The continent of Africa might be the last place where you’d think that poker was all that popular, and that might have been true until recently, but gambling and poker is really growing here, and neither are anywhere near as popular as in some other parts of the world, but things have really improved lately.
Africa is home to some of the world’s poorest countries of course, so that’s certainly a big limiting factor when it comes to the amount of people who can afford to gamble and play poker. However, gambling is still pretty popular even among the poor worldwide and people simply like to gamble no matter where they live.
One of the things in Africa’s favor is that governments here generally don’t tend to take an ideological stance towards gambling and do tend to be most receptive to ways that they can increase their tax revenue. So while in many areas of the world, especially in the neighboring Middle East, there may be some reasons why governments want to ban poker and gambling even though they may benefit from it, but in Africa, the main limitation to the growth of gambling isn’t ideological, it’s more organic, as in a relative lack of disposable income.
Still though, Africa does have a lot of people – over a billion to be exact – and while a lot of these people may not be able to afford to gamble, there are plenty who can, especially in the better off countries economically like South Africa and Egypt, who both have a substantial amount of gambling facilities.
Naturally, when you’re talking about an entire continent with a wide diversity of countries like Africa is, there will be some real variation here, but that’s exactly why we look at all of these countries, and all of the countries in the entire world in fact, separately on this site, to look at each individual countries’ laws on gambling and poker in addition to the degree of popularity and access of the game of poker in each.
South Africa in particular is a real poker hotbed these days, with Egypt not far behind, and poker is starting to catch on in some other countries these days as well. Overall, Africa has a low penetration rate when it comes to internet access, and therefore things tend to spread here slower than they do in other continents, but they still do spread.
While internet access and therefore access to online gambling and online poker is limited here, and only sits at about 15% overall, this has really taken off in recent years and will only continue to grow, and we are talking about 15% of 1.1 billion people so overall we’re talking about a lot of subscribers.
Half of the countries in Africa have live casinos now, 29 of them in fact out of a total of 58 countries, and there are a lot of casinos in Africa now, a very surprising amount actually. South Africa alone has 40 casinos, and that doesn’t even count the up to 2000 illegal casino operations that are estimated to run there. Altogether there are now 176 casinos in Africa and this number is growing fast.
Poker in Africa – Online and Live Options
As far as poker goes, well this isn’t the hotbed of the poker world by any means but there is still quite a bit of poker that is played in Africa, and the game is really catching on over the last few years in particular, and there is even an African World Series of Poker now, run by the same folks that operate the World Series of Poker itself in Las Vegas every year.
There isn’t a lot of live poker in Africa as of yet in comparison to the number of casinos they have now, but there is some, especially in South Africa which has many poker rooms, but the availability of live poker is more limited in most other countries. In the meantime, there are tons of online gambling sites in South Africa that offer casino, poker and even sports betting options to its players.
As far as online poker goes here, this all comes down to two factors, the popularity of the game and the ability of people to play it. Both of these areas need improvement here for poker to really be big, but both are really growing, and Africa may not be the first place people think of as a potential growth market for online poker and it may not have the potential of a China or an India but it does have as many people as these other two countries and still holds a lot of potential.
One of the big differences with Africa compared to India and China is that Africa doesn’t have anywhere near the problems with government interference as these other two countries do, who both outlaw poker in all forms, and Africa on a whole is much more permissive toward poker, so that does help the market for sure.
There are also a surprising amount of online poker players from Africa these days though, and that number is really set to grow in the coming years. While a small percentage of people may have private internet access here, internet cafes and very popular in Africa and a fair number of people have access through these community connections.
So we have articles for you on all 58 countries in Africa, where we look at the law there as it pertains to poker and gambling in general, along with what is available as far as both live and online poker go, in addition to letting you know what the best sites are as far as online poker goes for each particular country.
Individual Poker Laws in Africa (by Country)
Here is our extensive country list for Africa, which unfortunately won’t be fully complete given the limitations of gaming laws or even the actual presence of gaming in general on the continent itself. However, we have highlighted certain countries below that are the most important, including those that have actual options for gamblers in Africa.
Central African Republic
Cote d’Ivoire (aka Ivory Coast)
Sao Tome and Principe
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