Sports betting has a long and troubled history as a business. For ages, it has been accused of being a negative influence on sports, threatening its integrity and fairness. Fortunately, this all belongs to the past now. On one hand, many countries have clear regulations regarding the business that they also enforce strictly. On the other, the betting operators themselves have created mechanisms and policies aimed at eliminating any and all threats to the integrity of sports, including a global industry group that constantly monitors the market for any sign of illegal activity, reporting their findings to the appropriate authorities.
These positive changes have led to sports betting not only becoming a socially acceptable business but also to it being able to take a foothold in many areas where it was strictly banned in the past – like the United States, for example. Today, it continues its expansion around the globe, breaking into new markets and reaching masses of new potential customers. Africa, in general, is one of them – and it is seen by many as the next major sports betting market.
In recent years, sports betting has taken many African countries by storm. Like in many other areas, the most popular sport to bet on is association football – both the major international events and the local leagues enjoy increased attention by the punters. In 2018, the combined size of the sports betting markets in countries like Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa, among others, totaled $37 billion.
One of the reasons for the explosion of betting in many African countries is the spread of mobile payments and mobile internet connections – some call it the consequence of the improvement of the financial inclusion of the population. Since Betway Kenya app is simpler and easier than going to the betting shop in the next town, many punters turn to the mobile betting solutions that are literally just a tap away.
The average Kenyan sports bettor tends to be young and male, according to market intelligence. They also prefer using their smartphones to place bets and check out the odds – most of them prefer betting on sports to other forms of gambling. According to a survey cited by Slotegrator, almost 60% of all Kenyans of legal age have placed bets on sports, with the majority of them being male (69%), and between the ages of 25 and 34 (77%). And 88% of them placed at least a bet on their smartphones.
Most Kenyan bettors spend around $50 a month on gambling, the surveys show, and they place, on average, one bet every week.
Africa has the highest proportion of young adults of all the areas in the world, many of them tech-savvy, and interested in online betting. According to estimates by PriceWaterhouseCooper, the total revenue of the Kenyan gambling market alone may reach $29 billion in 2019, potentially growing to $50 billion this year. Sports betting, especially on mobile, is a perfect match for Africa’s constantly evolving market, and this will likely lead to an unprecedented boom in the coming years.