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For a few years now Africa has been seen by many industry experts as the iGaming market with the biggest growth potential. With many European markets getting overregulated and convoluted laws adopted in other parts of the globe, African countries can take the lead.
Until not long ago, the limited internet access kept African nations back from shining in iGaming. However, the wider access to 5G and other connectivity options helps the area overcome issues and boost punters’ access to sports betting and casino services. Check out the main countries leading the way towards 5G accessibility for gaming and what that means for the region.
South Africa - the First African Country with 5G Access
Since 2020, MTN and Vodacom launched 5G in South Africa and this further boosts the country’s potential in the iGaming market. Already one of the most advanced African nations in terms of sports betting and casino gambling.
The Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) of South Africa, a figure that shows the overall earnings from various gambling activities, registered a steady growth since 2012. PwC predicted the 2021 GGR to be R35 billion, a 5.1% increase compared to 2020. It’s not a coincidence that the growth overlaps with the launch of 5G technology.
Moreover, the percentage of South Africans accessing the internet through a mobile device rose to 60,71% compared to 57% in 2020. So, while the iGaming growth can’t be attributed solely to 5G implementation, it’s an undeniable factor.
Kenya - Using 5G Since April 2021
Another African nation that’s already reaping the benefits of 5G connectivity is Kenya. It’s no surprise that Kenya is also one of the leading nations when it comes to iGaming. Again, the 5G impact on online sports betting is undeniable as more users are able to support their favorite teams and athletes through their mobile phones.
Safaricom is the company that brought the latest mobile connectivity to Kenya. Just like it happened in South Africa, Kenya’s adoption of 5G will draw a lot of attention to its potential in the region. It means that more countries will be taking the steps needed to implement the technology. Actually, 5G trials are already underway in Morocco, Egypt, Gabon, Nigeria, and Gabon, to name a few.
Nigeria - Two 5G Licenses Issued
Nigeria is also a big name in Africa when talking about online gambling and 5G development. Following successful tests, the country moved ahead to issue two licenses for 5G technology to MTN and Mafab Communications.
There’s no doubt that the issue of the license will benefit the iGaming industry as well. Every since 2018 when the National Lottery Regulatory Commission started issuing licenses for sports betting companies, around 99 more such permits were issued in Nigeria.
PricewaterhouseCoopers placed Nigeria in second place when it comes to the betting market GGR - with $58 million in 2018. So, it goes without saying that wider access to the internet from mobile devices and improved speeds will help Nigerians enjoy online betting and all the other opportunities made available by licensed bookmakers in the country.
Congo - on the Way to 5G
While 5G already proved its worth in many African nations, implementation of the new technology is not an easy feat. Even some European countries are still struggling with technical aspects and regulations. So, to see Congo take steps towards 5G is amazing.
The first stage to connect the country to the latest mobile internet technology is the 285km sub-river fiber that connects Congo to the Central African Republic. The project, which began in January 2022, has already resulted in the establishment of new sports betting operators in Congo and is supported by Congo's Minister of Posts, Telecommunications, and the Digital Economy, Leon Juste Ibombo.
China Communications Services International and Huawei are the companies in charge of the project that will connect CAR and Congo through fiber optic submerged across the Congo and Ubangi rivers.
Congo was already connected to Gabon and Cameroon also established the connection in 2021. The project should take around seven months until completion and it’s another important step towards 5G implementation in the future. Also, it’s important that more African nations lay their own telecommunications infrastructure. This makes them less reliant on foreign telecoms and it drives growth in the area.
Everything seems set in place for Africa to follow its predicted path towards greatness when it comes to online betting and casino services. The extra revenue coming from gambling taxes helps these nations further develop in all aspects, especially communications and connectivity. Congo is especially important in African efforts to expand the internet throughout the continent. Its central position makes it a hub for communication technology in the region and can drive further development.
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