Specialists from leading software supplier and aggregator of online casinos and sportsbook operators, Slotegrator, have compiled a comprehensive licensing overview for online gambling markets in Africa showing it is among the most attractive regions for the iGaming industry.
Over the past few years, Africa has become something of a darling in the global iGaming space. Supportive regulators and enthusiastic players, as well as the increasing regulation in traditional markets like Europe and North America, have made countries across the continent increasingly popular with companies in the online gambling industry.
Markets across Africa have also shown robust growth for a long time. Global circumstances saw the region’s first contraction in overall gross domestic product for more than 25 years in 2020 and most economies have already bounced back and are projecting growth in 2021.
Another major factor playing into the growth of iGaming across Africa is the widespread phenomenon of the majority of people on the continent connecting to the internet via a mobile phone rather than a stationary personal computer. Until recently, online gambling in the region was virtually non-existent because not many people were online, mobile phones have changed all that.
As home to over a billion people in 54 different countries, there is no one size fits all solution for Africa and it’s important to know what is and isn’t okay in each country before diving in headfirst.
BREAKDOWN OF MAJOR MARKETS IN AFRICA
Nigeria is the largest country in Africa in terms of gross domestic product number of people. It, therefore, comes as very little surprise that it also boasts a robust and successful online gambling market. However, even in Nigeria, there is confusion when it comes to regulation as the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) and the Lagos State Lotteries Board (LSLB) each offer their own licences.
Which regulator you choose just comes down to how your business operates and what will work best for the company. The NLRC online gambling licence costs around €4 000 with yearly fees coming in at about €10 000 and 5% of turnover. The LSLB license is cheaper to start at €1 000, but the fees for the first year will rise to around €100 000 in the first year and €20 000 for annual renewals, but they only charge 2.5% of revenue.
In South Africa, the only form of online gambling permitted is sports betting. Online casino sites in South Africa are a bit of a grey area, technically they are not allowed which is why thousands of South African players play at foreign casino sites and regulated by the Malta Gambling Authority, Curacao and United Kingdom Gambling Commission.
Online gambling licenses can be issued by any provincial authority in the country but the Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board are most commonly used because of their efficient turnaround times. The application fee costs around €750 and it’ll cost the same again in terms of annual fees, making it relatively cheap to maintain.
Tanzania is a country that should be of great interest to any operator looking to enter the African market as it is fully regulated and the government is on the top of its game in this regard. No grey areas, no controversy, just iGaming and official licenses.
A license for an online casino or online sportsbook will cost around €500 and operators will also incur a 6% levy on all stakes. However, there is one major hurdle to overcome to get a license, operators need to invest in the country to be awarded the license — €300 000 for local companies and €500 000 for foreign operators.
SOME COUNTIES ARE CLOSED TO GAMBLING, SORT OF
In the north of the continent, many countries are majority-Muslim and therefore all forms of gambling are illegal for citizens. However, certain countries like Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt allow and operate land-based casinos in hotels to incentivise tourism.
The governments of Tunisia and Morocco even operate state-owned sports betting companies, Promosport and MDJS respectively. In Egypt and Morocco, there are no laws or regulations regarding online gambling so there are no licenses available, but gamers are allowed to use the websites of foreign operators.
Aside from Egypt and Morocco, the phenomenon of states not formally regulating online gambling seems most prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa. This system makes it impossible for local companies to operate online sportsbooks but players are still able to make use of overseas options.
UNREGULATED MARKETS THAT STILL OFFER LICENCES
To make things even more confusing, some countries in Africa do not have any specific regulations or licenses regarding online gambling but still offer licenses intended for land-based operators to online sportsbooks.
For example, in Zambia, unlicensed gambling establishments are banned outright but there is no indication of whether this rule extends to online operators. This leads some to obtain the land-based license to be safe, while others just avoid operating in the country entirely to avoid any chance of falling foul of the law.