Africa’s Sports Betting Economy

The History of Sports Betting & Its Economic Potential in Africa

Chris Cleverly
Jun 12 · 7 min read

Origins of Sports Betting

In any sport, there are at a minimum, two competitors. What makes sports so exciting for billions of people is the rush of pride they get when their team or player competes against another competitor, usually of equal skill. When fans have ultimate belief in their team’s superiority, that their team will win no matter what, wagering on these events or matches becomes inevitable. Sports is no longer just about who wins the match, it’s about winning money for millions of people.

Modern Sports Betting In Africa

Sports betting in Africa today focuses primarily on horse racing and football. In Northern Africa, sports betting on horse races dates back to the 15th century, as the sport became a staple of the Ottoman Empire’s North African territories. Sports betting in Football has been around for the last 70 years, since football became the most popular sport in Africa.

Sports Betting Across Africa

Across Africa, sports betting has exploded in the last decade. In the most developed and sophisticated market in Africa, South Africa, nearly half of all adults participate in the sports betting economy regularly. The sports betting market totaled nearly $40 billion combined in Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa in 2018. This craze though is not limited to more established, modern economies in Africa. Countries like Nigeria have a burgeoning industry, even if the average amount remains small on average:

Why Sports Betting Is Prepared to Spread Across Africa

1) High Level of Sports Enthusiasm

Sports are popular globally, but for anyone familiar with Africa knows that sports hold a special place in the hearts of many Africans. While football is the most popular sport across the continent, it is by no means the only game in town. Rugby, cricket, and running events routinely have millions of viewers and fans who cling to bars and cafes to watch matches and tournaments.

2) Population that skews Younger

Africa is first in the world when it comes to the amount of people aged 15 to 24, coming in at over 200 million young adults. This poses a unique opportunity for the growth of digital sports betting because globally, younger populations are using tech in higher proportions than any generation previously.

3) Increases in Digital Literacy & Mobile Phone Penetration

The potential increases in economic activity from sports betting will result from its transition from paper ledgers to digital ledgers and applications. Another reason why Africa is primed for a revolution in sports betting is because of increasing — with room for growth — mobile phone penetration levels.

Taking Sports Betting To Next Stage In Africa

As sports betting regulations liberalize across Africa, and millions of participants join this activity, it is critical that sports betting also become more secure and more equitable, in order to have a true and lasting impact for Africa. There is a new company that is utilizing blockchain technology to bring sports betting into the digital age.

Kamari

Kamari integrates existing infrastructure & licensing with a standardized currency for gaming & payments, and will instantly offer a better experience to hundreds of millions of people across Africa. We are creating a world without borders.

Chris Cleverly

Written by

CEO of Kamari, Founder of Made In Africa Foundation

Kamari

Kamari

Kamari integrates existing infrastructure & licensing with a standardized currency for gaming & payments, and will instantly offer a better experience to hundreds of millions of people across Africa. We are creating a world without borders.