How Has the Gambling Industry in Africa Evolved in the Past Decades?

How Has the Gambling Industry in Africa Evolved in the Past Decades?
How Has the Gambling Industry in Africa Evolved in the Past Decades? Image source: Pixabay

The African gambling industry is huge and grows every year almost exponentially. It was not always a big gambling industry though; it evolved slowly over a period of time. Some of the main reasons behind it are the government and the people of Africa. Online gambling also plays a significant role in this prospering industry of gambling in Africa. Many African countries opposed the ban on gambling and made it legal, e.g. South Africa. We will discuss how Africa has developed and evolved in the past few decades in terms of gambling.

Africa Loves Gambling

Out of 54 countries, only seven countries in Africa actually oppose and consider gambling criminal offence. Their love for gambling only grew stronger in the past few decades. Africa is partly an Islamic continent where gambling is forbidden by the holy text even so they love to gamble. Next to countries like Nigeria or Kenya where you can also bet online on, the biggest proof of that is South Africa, which is the hub of all gambling in the whole of Africa.

This is How it all Started

At first, there was only one type of gambling in Africa, mainly in South Africa, and that was horse race betting. Their passion for gambling started with horse race betting, which was made legal in the year 1966. The concept of casinos and various games (such as slot games, blackjack etc.) that can be found in casinos came late to (South) Africa which you can find more information about on In fact, casinos were not legal in South Africa before 1996 when the National Gambling Act officially authorized about 40 licenses.

The Path to Success was Thorny

Nowadays, we can regard South Africa as the center of gambling in Africa. But it was not always like that. They had to face some difficulty on their way to success. In 1965 gambling with real money was made illegal in South Africa. In addition to that, they made sure that all forms of gambling got unlawful in the country. But four South African territories opposed it and made betting legal again in 1983. At this time, other countries like Nigeria and Angola were not so much focused on their gambling industry. In South Africa, in 1994, a casino company named Sun International started operating in the country after which the whole country made the gambling business legal.

If we look into other countries of Africa, we will see that in the year 1966, Kenya established their first gambling laws under the Betting and Gambling Act. Kenya was one of the few countries of Africa which established gambling regulation authorities in their country early in the mid-’90s.

Online Gambling Played a Major Role

When the whole world experienced the power of technology, online gambling made a debut in the gambling industry of Africa. Casino enthusiasts used this opportunity to make a fortune out of online gambling by providing thrilling gambling games on the desktop and mobile phones for the Africans.

Countries that Accepted Gambling after the 2000s

As we discussed, many African countries accepted gambling as a legal act, but for some countries, it took longer for them to legalize. An excellent example of this are Angola and Nigeria. In 2016 the parliament of Angola passed a bill which aimed to create a state-controlled casino, lotteries and online gambling. The purpose of this bill was to generate massive tax from them. Currently, the country has seven legal casinos, and surprisingly, casinos are the most popular way of gambling for the people of Angola.

As for Nigeria, in 2005 the country established the National Lottery Regulatory Commission which regulates the countries National Lottery. Nigeria has a vast number of casinos, and a big chunk of it is legal. Nigeria has made gambling legal in the country, but they face illegal gambling and money laundering problems, which is why they made some strict rules for existing casinos. The online gambling industry of Nigeria is also blooming, but they have to follow strict regulations, just like any offline casino in the country.


Even though Africa is lagging behind many other continents like Europe, Asia and North America when it comes to gambling, they show great potential as a next powerhouse of this economic sector. We can say that for sure after we just discussed how they showed significant progress in the gambling industry in just a few decades. Online gambling has made it even easier for African people to find access to casinos with the gambling giants knowing exactly how fast the African continent can attain their dream of becoming a gambling powerhouse.