A popularity surge in gambling has been documented in Africa in the last years. The percentage is alarmingly higher among youths, especially after the advert of mobile applications. In Kenya, SportPesa has dominated the local market since 2013 and today has over one million registered players.
Afenyo Markin, a Ghanaian Efutu Member of Parliament and strong anti-gambling advocate, said the following: “Those Chinese who have come with their raffle joints, I want to tell them we will encourage the police to close these joints down,” before adding, “There are lot of raffle joints in Winneba. Properties are getting stolen because somebody wants money to go raffle.”
But it is not only men, who are attracted by “easy money”. Reports from South Africa prove that women are also avid fans of gambling and like to wager on a daily basis.
Heidi Sinclair, treatment and counselling manager at the South African Responsible Gambling Foundation says, “…the reality is that as many as 51 percent of all South African women gamble; what’s more, female problem gamblers are likely to be more severely affected by the condition.”
Alarming increase due to mobile betting
The numbers around mobile betting in Africa are overwhelming, even compared to Western standards. PriceWaterhouseCoopers made a 2014-2018 Gambling Outlook in which they documented the South African, Nigerian and Kenyan gambling industries. In these countries gambling is a lucrative business amounting close to $37 billion.
Geopoll says: “Most youth (54%) in SSA (Sub Saharan Africa) have tried their hand at gambling. Kenya has the highest number of youth who have participated in gambling or betting in the past at 76% followed by Uganda at 57%. Ghana has the least number at 42%. Most young people are using mobile phones to gamble with 75% of those who bet using their phones. Kenya has the highest usage of mobile phones for gambling at 96% while South Africa has the lowest at 48%. In effect, as Geopoll rightly states, mobile phones have become Africa’s Las Vegas”.