A Brief History of Gambling in Africa

When it comes to the global gambling industry, it can be difficult to know whether or not it is legal and regulated in a number of countries.

For example, whilst it may be a common pastime in the UK, it has yet to reach a similar level of tolerance and acceptance in several economically developing countries. Continue reading to familiarise yourself with a brief history of gambling on the African continent.

The early years

In order to fully assess the history of gambling in Africa, it is worth taking a look at where it all began. As the planet’s second-largest continent in terms of both landmass and population, however, it can be difficult to know where to begin. In Ghana, for example, the Lotteries Betting Act of 1960, the Gambling Machines Act of 1973, and the Casino Licensing Act were passed as legislation in an attempt to strengthen the gambling industry in the country. This led to players and operators alike benefitting from additional safety and security measures when it comes to the widespread regulation of gambling and a dramatic surge in popularity of online casinos such as 10bet Ghana. In addition, Kenya also benefits from a similar approach to gambling with over 13 fully-fledged casinos, brick-and-mortar sportsbooks operated by offshore companies, and several online casinos in the country available for players to choose from and place their bets.

The digital era

In the mid 2000s, the digital era was well and truly underway and players in Africa were getting involved by logging onto various top-rated online casinos recently made available in the region. In the years since, online gambling has exploded whilst land-based casinos appear to be dwindling in popularity. This, however, tends to be the case on a global scale with online gambling hot on the heels of traditional gambling due to its unrivalled flexibility and accessibility. The rise of online gaming in the region was also largely due to a wave of technological advancements and increased digitisation propelling record-breaking growth and development in the continent’s online gambling industry. In the years since, a growing number of gamblers have turned their attention to online casinos, such as the 10bet Tanzania platform, as opposed to land-based casinos and have welcomed a wide range of globally recognised titles and slots.

South Africa

A brief history of gambling in Africa would not be complete without mentioning the continent’s southernmost country of South Africa. The country is, in the simplest of terms, a leader when it comes to the African gambling industry. It may have had a shaky start with on-track betting the only legal form of gambling until 1996 but by catering to growing demand and interest by the country’s residents, it has established itself as one of the planet’s greatest gambling destinations with revenues exceeding R30 billion in 2019 alone. It is also home to over 47 licenced intimate as well as mega casinos located in 35 different cities with these numbers expected to surge dramatically in the coming years. This progress has led to the repeal of the National Gambling Act in 2004 and the introduction of the National Gambling Amendment Act just several years later in 2008. But as well as traditional casinos, online casinos have also proven popular. As of 2021, there are currently over 30 online sports betting sites in the country licensed by their respective provinces as well as the NGB.

The future

As the gambling industry in Africa as a whole continues to reach new highs in terms of players and revenues, it is poised for big things. In the next decade alone, technology is expected to infiltrate the region in more ways than ever before and contribute towards a surge in widespread digitisation with online gaming, in particular, a discernible future trend. As mobile accessibility expands its reach across Africa, players are also opting to gamble on the go as well as from the comfort of their own homes. This has paved the way for greater opportunities, titles, payment methods, and options for players with stringent rules and regulations still enforced to protect vulnerable players and monitor the industry to this day.

In recent years, the gambling industry in Africa has undergone a dramatic transformation. This is largely due to key legislation, technological advancements, and the global popularity of online gaming. By taking a look at the early years, the digital era, South Africa, and the future, you can familiarise yourself with the expansive history of gambling in the region and predict which trends may emerge in the not-so-distant future.

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