The influence of mobile technologies on iGaming in Africa

South Africa and Nigeria are the countries with the greatest mobile penetration, and therefore the leaders when it comes to the iGaming industry

Mobile usage far outweighs computer usage in Africa, and this is reflected in the growing number of mobile-first apps and websites across the board from banking to entertainment. The iGaming explosion has hit the continent in a major way in recent years, and the industry across Africa has been largely driven by advances in mobile technology, as well as the availability and affordability of mobile devices. 

South Africa and Nigeria are the countries with the greatest mobile penetration, and therefore the leaders when it comes to the iGaming industry, but increased mobile coverage and available operators mean that citizens from many other African nations are getting involved in online poker, blackjack, roulette, and slots. Let’s take a closer look. 

Mobile Penetration 

Mobile is now the primary way Africans communicate. There are limited landline networks across the continent, so the increasing affordability of smartphones has greatly influenced mobile penetration across the continent. It’s estimated that in sub-Saharan Africa around 75% of the population has a mobile device, based on SIM connections. But this percentage is misleading — countries like South Africa have a vastly different figure (90% and growing) than nations such as Sudan and Eritrea (approx. 20%). 

Nevertheless, mobile usage is on the up across the continent — West African nations such as Ghana, Nigeria, and Senegal are anticipated to reach 85-90% penetration over the next year or so, and it is likely that increasing affordability and better infrastructure will see a rapid increase in penetration — this means more footfall at online casinos and sports books. 


With this growing penetration comes the need for improved infrastructure. Again, countries that lead the way in terms of usage also have the best infrastructure. There are many domestic and international network operators who are building infrastructure such as cell towers, base stations, and undersea cables to expand their coverage and services. Many nations already have 4G/LTE internet connectivity, and 5G is being gradually deployed in some urban areas. However, some nations still rely on 2G and 3G for many of their basic voice and text services. 

Expanding mobile coverage to rural and remote areas remains a challenge in Africa — such large regions of the country are rural, with limited infrastructure of any kind. Initiatives like the Universal Service and Access Funds in some countries aim to bridge the digital divide by subsidising infrastructure development in remote regions without coverage. 


Given that mobile is much more prevalent than desktop in Africa, it’s no surprise that in the iGaming sphere, operators are tailoring their services for optimal user experience. Across the globe, pretty much any service, from banking and stock trading to fitness, lifestyle, and entertainment, has been optimised for the small screen. In a reversal, new companies are making their websites more like their apps, to reflect mobile becoming the most popular way to engage with online content. 

Some top iGaming platforms such as Winner Casino have a mobile-only version, which specifically targets countries in Africa and other regions of the world where mobile is the dominant platform. With decent internet connectivity, players in Africa can enjoy all the perks the casino has to offer — top slots, card games, and roulette, plus generous bonuses and promotions. 

Emerging Technology

Smartphones have grown ever more powerful and now fall into a price range affordable to many Africans. This means that they are able to take advantage of some of the more cutting-edge options iGaming has to offer. Many casinos now feature live-dealer blackjack and poker, and live-croupier roulette — these games don’t require any special equipment or add-ons, any smartphone with an internet connection can handle it. Slot games grow ever more advanced, with graphics to match any console game, plus enhanced gameplay and storylines. 

Live dealers and slots make for an ever more immersive experience, all accessible on a regular mobile device. Other recently developing technologies such as VR and AR, are likely to be slower for Africans to adopt. This is due to the need for extra equipment, which can be costly — this is also a challenge in Europe and America, added to the relatively high cost of producing a VR / AR app. 


Africa is young — 60% of the entire African population is under 25 years old. And in South Africa — the most active iGaming economy on the continent— the median age is 28. Again, this is a big reason mobile penetration is so high, as younger people are more likely to engage with mobile tech, and therefore with mobile gaming such as online casinos. 

These young people are demanding better network coverage and connectivity, as well as driving the economy with their demands for more powerful devices. The iGaming industry in Africa is booming, and doesn’t look like it’s slowing down. As mobile penetration increases across the continent, online casinos and sportsbooks look set to draw in many more players.

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