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The Gambling Explosion in Africa Is Bringing Virtual Sports into the Story

Africa as a whole is experiencing a rise in sports betting. Young, tech-savvy African bettors are increasingly choosing virtual sports over traditional ones thanks to the seemingly endless betting options. Learn more about the growth of virtual sports in Africa by reading on.

The Gambling Explosion in Africa Is Bringing Virtual Sports into the Story

The African betting business is booming, driven by technological advancements and an expanding populace with a fondness for sports, notably football. But African punters are now becoming lovers of virtual sports in addition to conventional sports betting.

  • South Africa

Nearly half of all gaming revenue on the continent is generated in South Africa.

  • Nigeria

More than 220 million people live in Nigeria, and an estimated 30% of them partake in gambling.

  • Kenya

Following a protracted tax debate, Kenyan officials recently decreased the betting stakes tax to 7.5% in an effort to entice sportsbook companies back to the nation.

  • Tanzania

Early in 2021, the Tanzanian government allowed virtual sports.

  • Ghana

During the pandemic, the Ghanaian Gaming Commission permitted licensees to provide Internet sports betting services.

How Do Virtual Sports Work?

Software-produced simulations of sporting events are referred to as virtual sports.

The games are depicted with incredibly rich graphics reminiscent of high-end video games, and they are typically only 90 seconds to several minutes long, less than live sporting events. The action is rendered in beautiful detail by the developers using CGI technology, but what lies underneath the surface is equally stunning. Realistic graphics and odds are characteristics of the best virtual goods. Since virtual sports are based on an RNG, they don’t seem to differ much from slot machines. The RNG generates a wide range of outcomes, but there’s a significant distinction; players are presented with realistic odds to consider as they place their bets.

Additionally, realistic outcomes are possible in addition to realistic graphics and probabilities. The Virtual Grand National, which was introduced in 2017 as an add-on to the UK’s premier horseracing contest, has consistently provided a diverse field of top finishers. Even Tiger Roll, the champion in 2018, was anticipated by the simulation.

Real Sports vs. eSports vs. Virtual Sports

Between eSports, traditional sports, and virtual sports, there are several significant distinctions.

Traditional football games only occur at predetermined periods in reality. Real-life matches take 90 minutes and might only occur once each week. Conversely, virtual football matches occur frequently, only last a few minutes, and the results are released right afterward.

Esports and virtual sports are sometimes referred to as the same thing. These are two different betting products, though. Esports contests pit professional gamers against one another in video games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2, whereas virtual sports are simulations of actual sporting events.

Why Do Punters from Africa Enjoy Virtual Sports?

Tech-savvy football fans who want to place a lot of tiny bets are drawn to virtual sports. That just so happens to align almost exactly with contemporary African punters. The broad passion for sports betting, which includes virtuals, can be explained by considering the participants’ age and propensity for technology.

A distinctive characteristic of African demographics is youth. UN-Habitat estimates that 420 million individuals, or 35% of the continent’s population, are between the ages of 15 and 35. Around the world, sports bettors are disproportionately young, and this trend is even more pronounced in Africa; 54% of sub-Saharan Africans between the ages of 17 and 35 who responded to a recent GeoPoll study said they have at least tried betting.

African gamblers frequently favor mobile betting; 75% of gamblers, according to GeoPoll, use their mobile devices to place their bets. In some nations on the continent, where mobile penetration rates are skyrocketing, it’s now more probable that sports bettors will own a mobile phone than a laptop.

Virtual sports may be the first introduction to sports betting for newer generations who have grown up with video games with high-quality graphics. Sports betting on a computer screen can be used as practice for the real thing for bettors who are unfamiliar with navigating the seemingly intricate odds system. Virtuals give bettors more frequent opportunities to place wagers so they may become accustomed to the odds systems.

