In recent years, an increasing number of iGaming investors have focused on African markets. With more than a billion people and some of the youngest populations in the world, Africa offers both immediate and long-term opportunities — and the market is still far from fully saturated.
Slotegrator, one of the gaming industry’s leading software developers and aggregators, analyzed markets across the continent and identified key details of the African iGaming industry that investors should consider.
The analysis is also available in video format on the Slotegrator Academy YouTube channel. The educational project was launched to educate iGaming operators, giving them the tools they need to succeed in their market of choice — and some of the markets that Slotegrator has focused on are located in Africa.
The three largest iGaming markets on the African continent
The three biggest gambling markets in Africa are: South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya. Nigeria’s GDP totaled US$441 billion in 2021, the highest figure in Africa. The country also has the largest population on the continent.
Gambling was legalized in Nigeria in 2004, and the first online casino was launched in 2013. Both online and land-based gaming operations are licensed by the National Lottery Regulatory Commission. Sports betting, especially on European football, is very popular, and the rise of mobile connections and payment options has fueled a boom in sports betting.
Participation in the game is high; around 30% of Nigerians between the ages of 18 and 40 gamble daily. Some games, however, such as roulette, dice and card games, are banned in Nigeria.
With a GDP of US$420 billion, South Africa ranked second on the continent in 2021. The size and stability of the country’s economy make it particularly attractive for business ventures, including iGaming.
Online casino games are prohibited, but online lotteries, live dealer games and sports betting are very popular across the region’s market. With no domestic options for online casino gaming, however, players often visit offshore platforms.
Licensed land-based bookmakers are allowed to open online branches. Nearly 50% of South Africa’s adult population bet on sports, with the majority of punters placing a bet at least once a month. In this sense, investors may find this market a great target for launching an online sportsbook.
In Kenya, most types of betting are allowed, and hundreds of new online casino sites have appeared in recent years. The country is a leader in the field of interactive games; Millions of Kenyans periodically visit gambling sites. The situation in the Kenyan gaming market is similar to the Nigerian market, however, due to the smaller population — 47 million people — it is not developing as quickly. Also, not every country has high-quality Internet coverage.
Sports betting, particularly football betting, is extremely popular in Kenya, although recent regulatory changes have led to some major international brands exiting the market, potentially leaving a large gap to be filled.
The evolution of slots on mobile platforms
The increase in mobile internet access is one of the main contributors to the spread of iGaming. More than ¾ of the continent has access to a cell phone, and ⅔ has access to high-speed mobile internet; over 70% of the continent’s population uses smartphones.
According to Ayvar Gabidullin, business development manager at Slotegrator, the trend towards mobile adoption will only increase in the long term. He recommends online gaming investors to pay special attention to platform optimization:
“When working in the African market, your players may have problems accessing your site — the infrastructure is there but the data is expensive. Sometimes a player enters the online casino site but the page takes a long time to load because it’s too heavy. So they have to wait for it to load and maybe pay more for the data, costing them time and money they’d rather spend on gameplay,” commented Ayvar.
In this regard, Slotegrator offers a stable and responsive solution that will be quickly implemented. The new developer platform allows you to minimize the risk of connectivity issues by optimizing the platform for mobile devices.
The most popular payment method
Mobile payments are easily the most common payment method in Africa. Many players simply do not have the option of maintaining an account with a traditional financial institution; in other cases, some institutions refuse to process gambling-related transactions. The solution — as in the case of internet connectivity — is mobile.
Vodafone’s M-Pesa, which allows users to make payments using their mobile contract, has provided economic freedom to Kenyans without access to bank accounts. The solution is popular in all East African countries like Tanzania and Uganda. The most popular payment providers in West Africa are MTN, Airtel Tigo and Vodafone.
To integrate popular payment methods in Africa or any other target market, operators can integrate Slotegrator’s Moneygrator solution, which allows you to add more than 250 payment methods to a betting site in one click.
Moneygrator helps to reduce bureaucracy and bypass a whole chain of intermediaries — the operator does not need to look for payment solution providers and process contracts one by one. This improves the efficiency of payment transactions and saves operator resources.
Opportunities and prospects for the African iGaming market
When it comes to online gaming and improving the user experience on mobile devices in general, the growing youth population across the continent plays a decisive role. Africa is the only region in the world where younger people make up a higher percentage of the general population each year, and the majority of iGaming players in Africa are between 18 and 35 years old.
The development of the iGaming industry in Africa is complicated by uncoordinated regional bureaucracy. However, the positive changes in legislation, the size of the markets and the cultural acceptance of gambling and betting, is a small price to pay.
Overall, the spread of internet access and the widespread love of gambling among the continent’s youth indicate that Africa has a lot to offer, both now and in the future.