The rise and growth of online gaming in Africa   

For a long while now, South Africa has been known and recognized as the gambling and casino Mecca of Africa, mainly because of tourism and government support. One particular location and popular tourist destination on the North Eastern side of the country – that is Sun City – actually derives the bulk of its economic activity and resultant government revenue from gambling activities.

A previous post about exotic casinos to explore in Africa highlighted Sun City, noting that it’s just a two-hour drive from Johannesburg and near the city of Rustenburg.

The fact that the South African government supports gambling and casino operators as being key contributors to the country’s economy and Exchequer is commendable. Other jurisdictions are markedly different, with casino operators being constantly hounded by government officials and tax authorities seeking hefty sums in form of tax arrears.

And of course it’s important to point out that South Africa’s Sun City doesn’t cater to the needs of each and every gamer or gambler as the place – and facilities within it – is fairly expensive and targets an affluent clientele, not your average gambler.

That’s why for those South Africans without the means and resources to travel north to Sun City to take part in their leisure time playing the tables, there exists a good number of online casinos South Africa which can accommodate them.

You may miss the magical scenery and unique architecture that comes with visiting Sun City when gambling online, but there are still numerous benefits that come with using online casinos or betting from your phone or PC.

First is the convenience that comes with online casinos, which has made it became an increasingly popular and growing trend in South Africa.

A report released mid this year titled “Africa Gaming Market – Growth, Trends, and Forecasts (2020-2025)” noted that most African countries have gaming commissions and laws that regulate gambling, with South Africa being among the countries with “clear gaming laws and regulations.” The report states that South Africa has the distinction of being the first country to create gambling regulation in the continent, adding that online casinos are also popular in the country.

To enhance gamblers’ well-being and ensure responsible gambling, the report notes that several legislative attempts to further restrict online gambling and payment transactions of unlicensed operators have been initiated in the past, even though their implementation has always been postponed and delayed. However, recognizing the importance of the industry and operators investing in it, some of the country’s legislators and regulators at the provincial level have come out to call for a less restrictive regime.

Overall, there’s huge potential in terms of revenues when it comes to gaming in the continent. Industry stats forecast that the gaming industry will record a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12% from 2020 to 2025.

This growth will be the result of key emerging trends in gaming, the most recent trend being the growing availability and popularity of multi-functional gaming consoles, which is becoming common and popular in the market and helping to grow the market for video gamers in Africa.

And even though the traditional gambling industry is facing headwinds, most online gambling sites and operators have reported a surge in activity. Globally, online casinos have also recorded a significant increase in user activity.

Still on the growth of non-traditional gambling, industry figures and projections have it that mobile gaming currently generates close to half of the revenue that accrues to the gaming industry annually.

Also not lost on the industry players and analysts is the fact that Africa has a huge volume of young and adventurous smartphone use who their devices for various lifestyle activities including mobile gaming. This will be a key demographic going forward.

Already, the industry is seeing a surge in mobile gaming in remote parts of Africa. An example here is North Africa where more than 290 million people use mobile phones, with the mobile market in the region generating $90 billion annually.


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