How Licensing Works in the African Online Gambling Industry

african continent

Africa is quickly becoming one of the leading emerging markets for most forms of online gambling. 

One of the main reasons for this is the rise in the number of smartphones used on the continent and the fact that many African countries are witnessing steady and significant economic growth. The pandemic has caused a small dent in this upwards trend, but 2021 is already proving to be much better. 

Online sportsbooks are already benefiting from all of this, but online casinos have yet to truly enter the various lucrative markets. 

However, to penetrate the region, you need to learn about how licenses work in Africa for iGaming ventures. So keep on reading to learn about Africa’s most important iGaming markets, including Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, and Tanzania. 

 

Nigeria

Nigeria is the largest country on the continent in terms of population, and it’s also the most prominent gambling market at the moment. 

However, there is a bit of confusion here about the licenses. Namely, no federal regulations exist, which is why two regulatory bodies issue their own licenses:

  • The National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) — the price of an online gambling license is €4,000 while annual fees are €10,000 + 5% of the total turnover.

  • The Lagos State Lotteries Board (LSLB) — the price of an online gambling license for both bookmakers and casinos is only €1,000. The first annual fee is €100,000 though, but every subsequent one is €20,000 + 2.5% total turnover. 

 

Tanzania

Tanzania is completely regulated, and its Gaming Board offers licenses to both online sports betting sites and casinos. 

To get it, you must pay $300,000 if you are a local venture and $500,000 if you come from abroad. Fees are €500 per month plus a 6% levy on every stake. 

 

South Africa

Unfortunately, South Africa bans online casinos, but it does allow for online bookies and issues licenses for them as well. Specific provincial authorities or PLAs issue licenses, but there is only one that most operators choose — the Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board (WCGRB).

The WCGRB charges only €750 for both the license and the annual fees. Even though these amounts are very low, you still need to pass investigations that come with various additional costs. 

 

Unregulated African Markets That Offer Licenses

Countries like Kenya, Zambia, and Uganda are entirely unregulated, but they do offer licenses to both land-based and online operators. More specifically, the licenses are offered to brick-and-mortar operations, but at the same time, they can extend to online ventures, even though this tends to create a lot of confusion. 

This leads many brands to simply avoid these countries and not allow the citizens to join their websites. 

However, this doesn’t mean that operators can’t open their virtual doors to the people of these nations. For example, in Uganda and Kenya, online gambling isn’t regulated, but you can still obtain official licenses for your online casino, and this is likely the safest road to take if you want to benefit from these markets. 

But what are the costs?

 

License Costs in Kenya

A bookie license costs €2,800 for local ventures and €6,250 for foreign ones. Annual fees are fixed and set at €850 for both.

On the other hand, the casino license costs €32,800 for local operations and €38,600 for foreign ones, while annual fees are, once again, fixed for both and set at €4,050.

 

License Costs in Uganda

An online sportsbook license in Uganda is €2,300 for locals and €4,600 for foreigners, while online casino licenses are €4,600 for local businesses and €11,700 for foreign ones. 

In addition, you are required to submit a security guarantee that costs €46,000 for bookies and €117,000 for online casinos and prepare a minimal starting capital of around €60,000.

 

Unreachable African Markets

We also need to touch upon the countries that are closed off for any iGaming venture. This is most prominently the case with the majority Muslim nations of North Africa, which are also the most developed countries on the continent. We are talking primarily about Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco. 

Most of these countries don’t offer iGaming opportunities nor any licenses. Some, like Morocco and Tunisia, allow for land-based casinos, but these only work for foreign tourists. 

Most other nations, like the numerous Sub-Saharan countries, are completely unregulated, so foreign operators can offer their services to the local population, but they cannot obtain licenses. 

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