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Governments in Sub-Saharan Africa Struggle to Regulate the Mass Expansion of Online Gambling

Africa is an attractive proposition for the gambling industry with masses of untapped potential. Since 2020, online gambling across the continent has boomed, partly due to the Covid pandemic when people were stuck at home. Revenue in the online gambling market is projected to reach $1.62bn in 2023, almost double that of 2020. Currently, 64% of people in sub-Saharan Africa have smartphones, and that number is predicted to rise. By the end of 2021, just under a quarter (22%) of the total population in sub-Saharan Africa was using the mobile internet. Online payments are also increasingly used. Gambling advertising is pervasive across all forms of media. It often features football “heroes”, explains Tunde Adebisi, a researcher from Nigeria. There are billboards in rural areas, influencer-led stories on social media, and pop-up adverts while football games are on television. To encourage gambling, companies enlist community members who often work on a commission basis. “All these trends suggest that the gambling industry in sub-Saharan Africa has neocolonial characteristics,” said the report.