A recent article on the AFKInsider website followed the rise of sports betting in Africa, made possible by what it terms the "mobile revolution". The site, which follows economic and business developments on the African continent, published its article "Africa Gamble: Rising Sports Betting Piggybacks on Mobile Revolution", showing just how popular this form of entertainment has become.
Author Kevin Mwanza notes that the availability of mobile phones and other devices has made it possible for people to place bets on sports betting sites from the comfort of their homes, even in more remote areas.
It mentions sites such as Sportspesa, considered the biggest sports betting operator in East Africa, which partnered with regional telecommunication companies to link their product with mobile money services.
"With internet penetration and the use of mobile money growing, other services, such as sports betting, have piggybacked on these to reach a mass market they previously could not access," notes the article.
The article reflects that Africa is quickly emerging as one of the most promising and lucrative sports betting "playgrounds" for gambling companies, especially due to lax laws that are favorable to betting.
A 2014 report on gambling by PriceWaterCoopers was quoted to show that in many African countries such as Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, the growth rate of online operators has been spectacular. Gambling in these three countries will be worth over $37 billion within three years, based on the four year average growth rate of nearly 7%. South Africa's sports betting segment alone has been growing by 21.3%.
The report notes that sports betting companies in South Africa such as Ladbrokes, Sportsbet and Bet.co.za continue to expand their customer base in the country as the popularity of this form of betting picks up. Recent statistics showed that over half the adult population in South Africa partakes in some form of gambling each month, including playing the lottery.
Nigeria is another country where online gambling - and sports betting in particular - is growing at a significant pace. According to a News Agency of Nigeria report, 60 million countrymen wager around $9 million per day on sports.
The article notes, however, that not all African countries welcome the growth of online gambling, whether to do with the Muslim ban (or in some cases, restriction) on gambling, or because they believe that it negatively affects the social integrity of the country. President Yahya Jammeh of Gambia recently said that he was banning all forms of gambling (including lotteries) immediately as it wanted to "safeguard and promote the public welfare of our citizens."