Gambling in Africa is on the rise as of recent, says an expert in South Africa, particularly when it comes to sports betting.
Africa has experienced a surge in players for online gaming, ranging from poker to sports betting. Indeed, when compared to two years ago, sports betting has steadily increased in across the continent. This could be due to COVID-19 acting as a catalyst for the online industry as players move away from land-based gaming. Additionally, emerging technologies in Africa have propelled the growth of gaming in Africa.
Furthermore, research from the South African government state that over 50% of adults are regular online sports betting players. This has also been facilitated by the convenience of mobile money taking over Africa. Nonetheless, with growing interest comes increased need for regulation as governments try to keep ahead of the curve.
Head of Statistics at the University of Venda in South Africa, Dr Alphonce Bere tells the Southern Times(pictured far right) that as a result of smartphone users, companies have seen an increase in people placing bets in sports events. He argues:
Sports betting is more popular today in the continent than it was two years ago. Most African punters have user accounts on international online betting platforms that have operations in numerous jurisdictions. Currently, sports betting in Africa mainly features bets on football and horse racing. There is a lot of interest in horse racing in North Africa that dates back to the 15th century. Africans have been betting on football for more than 70 years now,
In terms of statistics, research from Dr Bere found that roughly 60 million people in Nigeria (roughly 30% of the population) between ages 18 and 40 partake in sports betting online, and the average wager per per person per day was at US$15.
Moreover, football in particular is at the forefront of online gambling in Africa, as sports is ingrained in the culture of many countries within the continent. Yet, while Africa is on its way to become a pioneer for sports betting as most countries have regulated land-based sports betting, there is still a lot of work to be done with regard to online offerings.
Additionally, unemployment is also significant to the increase of betting as people take on the odds to make a living. Dr Bere comments further:
The unemployment rate is very high in Africa. With the entry of foreign and local betting companies, youths engage in online sports betting for an opportunity to win big money. Unlike in developed countries, here you can make wagers with as little as US$1, or even less. That makes the playground more suitable for unemployed people.
Article originally appeared on: E-Play Africa