Sport has always been incredibly popular across the continent of Africa. Football is, like the rest of the world, far and away the most popular sport, and domestic leagues, European leagues, and international tournaments are all fanatically followed. But the diversity of culture in Africa is matched by the diversity of sports, both imported and home-grown.
Online sports betting is an industry that is booming around the world as a great form of entertainment, and it is taking off all over Africa. There are thousands of sportsbooks online in which to place bets, with a vast array of sports to choose from. Let’s take a look at Africa’s favourite sports to bet on.
Sports betting in Africa
The whole world has seen a big increase in online sports betting in recent years. In developing nations, like many in Africa, online gaming and gambling have been spurred on by the increased capabilities of mobile devices. This has allowed a demographic who don’t own computers – as is the case across much of the developing world – to access online sportsbooks and place bets on their favourite sports. By far the biggest betting market in Africa is South Africa, and Nigeria is also greatly expanding. The sports betting industry is on track to become a multi-billion-dollar market.
As smartphones and tablets develop and become more and more sophisticated, the potential to watch live sports streams and bet simultaneously can only spell more market growth. Local online payment methods are safer and more reliable than ever, meaning that Africans can bet online without worrying about their money or data. In terms of legality, many African countries have grey areas, where sports betting and other online gambling isn’t regulated, but also isn’t against the law. Those located in countries with restrictions can find off-shore sites to place bets, and won’t face penalties for doing so (the law tends to apply more to operators than players).
Africa loves football. The world’s most popular sport is just as popular across the entire continent, and fans enjoy their countries’ domestic league action. But more popular for bettors is European football, the English Premier League, Bundesliga, La Liga, Serie A and La Ligue, as well as the major UEFA club competitions. Bettors can find a wide range of events to wager on, with a wide variety of bets, such as accumulator bonuses on football matches offered by Bet from Africa.
International football is very popular as well, with the African Cup of Nations taking place every two years – the current champions are Senegal. The FIFA World Cup has always given Africa a platform to showcase its footballing talent, and we’ve seen TV coverage of stirring performances over the years from Ghana, Nigeria, and Cameroon, among others. South Africa played host to the 2010 tournament, the first time it has been held in Africa, drawing even more interest.
In certain African countries, you’ll hear the sound of leather on willow – cricket is widely played, particularly in Southern Africa. Of all African cricketing nations, South Africa is the most successful by quite some distance. SA has been ranked number one in all instances of the game (test match, one day international, T20), and has enjoyed status alongside the likes of Australia, England, India, and Pakistan as one of the greats of the game.
But other countries have fielded successful teams – Kenya and Zimbabwe may have run into difficulties with their governing bodies but have had respectable showings in the Cricket World Cup in the past. Namibia and Uganda are also known international sides. As far as betting goes, cricket is hugely popular, with IPL games and one-day internationals getting regular attention from the sportsbooks.
You may not think of “rugby” when you think of African sports, but it is in fact one of the most popular. Its main drive comes from South Africa – similarly to cricket, the SA national team is one of the best in the world. The Springboks have won the Rugby World Cup twice, the first of which was in 1995, just as South Africa was coming out of apartheid. Nelson Mandela, dressed in a Springboks shirt, celebrating with the team became an iconic moment, not just for sport but for the country’s history and future.
Rugby League is also popular in SA – it attracts partisan fans who love to place bets on the action. There are other countries that enjoy rugby – the Rugby Africa association has 37 registered countries, and the formation of the African Leopards came in 2005, as the first pan-African rugby side played their debut match at Ellis Park as a curtain-raiser between the Springboks and Australia.
Sporting action and wagers go hand-in-hand, as has been proven by the explosion of online sports betting around the world. Africa is the fastest-growing market, and with the continent’s love of sport, it shows no sign of slowing down.