What are the special features of the African online gambling? Why do leading online casino operators view Africa as one of the most promising regions? Slotegrator’s experts have analyzed the economic performance of such countries as the Republic of South Africa, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Ghana. The following review provides information on legislation, taxation policies, popular trends and the rest of factors influencing the development of online gambling in these countries.

Article summary

  1. The growing popularity of online gambling
  2. Gambling legislation
  3. Gambling taxation in Africa
  4. Future of online gambling in Africa

The growing popularity of online gambling

One of the factors influencing the development of iGaming in Africa is general accessibility of mobile internet technologies. Currently, Internet is available almost all over the world and mobile gadgets are easily accessible for people of all social levels. That’s why online gambling is becoming more and more popular in South Africa and statistical data proves the same thing.

Worldwide known British newspaper, the Guardian, argues that by the end of 2014 on the territory of Africa were registered more than 635 mill. of instances of access to gambling resources from gadgets and in the following 5 years this number will increase by 20 times!

In one of its reports, the Guardian considers this region as one of the fastest growing gambling markets, paying special attention to such economically developed countries as the Republic of South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya.

According to the data provided by the British consulting firm H2 Gambling Capital in 2015 the market share of interactive market in Africa accounted for 0,5% only.

Total share of countries involved in world online gambling for 2015

As for 2018, H2 Gambling Capital predicts already 1% for Africa and the following distribution of online gambling by regions:

The distribution of the online gambling market by world regions

According to the recent report provided by the National Gambling Board of South Africa called “Gambling outlook: 2015-2019”, the data is as follows:

  • the general turnover of the online gambling industry in south Africa in 2014 accounted for $29,6 bill.;
  • in 2019, according to predictions, the general turnover will account for $36,7 bill.).

These indices correspond to average annual growth of 4,3%.

Income from online gambling by sectors

As you can see, according to the data provided by the National Gambling Board of South Africa the biggest share in gambling turnover belongs to casino games followed by sports betting, slots and bingo. As experts predict, these sectors show sustainable growth and this trend is going to last in future as well.

Total income from gambling in South Africa (millions dollars) for 2015-2019

Gambling legislation

All of the experts mentioned above share the same opinion regarding African continent viewing it as a region having great potential. Online casinos in South Africa are developing at an accelerated pace. According to predictions, by 2018 the gross revenue out of gambling on the territory of Nigeria, the RSA and Kenya will account for $37 bill. That’s why authorities of some of the African countries have decided that sustainable income gained out of taxes is totally worth changes in the legislation. Let´s take a closer look at regulation of gambling in the most developed African countries.

The RSA

Online gambling is currently prohibited in the RSA. The types of commercial activities regarded as illegal are listed in the National Gambling Act of 1996 under the general notion of “interactive games”. These include bingo, poker and the rest of games of chance including slots. The only types of gambling considered as legal are online sports betting and horseracing. In order to enter the market, online betting providers in the RSA should obtain a special license. However, land-based casinos have been legal since 1994. Due to the RSA gambling policies, South Africa has 4 big casinos offering more than 180 tables for card games, as well as numerous slots. The South Africans are very passionate about gambling. The most popular type of gambling in the RSA is the national lottery. Around 80% of gamblers are regular participants of the said type of entertainment. The total share of casinos accounts for 11%. As recent surveys arguably prove, around ¾ of the population gambled at least once. More than a half of respondents called gambling as an “interesting pastime”.

According to current South African laws, money won in online casinos are considered to be obtained illegally. Such financial operations are tracked by banks and gamblers are severely fined. However, despite prohibitions and preventive legislative initiatives citizens of the RSA gamble in online casinos and poker rooms. As a result, the share of the black market increases. Taking into account this fact, legalization of online gambling will contribute to the state budget through taxes imposed on this type of commercial activity. That’s why a lot of discussions have been held regarding improvement and consequent legalization of online gambling. The market volume of online gambling in the RSA, according to expert opinion, is quite massive. Various studies state that already in 2014 the general amount of stakes accounted for $1,2 mill. Taking into account rates of growth, the current turnover of money spent on online gambling in South Africa reaches $1,5 mill. In 2015 the authorities of the RSA obtained around $262 mill. out of gambling in forms of taxes imposed on this industry. It makes up approximately 28% of the gross revenue of gambling houses. As soon as online gambling is legalized in South Africa, this number will increase significantly.

Nigeria

Nigeria holds the second place in terms of share of gambling distribution in South Africa. This country is one of the hubs of the African economy with great possibilities for the companies specializing in gambling. The population of Nigeria accounts for 184 million people.

Up to 2004 gambling in Nigeria has been banned. However, since 2004 there were introduced the first legal online lotteries and opened a couple of land-based casinos in Lagos and Abudja. In 2013 the first legal online casino was launched. Sin then online gambling market expanded significantly, though leading positions belong to lotteries and sports betting. By 2018, according to expert opinion, the predicted income out of gambling to the state budget accounts for $60 million. According to the report of the Nigeria news agency, the citizens spend around $11,3 million on sports betting daily, that makes up $4,2 billion a year. Relatively lately, there has been developed and adopted a reliable licensing system in Nigeria. During the first African summit devoted to online gambling held in Lagos it was announced that Nigerian gambling market strengthened its positions and sets an example for the rest of gambling markets of the African continent.

