Sports betting, worth an estimated $37 billion in Africa, has experienced consistent growth in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya.
That growth is expected to continue as internet and mobile penetration rates increase.
Soccer is a major drawcard for betting firms, especially bets on the popular European soccer leagues. Rugby, horse racing, basketball and golf are also popular in African sports betting.
Nigerian law prohibits gambling, but betting on sports is viewed as a game of skill rather than chance due to the knowledge and experience required to be successful when betting on sports.
Here are 10 online betting firms in Africa’s $37 billion sports betting industry.
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Founded in 2014 in Nairobi, SportPesa has operations in Tanzania, South Africa, Italy, Ireland, the Isle of Man and the U.K. In October, Kenyan regulators added a new 20 percent tax on betting stakes in the country, forcing SportPesa to halt operations in Kenya and lay off 400 people. SportPesa says it will no longer operate in Kenya until a “non-hostile regulatory environment is returned.” The company is also the main jersey sponsor of English Premier League club Everton and Formula 1 motor-sport team, Racing Point.
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Bet9ja has an average monthly turnover of $10 million and is Nigeria’s biggest sports betting company. The firm has grown its influence and gained traction in the market through its network of betting stores which users visit to place bets and collect winnings. Bet9ja is a major sponsor of the Nigerian version of the reality TV show “Big Brother”, according to Nairametrics.
Owned by Sun International — the Johannesburg-based gaming, hospitality and entertainment company — SunBet is an online betting firm that lets users bet on many sports popular with a South African audience including cricket, golf, horse racing, rugby, soccer and tennis. In the first six months of 2019, SunBet’s revenues were around $1.3 million, according to DailyMaverick.
Popular Nigerian betting firm NairaBet is the second biggest sports betting operator in the country and has a monthly turnover of $3 million-to-$5 million, according to KPMG. The company has around 2 million regular customers who place bets predominantly through the app or by walking into a physical betting store to make bets on their favorite sports teams and leagues.
Owned by Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed firm Phumelela Gaming and Leisure, TabOnline is a sports betting website that allows users to place bets and predict the outcomes of sports games. Originally launched to enable betting on horse races, the site and its app have expanded to allow betting on other sports including soccer and rugby. The TabOnline website runs the popular Soccer6 game that allows users to predict the outcome of six soccer matches with winners sharing the eventual prize pool.
BetKing is another of the players in the Nigerian betting industry. The Lagos-based firm offers online betting on popular sports including soccer, hockey, cricket, tennis and basketball. It operates betting shops equipped with TVs that serve as social hubs where users can watch soccer free while placing bets and then following the outcome of games at the stores, according to CNBCAfrica.
Sportingbet is one of the leading sports betting companies in South Africa, offering more than 80 sports for users to bet on. Launched in 2009, the company claims to have more than 100,000 active users throughout South Africa, often offering promotions to entice new clients to sign up and bet on their online platform.
Mkeka Bet is owned by a Tanzania-born operator in a country whose betting industry is heavily taxed by the government. Its website is available in English and Swahili. Revenues on sports bets are taxed at a rate of 25 percent in Tanzania. In 2019, government revenues from gambling, including in casinos, are expected to amount to almost $42 million, according to Slotegrator.
One of the major firms in the South African online sports betting industry, Bet.co.za is based in the Western Cape and offers betting services across multiple sports on its website. The company also offers users the chance to bet on the outcome of lotteries throughout the world, including the New York Lotto, Powerball and Megamillions competitions in the U.S. Established in 2010, it has been recognized as one of the most popular sports betting sites in South Africa.
Launched in 2007, SimbaBet is a Ugandan sports betting firm based in a casino in Kampala. The company has opened six additional gaming centers since it launched, with users visiting these establishments to place bets. The centers are equipped with free internet browsing stations where users can do research before placing bets to help them in making informed predictions. Betting on sport is an increasingly popular pastime in Uganda, with the government receiving about $12 million in sports betting revenue in 2018, compared to $3 million in 2014.