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Senegal is a country on the west coast of Africa with a population of about 13 million. While Senegal is definitely a poor country by worldwide standards, with a per capita GDP of only about $2000 a year, that qualifies in the middle of the pack as far as African countries go, and they are 30th among the 53 countries on the continent.
So Senegal isn’t as bad off as a lot of countries in Africa at least, and they have actually made some real strides in building their economy over the last couple of decades, particularly in relying less on agriculture, and with the help of foreign assistance and investment, have built up their manufacturing sector quite a bit lately.
Senegal achieved its independence from France in 1960 and has been one of the more politically stable countries in Africa. The official language here is French and the main religion is Islam with over 90% of the population being Muslim. (1)
Senegal’s tourism has really grown as well, and now is a major sector of their economy, and they get over a million tourists a year now. They still get a good many of them from France but have now expanded into bringing in more and more from other African countries as well as from the United States. (2)
In spite of being a Muslim country and having religious leaders play a prominent role in the country’s governance and laws, gambling is legal in Senegal. It’s not just legal for the tourists like it is in some Muslim countries, where they consider it to be morally wrong but don’t mind foreigners gambling in their country provided their own people don’t engage in it, Senegalese are also welcome to gamble here.
What is really unusual about Senegal is that the majority of Muslims here don’t even consider gambling to be morally wrong. So they have both casino gambling and the lottery to gamble at, and many people here do gamble. (3)
Senegal has a total of 4 land based casinos, with 3 in the capital and largest city of Dakar, and the other one in Saint Louis, a much smaller city in the northwest Senegal. There are a total of 34 table games and 170 slot machines, most of which are at the Casino Terrou-Bi in Dakar, and the other 3 are very small. (4)
The casinos are well out of reach for the majority of the country’s population though, but many do play the lottery, and Senegal has expanded it to an electronic horse racing and sports simulation of sorts, and they are on the cutting edge with their virtual 3D offerings, which can be played at both retail outlets and through the internet for those with internet access. (5)
Playing Poker in Senegal
Senegal’s internet penetration is actually pretty decent by African standards, with about a quarter of the population having access to the internet. This means a market of over 3 million people, and in addition to playing the lottery and virtual horse racing and other simulations online, Senegalese also take advantage of foreign online gambling sites, including playing online poker.
It’s not like poker is booming here, but there are definitely some Senegalese that do play online, and some are even becoming somewhat famous, like Dakar businessman Muhyedine Fares, who recently made the final table of a Poker Stars EPT event in Monte Carlo.
So this is helping get the word out about poker more, although it didn’t help that Poker Stars no longer offers play to players from Senegal, citing it as one of the “gray areas,” although there’s no real reason to classify Senegal this way, although in many cases the grayness appears to be the size of the market, and Senegal is not a very big online poker market, not yet anyway.
Fares was introduced to the game in the Dakar casinos, and this got him interested enough in the game to start playing online, and Dakar indeed has some live poker at its casinos.
All 3 of Dakar’s casinos have poker rooms, although they are small and there’s only 8 full time poker tables in Senegal, although they at least have live poker and this is a good start for sure.
Senegal also does have a modest number of poker tournaments that run here with prize pools nice enough to attract quite a few foreign players, and in fact the foreign players dominate the leader boards, although there are some Senegalese players on them as well.
In spite of what Poker Stars thinks, most of the top poker sites do not consider Senegal to be an undesirable market at all, and warmly welcome Senegalese. It’s actually quite easy to find a great poker site that will accept you if you are a Senegalese poker player and either want to give online poker a try or are looking to switch to a better online poker site from the ones you currently play at.
Top Online Poker Sites Accepting Players from Senegal
4 out of our top 5 best online poker sites in the world take players from Senegal, so once again, you’ve got a real good selection to choose from. So here are our top 4 picks for you, and all will welcome you with some extra free poker cash as an incentive to give them a try.
888 Poker is as good as it gets in the world of online poker, and they are our highest rated online poker site in the world in fact. They also have been named online poker site of the year several years running. They have been around since the beginning of online poker and have only gotten better over the years, in their march to the top. This is definitely a poker site all players want to check out.
The iPoker Network hosts both our number 2 and number 3 picks for you, which are Titan Poker and Bet 365 Poker. The iPoker Network is the world’s largest online poker network in terms of traffic, consisting of dozens of online poker sites, but these two are the two best on there. Those who enjoy sports betting will particularly enjoy Bet 365’s award winning sports betting platform, and they are among the world’s most popular sports betting sites as well. Titan has made their name more in poker but both offer some great poker.
Finally, Black Chip Poker has been one of the smaller sites that caught our attention a while back, and our only concern here was the lesser traffic that they were getting, but that’s not the case at all anymore as their traffic levels are now almost up to what our other top sites get. There’s a reason why Black Chip Poker has grown so much lately and it has to do with this simply being a great place to play online poker. Check them out as well if you like.