iGaming in South Africa is fast becoming a vast and lucrative market, with countries such as Zambia leading the charge. But why has the Zambian market enjoyed such sustained growth?
Let’s start with a basic assertion; gambling and betting in South Africa and emerging economies such as Zambia. In fact, these entities are leveraging the lucrative iGaming sector to propel their economic growth, whilst boosting job creation and meeting the demands of an increasingly mobile-friendly generation.
To this end, the iGaming scene in Zambia has bloomed over the course of the last few years, with a number of globally renowned operators now offering verticals to Zambian nationals. Players can also find the best online casinos in Zambia at scams.info/online-casino/zambia/, in order to ensure that they enjoy an immersive and reputable experience.
But how does this market continue to drive growth in the global market, and can this be sustained in the near term and beyond?
Driving Global iGaming Growth But What has Inspired Zambia’s Recent Expansion?
Ultimately, it’s no coincidence that the world’s iGaming market has grown in line with South African nations such as Zambia and Nigeria, with online gambling having generated a global GGY in the region of $75.5 billion in the year ending 2017.
This is likely to increase rapidly in the years to come, with the total revenue from online gambling expected to comfortably break the $100 billion barrier before the end of 2020.
But why is Zambia expanding at such a pronounced and exponential rate? In fact, there are numerous reasons for this, including the exponential rise of mobile gambling and the growing number of middle-class Millennials who are increasingly likely to spend their hard-earned cash online.
The former has coincided with significant growth in the number of mobile Internet users in Zambia, as nationals have benefitted from improved connectivity and access to a wide array of international iGaming platforms. The cost of data services has also been reduced markedly since 2017, when the number of Zambians’ using a mobile browser plunged to just 5.2 million.
In the year ending January 2018, however, the number of mobile Internet users reached a new high of 7.1 million, with a vast proportion of this number thought to wager regularly online using a smartphone or tablet.
This is part of a wider trend in South Africa, where mobile penetration is increasing at a pronounced rate and has recently exceeded the 50% mark.
Commercial Partnerships and Regulatory Changes – Empowering iGaming Growth in Zambia
Whilst the popularity of the iGaming space in Zambia continues to rise in line with the market’s growing accessibility, operators are also being empowered by a series of commercial partnerships with established international brands.
The latest of these has seen Nasdaq Stockholm-listed Scout Gaming launch its innovative fantasy sports product in a number of South African markets, including Zambia. This followed a carefully brokered agreement with international iGaming giants Betway, who retain a strong global presence and a growing range of online gambling verticals.
In addition to Zambia, Betway will also roll out its brand new fantasy sports vertical in South Africa, Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana, whilst there remains to potential additional markets over the course of the next few months.
Whilst the introduction of fantasy gaming isn’t expected to have a material impact on Zambia iGaming revenue for 2019, it undoubtedly has the potential to have a seismic effect on the nation’s online GGY in the next five years.
As iGaming in Zambia has reached an all-time high, regulators are also moving to ensure that online gambling is monetised successfully and transformed into an industry has generative as mining and tourism.
Of course, both the government and regulatory officials are fortunate in that they’re able to build on an existing legislative template when scaling the iGaming sector, with lotteries, sports betting and land-based casinos already already completely legal in Zambia.
This has been the case since 1992, when the longstanding Casino Act repealed the Casino and Gaming Machines (Prohibition) Acts and allowed licensed establishments to lawfully conduct gambling operations.
The only current criticism is that these existing laws don’t directly govern iGaming activity, as they haven’t been effectively or officially updated since 1994 (before the world’s first online gambling website was formally launched). As a result, citizens have been able to access virtual casinos and sports betting hubs through international operators, with only national companies prohibited from selling their verticals.
This loophole is common in a number of countries across the globe, but it’s thought that the Zambian government will soon look to introduce a specific act aimed at regulated online gambling nationwide. This will help to safeguard players and potentially increase the level of market competition, while also enabling the authorities to customise the tax levies payable by online operators.