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Benin is another small West African country, comprising an area of about 42,000 square miles, with a population of about 10 million people. Benin, like most African countries, was colonialized by a European country, in this case France, who they achieved their independence from in 1975. For their first 15 years they were ruled by a Communist government, but since 1990 they have been a republic.
Benin is yet another very poor country, which is the case with many of the countries in Sub Saharan Africa, with a per capita PPP GDP of only about $1700. That’s better than some countries in the area though, and while they have a poverty rate of about one third, that’s quite a bit lower than the poorest of African countries.
Benin’s economy is almost entirely based upon agriculture, and lack the diversity of different industries that is generally required for a country to grow and prosper economically. A lot of the farming here is sustenance farming, and sustenance farmers lack the resources to expand their production very much.
In spite of these challenges though, Benin’s economy has grown at a decent pace at least over the last few years, averaging about 5%, while managing to keep inflation low, and this has allowed them to at least move up the rankings somewhat. There has been more of a focus on tourism here lately and this is one of the areas which is being looked at in order to expand Benin’s economy further. (1)
The hope here is to attract more foreign investment, actual investment rather than the aid that they have received. There is much to do here in order to improve the infrastructure of Benin and many do not have electricity yet, let alone modern day communications and other amenities that people in most countries take for granted. (2)
Certain forms of gambling are legal in Benin these days, which includes the lottery and casino gambling. Benin has a single casino operating in the country, at the Benin Marina Hotel, although this is as modest of a casino as you’ll ever see, with a roulette table, 2 poker tables, and 10 slot machines.
One very small casino is certainly one better than none, and there are plenty of countries in Africa without any, so this is a start at least. There used to be quite a few slot machines spread around Benin at one time, over 700 back in 2002 according to the government, but they felt that this was not appropriate for widespread public consumption and they banned the operation of these machines unless they are operated by a corporation and licensed. (3)
So this shut out the Beninese small business owners who had operated these slot machines and also effectively took away access to them by the public here, this isn’t a country of casino goers so they have had to be content playing the lottery, and the penalties for operating slot machines include a year in jail so this seems to have been very effective in putting a stop to it, there may be some going on behind the scenes but not enough that you hear about it or see raids of them being reported.
Playing Poker in Benin
As mentioned, Benin does have 2 full time poker tables at the Benin Marina Hotel, and only one casino gambling table, so while 2 poker tables for an entire country isn’t much, outnumbering the other gambling tables isn’t something we really see so that’s a good sign at least. (4)
Benin, for a country so underdeveloped and lacking in infrastructure generally, has a surprisingly good internet penetration rate, of about 12%, which means that at the present time, about 1.2 million Beninese can go online. This is not anywhere as high of a percentage as we see in the more developed African countries or even some who aren’t really that developed, but it’s several times greater than the poorest of countries here, a group that Benin is currently a part of.
This is not to say that a lot of people from Benin play online poker though, and in fact very few do as of yet, as poker needs to catch on in popularity here a lot more than it currently has, aside from their having the two poker tables for tourists that is.
However, there is some potential here for sure, and as more and more people get the internet, more will become exposed to the game though the media and more may end up trying the game out. Once people try poker they really tend to like it, as it has elements of strategy far beyond what you see at casino games, and especially with playing slot machines, which requires no more skill than button pushing or lever pulling.
It’s been shown in the past that the Beninese do like to gamble and this is a market that is currently underserved, so internet gambling and online poker in particular may serve to fill some of this void one day as things continue to improve here. In the mean time, those who wish to try this out can find all kinds of great online poker sites to play at, as there are few restrictions out there as far as accepting Beninese players go among the world’s top online poker rooms.
Playing online poker by the way enjoys far more accessibility than land based casino or poker games because they can be operated so cheaply, and this allows online poker sites to offer stakes that are anywhere from extremely low on up, something that really isn’t possible at land based gambling venues due to the overhead involved and the very limited reach.
So if you are up for some great internet poker, are from Benin, and have at least a little money to play, and a little money is all you need really, then we have our list of our top picks for you from among all of the possibilities that are open to you.
Top Online Poker Sites Accepting Players from Benin>/h2>
We have 4 poker rooms for you, and we wanted to confine our list to just these because we want to offer you the best out there and these 4 are clearly the best in our vast experience. All of these top sites offer nice rewards for new players trying them out and depositing with them for the first time, and 888 Poker even offers a no deposit bonus where you get to play with real money even prior to putting any money in.
There are many other reasons to love 888 Poker though and it has been no accident that this site has risen so far lately in the rankings. They have won the award for online poker site of the year several times and they are also extremely popular among online poker players.
You’ll also be well taken care of at Titan Poker and Bet 365 Poker, which we mention together because they are on the same network with the same players, and it happens to be the world’s favorite poker network. There are other poker rooms on this network but we really like the stability of these two rooms and many poker sites come and go on iPoker but these are both rock solid and have been around for a very long time already.
Black Chip Poker is our final selection for you, last but not least, as this is a great site and has really grown of late, as more and more online players become acquainted with it and end up sticking around. We really love this poker room for new players particularly but experienced players really enjoy the action here as well.