igaming operators in Keny and East Africa - Business Today
East Africa, and specifically Kenya, are deemed as the fastest growing regions, alongside Nigeria and South Africa. [ Photo / Kenyan Tribune ]

The iGaming industry is booming all over the world. It has reached its peak as more and more players are choosing to gamble in their homes rather than in land-based casinos. Of course, nothing can beat the real-life experience of visiting any of the Las Vegas gambling amenities, but online casinos are doing their best to recreate that feeling and provide it to wider masses. 

Thanks to the advancement of technology, almost anyone with access to the internet can spin the reels on most popular slots or have a blackjack season while interacting with a live dealer. Easy access has widely contributed to the popularization of online gaming. 

Therefore, the new markets are formed, followed by new online gambling regulations and legislations. Amongst them, Africa has presented itself as the next iGaming destination that providers are aiming to enter. The most attractive markets in this continent are in East Africa, with most providers targeting Kenya. 

Why Africa is the Next Big iGaming Market?

With a population of 1.26 billion people, Africa is the second most populous continent in the world, where 35 of its 54 countries already allow mobile sports betting, and more and more are legalizing other forms of iGaming. Add to the fact that mobile payments are the most commonly used payment methods on the continent, and it’s easy to see that this is a market full of potential. 

When it comes to the online gambling sector, East Africa propelled itself as one of the most appealing regions of the continent, mostly thanks to a legal landscape in many countries in the region that offers an important basis of stability for the operators and suppliers.

Of course, like with all emerging markets challenges do arise, but that doesn’t stop the leading iGaming brands to try to make a mark here. Despite the challenges and possible bumps on the road, the African market, particularly its Eastern region, opens up a lot of possibilities to get high returns on low investments for those brands willing to enter or expand their business in the region, and their number is growing rapidly.

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Kenya as a Rising Star

As a multitrillion-dollar industry, the African gambling market is thriving. However, East Africa, and specifically Kenya, are deemed as the fastest growing regions, alongside Nigeria and South Africa. Besides Kenya, other big players in East Africa are Uganda and Tanzania. Few key-features influence its raise.

The popularity of sports betting amongst the younger population:

Kenya is the rising star of the continent, mainly due to the popularity of sports betting among the younger population. Statistics show that around 79% of all sports bets placed in this country are on football matches and Kenyans are betting at least once a week with an average of $50 spent on gambling every month.

Wider accessibility of the internet and mobile networks 

The latest report from the regulatory body for the communications sector in Kenya, the Communications Authority of Kenya, showed that internet penetration in Kenya reached its highest point in 2018 which enabled the booming of the iGaming activities, especially sports betting. The number of mobile users has significantly increased in this country and the whole continent, alongside a decrease in the costs of mobile data which makes it more accessible. 

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Mobile Payment Methods

Hand in hand with the increase in internet and mobile availability is the usage of mobile payment methods which are the preferred payment option in this country. Recently the number of active Kenyan mobile money users passed the 45 million mark. And youngsters in this country enjoy betting on sports and especially via their mobile devices, leading to a boom in the sports industry. 

All of these key factors combined are opening a lot of doors for operators and software providers eager to make a footprint in the African market, and have made Kenya one of the fastest-growing online gambling markets in the continent. 

 What Do the Operators Need to Succeed in This Region? Success or failure for both operators and providers in this emerging market is dictated by many variables. However, it is very important for brands not to underestimate aspects such as the importance of local insight, experience and understanding local legislation and obeying it.

A good example of a company that understands the importance of these aspects is the renowned gaming supplier Pragmatic Play. The leading provider of online casino content has recently expanded its operations to Africa and appointed Solomon Godwin as its content manager. With years of experience behind him and a deep understanding of the African markets, Godwin will be responsible for overseeing the company’s growing network of partners across the region.

Besides having the team of iGaming experts who understand the demands of African markets, operators also have adapted their offering for the targeted markets.

For example, the online casino that targets Kenyan players and doesn’t provide opportunities for sports betting will hardly make its mark. If the statistics show that punters in this country prefer sports betting, the operator that offers it alongside casino options will more likely emerge to the top and attract the audience. 

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Another important aspect is partnering with the right technical partner or brand that is already influential in the iGaming African industry. Such a partner will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience needed for a seamless launch or expansion of the business.    

 iGaming Operators Seeing Potential of East Africa and Kenya

Many new platforms are emerging on a monthly basis, some so great that they can stand shoulder to shoulder with the industry’s veterans.

When there are too many fish in one pond, it gets oversaturated. So, the expansion and reaching the new online markets is the next logical step for the operators. And the African region is becoming more and more attractive.

While placed under the spotlight much later than other markets, the continent now presents the major attraction for the online casinos. Breakthroughs in internet and mobile availability and stability opened the region and showed that its residents are quite interested in online gambling. Especially in Nigeria, South and East Africa, as well as in Kenya whic are prime markets for sports bettors.

The iGaming operators are finally seeing the potential of the continent, with emphasis on East Africa and Kenya, and trying to breach its markets. Although some jurisdictions are stricter than others in the form of regulation, that doesn’t stop a huge number of operators to try to tap into their gaming markets, and that’s why the African online gambling is the new hit market for the iGaming brands. 

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