The Growth Of Online Games In Africa

by | Oct 27, 2020 | Travel Featured

Although gaming in Africa is still in its relative infancy – it only really started three decades ago – it is a rapidly growing market, with the amount spent increasing by US $460 million between 2014 and 2018.

Nigeria is the single largest gaming market, followed closely by Egypt and South Africa.

And, despite the global pandemic, the outlook is bright with a compound growth rate of 12% a year expected over the 2020 – 2025 time period.

There are several macroeconomic reasons behind this.

In the first place, Africa is the one continent where the youth population is actually growing – there are expected to be up to 50% more young people under the age of 24 in five years’ time.

And, more and more of them have access to the internet. At the end of 2019, it was estimated that the total population of Africa was 1.34 billion, of whom 526 million, or 39.3% had access to the internet. That represented a 11,567% increase since 2000. Yet that number can grow still further. It continues to lag behind the rest of the world where the figure is 62.9%.

Another factor is the growth of smartphones, the penetration rate of which continues to rise. It is now estimated, for example, that between 37% and 45% of all South Africans have access to a smartphone.

One of the things that people have turned to with their smartphones and internet access is mobile gambling. People now have access to online games both for entertainment and betting purposes, and whilst many countries have local betting laws, online games played through offshore companies are one way to circumvent this.

Whilst traditional bricks and mortar casinos have suffered enormously during the lockdown, online casinos like the Silversands Casino have thrived. Across the globe online casinos have reported an increase in activity during lockdown, in part due to the boredom that many young people stuck at home have experienced.

There has also been a trend away from sports betting, which is the only legal activity for South African players, for example. In the absence of actual live sporting matches or events on which to bet, people have turned their attention to online games like blackjack, poker, and slots instead.

To fill the gap, Esports have begun to take an increasing market share, and, even if traditional sporting activity does resume, they are likely to remain a growing market segment.

One potential obstacle to the growth of online gambling are the legislative attempts which have been made in South African and several other African countries to prevent its spread. However, whilst this may rid the industry of unlicenced operators, history suggests that trying to ban anything – alcohol or drugs, for example – is not an effective long-term strategy. It is far more effective to control it and ensure that governments get their fair share of tax revenues from their activities.

In short, the market is ripe for growth of online gaming in Africa, and this is one of the few industries that have actually benefitted from the global pandemic.

Share This