Read also: World’s popularity of gambling

Uganda

Online gambling in Uganda is regarded as a legal type of commercial activities. Among the rest of legal gambling activities one may find lotteries, casinos and sports betting. Gambling is governed by a state law on national lotteries as well as a law on gambling and sports betting.

Currently there exist more than 200 online casino and betting offices. Proper regulation of this sector brought more than $3,3 mill. to the state budget in 2013-2014. According to statistical data for the past 2016 this amount exceeded $5 mill. Since recently, the authorities of Uganda expressed concerns about high levels of ludomania among the citizens of the country. As a result, public authorities are considering adoption of the law on introduction of restrictions on gambling and betting activities.

Fortunately, gambling wasn’t completely banned as long as it brings sustainable incomes to the state budget in for of taxes. The new law aims at cutting down of the black market sector, as well as obliges operators to obtain 3 different types of licenses such as: a license of a promoter, a license of the major Uganda distributor and an industry license. Moreover, there have been made a decision to restrict the access to gambling houses to individuals under 18.

Kenya

Kenya is one of the countries where population faces immense economic and social hardships and its budged is rarely funded because of absence of manufacturing. That´s why its authorities, having estimated the potential of the gambling market and the amount of taxes it might bring, decided to legalize the most widespread types of gambling. Online casino operators were immediately invited to the local market and since then they are paying taxes contributing to the state budget and the economy in general. Despite of the fact that online gambling in Kenya is still at its nascent stage and still doesn’t show signs of significant increase, as Nigeria, for instance, gambling legislation in this country is quite permissive. All sorts of online gambling are legal.

In 2013 in Kenya were registered around 13 legal casinos that brought around $18,4 mill. to the state budget. The right to issue licenses belongs to Kenya board of representatives. By 2018, according to data provided by PwC, the average growth of revenues out of gambling in Kenya will account for 6,8% (approximately $25 mill.).

Ghana

The legislation of Ghana allows all types of land-based and online gambling. There are several casinos, lotteries and betting offices in the country. Moreover, all citizens have free access to foreign gambling websites. However, online gambling is not very widespread in this county as long as not all the citizens have the possibility to purchase a PC and connect it to the World Wide Web. Despite of this fact, the popularity of online gambling keeps growing every year. The most popular type of gambling in Ghana is sports betting, because football is one of the most popular types of sports in this country. Betting providers accept bets both in betting offices and through online websites, as well as via telephone calls. The rest of the popular types of gambling in Ghana include online casinos, bingo and online poker.

The official licensor is the Gaming Commission of Ghana.

Gambling taxation in Africa

Country Peculiarities of taxation

The Republic of South Africa

Tax liabilities:

  • Amount of taxes depends of the region and type of gambling establishment;
  • The value-added tax accounts for 5 - 10%;
  • The tax from wins accounts for 15%;
  • The standard corporate income tax rate in Africa accounts for 29%.

Nigeria

The taxation system of Nigeria was established back in the times of the British imperialism. Currently the government is taking actions toward introduction of changes. Changes also imply modification of the gambling taxation system which currently doesn´t bring any funds to the state budget. These days the corporate income tax rate both for legal entities and private individuals accounts for 30% out of total profit.

Uganda

Recently a new law on gambling has been adopted. According to it, operators have to obtain three licenses:

  • License of a promoter;
  • License of an official distributor in Uganda;
  • License of the industry.

Tax fees account for $300 - $1500. At the same time, it is necessary to pay National Lottery Directorate around $60 thousand as a deposit for future payoffs and tax liabilities. Apart from taxes, the corporate income tax rate on revenue in Africa makes up 29%.

Kenya

The new draft bill provides the following taxation conditions for online casino operators:

  • 7,5% out of net profit (betting offices);
  • 5% turnover tax (lottery operators);
  • 12% out of revenues minus wins (online casino operators);
  • 15% out of gross turnover (lottery providers).

Moreover, there are also the following types of taxes:

  • Taxes on wins - 20%;
  • The corporate income tax rate accounts for 29%.

Ghana

  • Interest rate on gambling makes up 18%;
  • VAT on wins accounts for 17,5%;
  • The corporate income tax rate on revenue in Africa makes up 29%.

Future of online gambling in Africa

Slotegrator’s experts, having explored the potential of the African market, believe that online gambling in this region is going to develop in the upcoming years due to the following factors:

  1. Increasing numbers of people belonging to the middle class;
  2. Easy access to modern computers and smartphones;
  3. Development of Internet technologies;
  4. Improvement of gambling taxation legislation.

That’s why Africa demonstrates successful results in iGaming. More and more specialized events are held, more people find out about the new investment possibilities and business opportunities in order to get sustainable profits.

Read also: Regulation of the European iGaming market