

In most states in the African region, the bookmaker area is in greater demand than the casino industry. Despite this, gaming projects continue to attract the attention of many gamers from South Africa, Uganda, Kenya, and other countries.

Evaluate the pros and cons of working in the betting and casino spheres:


Sportsbook business

Online gambling


  • Legal activity in most countries of the region;
  • wide target audience;
  • low system requirements for player devices
  • Moderate level of competition;
  • the absence of dependence on real events;
  • large selection of formats and directions


  • High competition;
  • the dependence on external conditions (for example, the COVID-19 pandemic)
  • The need for constant updating of the assortment;
  • high system requirements for some types of content;
  • a limited number of regulated markets

The Main Things about Entering the African Market

Casino and betting business in Africa: key notions

Many countries on the African continent have all the necessary conditions for conducting a profitable business.

Operators select this region for several reasons:

  • the growing population of the continent;
  • the improvement of economic conditions;
  • the popularity of the mobile format;
  • the lack of severe restrictions for operators.

The most up-and-coming markets are South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Nigeria.

If you want to open a start-up in Africa, contact Casino Market consultants. We will inform you about the intricacies of working in any state in this region in more detail.

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James Burton The Casino Market partner, the owner of the gambling establishments’ network
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