Virtuals provide the endless betting alternatives that expert gamblers have been dreaming of. Virtual sports gamblers frequently stop trying to watch the sporting event after a few weeks; the attraction is the excitement of placing a wager and succeeding financially. Playing the odds and putting their gut sense to the test is an experience that bettors enjoy as much as, if not more than, the sport itself.

In Africa, the great majority of sports bettors place small, frequent wagers. For instance, most gamblers in Kenya wager at least once every week, and some do so even more frequently. The average Kenyan between the ages of 18 and 29 wagers KES 1,550 ($14/€12) per month, according to a 2019 survey by IPSOS and GeoPoll. The high-frequency, low-volume betting behavior is ideal for online sports betting.

To take into account is legal standing as well. Games of chance are still not allowed in Nigeria, although skill-based games are. Because it needs the skill to analyze the odds before placing a wager, Nigerian gamblers are permitted to place bets 24/7 on virtual sports.

Another factor contributing to the popularity of virtual sports is the way they integrate into the lifestyle of contemporary gamblers. Because virtual sports have never had an off-season and have thousands of events every day, there’s never a lack of events to bet on.

Virtual Sports in the COVID Era

As a result of COVID-19, live sporting events ceased to exist, leaving operators all over the world in a panic. When there were no live sporting events to wager on, gamblers turned to the available alternatives. Virtual sports, online casinos, and eSports all experienced growth.

In just the first three weeks of the pandemic, over 100 operators had enrolled to incorporate virtual sports products into their platforms, according to Martin Wachter, CEO of prominent virtual sports provider Golden Race. This indicates widespread acceptance of the product’s usefulness as a temporary fix. Wachter made this announcement during the first wave.

Bookmakers in African countries like Nigeria and Kenya weren’t exempt from the cancellation of sporting events as the pandemic spread over the world, thus they had to find other ways to survive the crisis, just as bookies at from numerous other countries from around the globe had to as well. In an attempt to make up for lost revenue, the Gaming Commission of Ghana permitted licensees to provide online products, and betting operators in Nigeria were able to survive by providing virtual sports betting services.

One likely scenario? Players who tested virtual sports wagering during the pandemic may have liked it and will continue to wager on virtuals for years to come.


The key to any successful strategy is to approach every nation uniquely. Virtuals also give suppliers the chance to market-tailor their goods. The obvious choice is football, but other items like greyhound racing and horse racing will vary depending on regional preferences.

The high-frequency, brief-duration alternative of virtual betting fits the busy schedules of the majority of bettors. It’s no surprise that operators view Africa as a strong market for virtual sports betting given the advancements in technology, increasing earnings from sports betting, and the continent’s young and expanding population.

In fact, Martin Wachter, CEO of Golden Race, said in 2019 that he was completely certain that profits from virtual sports might surpass those from conventional sports betting.

The way streaming technology upended the entertainment industry can be used to compare the possible impact of virtual sports on the market for sports betting. Going to the movies to see a new release has changed from being an occasion to being a nuisance since people can find endless pleasure in the convenience of their own homes. In a similar vein, young African gamblers might consider waiting for a live game to be a waste of time given the availability of virtual sporting events all the time.

It’s critical to avoid making the assumption that development in Africa would proceed in the same manner as it has in other regions of the world when analyzing the growth potential for virtual sports betting, or any other industry, in Africa. Instead of attempting to imitate the growth of the market in regions like Europe or Asia, comprehending the future of the African gambling business will depend on an analysis of its existing status.

Investors might anticipate that African markets would follow their own development routes. Think about communication. Across the continent, mobile penetration is surging, with Kenya approaching 100% and other nations achieving comparable levels.

For too many Africans, the landline was rendered irrelevant before it was ever deployed, in contrast to how the Western world had to become acclimated to traditional telephones before adapting to the next step of the technological revolution.

And as we already indicated, nothing appeals to African gamblers more than using their mobile devices to place wagers on sports and, to a growing extent, virtual games.

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