South Africa has made its situation clear for online gamblers: it has restricted the access to its market to operators that obtain a local license and will seize any winnings that its gamblers make at other, unlicensed outlets.
But South Africa is just one of the many markets on the African continent - there are several others that are either more open to international gaming groups or simply have no regulation concerning the matter. Could this mean that they will be a new growth market for online gambling?
The number of smartphones used in Africa is, at this point, well below that in more developed countries but it is set to grow rapidly in the coming years. According to the latest edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report, the number of mobile subscriptions has reached 890 million in the Middle East and Africa region and 700 million in the Sub-Saharan African region in 2017 and will grow by 3% and 6% respectively, by 2023. At the same time, smartphone subscriptions are expected to explode in the latter, from the current 340 million to 850 million in the same timeframe. The company expects to see the number of HSPA- and LTE-capable smartphones explode in the next five years in the area, growing from less than 50% to almost 90%. And this means many new subscribers connected to the global network - and many potential players diving into real money online gambling at international casino Vegas Palms.
But operators will need to understand the particularities of the African market before diving in, Moobifun's Head of Business Development Yahya Wane recently told CalvinAyre.com in an interview. After all, Africa is a continent, not a unique market, and it has 54 different countries, each with their own trends and realities, and most importantly, their own regulations. There are lots of opportunities for online gambling in Africa, he said, especially now that the continent is seeing a massive growth of its mobile penetration rate. And he also pointed out that, now that there is an offer, there is also a market for premium services, especially when it comes to sports content. But there is still a lot of room for improvement in the African gambling market. But he said that if a company gets the right technology - which he considers to be mobile - and gets the right local partners, they will probably have no issues breaking into most African markets.