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Mobile Gambling Trending Up in Kenya

by Sam Wakoba
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mobile-bettingAccording to recent reports, Africa is the world’s fastest-growing market for mobile broadband use. And according to other recent studies, some African countries including Kenya are experiencing a rapid growth in gambling.

When you add these together you get a surge in mobile gambling that is expected to sweep the Kenyan plains like a herd of migrating gazelle.

PricewaterhouseCoopers’ second annual report titled “The Gambling Outlook 2013-2017” forecasts Kenya to experience a 12.5% growth in gross gambling revenue during that timeframe. Nigeria is predicted to see an even larger increase at 16%. The figures are based only on land-based and the state lottery and were made based on strong economic outlooks and increasing tourism in each country.

There are some 30 million cellphone users in Kenya, and with more and more of those becoming internet-capable smartphones, access to gambling is ever-increasing. The International Telecommunication Union projects Africa to experience a 43% increase in mobile broadband subscriptions by the end of 2014. Mobile broadband users made up just 2% of the African population in 2010 and that number jumped to a whopping 19% in 2014.

While Nigeria’s land-based casino market has a strong outlook, there is no legal and regulated online gaming available in the country. At their own discretion, Nigerians may access foreign gambling sites to play things like slot machines and poker or bet on sports.

Kenya, on the other hand, allows regulated online gaming, which gives players more convenience along with further gaming options. For example, Kenya boasts 13 casinos in four cities that offer plenty of gaming opportunities. But there is just one poker room with only four poker tables in the entire country. The availability of online gambling—sometimes available for mobile devices—allows Kenyans to get their gaming fix without having to visit the lone casino with poker tables or slots. InterCasino, for instance, hosts a bevy of free games that users can try out before they decide to plunk down some cash. This allows players to go beyond simply playing for free—they can also practice their favorite game, be it roulette or poker, without worry of much else.
Smartphones also grant Kenyans easier access to sports betting, which has also taken off in recent years. Online sportsbook EliteBet enjoyed success in neighboring Uganda and earlier this year expanded its business into Kenya, allowing residents to bet on football, cricket and other sports directly from their phone. At around the same time, another online sportsbook, Pevans, followed suit.

Indeed, as mobile broadband use continues to increase, the Kenyan gambling industry will hit the jackpot.


This post was written by By William Smith for TechMoran.

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