Remember, just because online gambling and sports betting has seen a surge in popularity and demand across the African continent, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s legal and regulated everywhere. So be warned: you need to know your jurisdiction and the legal issues surrounding it. You certainly don’t want to be fooled into thinking that you are registering with a reputable provider only to realize that you can’t even gamble in your own country.
However, the good thing is, with so many useful resources and online portals available, one can easily find specialized websites like Gambling Africa, where fully licensed online casinos and sportsbooks are not just listed, but categorized by country. So you can rest assured that whichever supplier you choose has been tried, tested and certified as a reliable operator.
What are the current laws regarding online gambling in Africa?
Online gambling and sports betting are currently illegal in 38 of 54 African countries. Most of these were inherited from colonial legislation which prohibited illegal gambling in the country.
Due to its illegality, the industry is mostly underground and unregulated. In Ghana, online sports betting is allowed, but only on licensed websites. In South Africa, sports betting is legal, but only in licensed casinos and betting houses. Also, you must be over 18 to bet online or in a betting house. Outside of the sports betting industry, the legal status of online gambling in Africa is somewhat unclear. Most African countries have no specific laws related to online gambling. But there are some countries where specific online gambling laws have been enacted. For example, in Ethiopia, online gambling is illegal, while in Nigeria, internet gambling is only permitted in designated areas such as casinos.
Online sports betting in Africa
South Africa is the only African country where online sports betting is legal, but even there the sector is restricted by government regulations. Online sports betting is permitted in South Africa, but only in relation to certain sports, such as football and rugby. The use of prediction markets on non-sports topics is prohibited. Also, online sports betting is only available at licensed online sportsbooks. The rest of Africa doesn’t even have online sports betting.
Online casinos are generally the only form of legal online gambling in Africa. There are no online sports books or online poker rooms. In fact, only a few African countries have legal online casinos. There are no online casinos in South Africa and casinos in other countries are generally regulated. The regulations surrounding online casinos are very similar to those that apply to their land-based counterparts. For example, in Kenya, online casinos are regulated by the Kenya Currencies and Financial Trading Authority (CBFT). In Zimbabwe, they are regulated by the Zimbabwe Gaming and Wagering Board.
Other countries have no restrictions on setting up online casinos. These include Ghana, Botswana and Mauritius. In general, online casinos are legal in Africa, but as gambling laws vary greatly from one country to another, it is always important to check the legal information before playing.
Virtual Gaming License Scheme in Nigeria
Online gaming has been on the rise in Africa’s most populous country Nigeria in recent years. As a result, the industry has experienced significant growth, with an estimated value of approximately $3 billion. However, as in Kenya, online gaming and betting is currently banned in Nigeria. As a result, it has led to a significant increase in cybercrime, fraud and money laundering. To address this issue, the Nigerian government has introduced a new gaming regulatory framework. Through this Virtual Gaming License, only a select few gaming operators are granted licenses to provide online games to the public. In addition, the virtual gaming license provides for rigorous monitoring of license holders, including through a real-time monitoring system.
Computer Games Regulations Amendment Bill 2018 in South Africa
South Africa has always been a pioneer in terms of regulating gambling and online gaming in Africa. Indeed, it was the first country on the continent to legalize and regulate sports betting in the 1990s. Since then, it has also actively regulated online gaming, albeit in a limited way. But the South African government is planning to broaden the scope of online gaming regulation. The Computer Games Regulations Amendment Bill 2018, which was introduced in the South African Parliament in March 2018, aims to regulate a wide variety of online games including poker, casino games and sports betting. The bill seeks to impose a wide range of licensing requirements on operators, including minimum financial requirements and mandatory cybersecurity standards.