iGaming adoption in the region is led by Kenya.

OCR Editor. - February 22, 2023
Kenya 3D Map with Gambling related images

Kenya has emerged as a front-runner in adopting iGaming, which refers to online gambling or other digital platforms. With a growing number of players and growing investment in the industry, Kenya is setting a high level for other countries in the region to follow. Let's explore the factors contributing to Kenya's success in iGaming adoption.

Kenya's residents of over 55 million, with approximately 50 percent over 18, represent a significant potential market for iGaming firms looking for subscriber gain. 

Kenya has already established itself as a fertile ground for such expansion-driven companies. One reason for this is the high mobile penetration rate in the country, which is the highest in sub-Saharan Africa at 61 percent. This puts Kenya ahead of almost all other countries in the region, such as Zambia, Tanzania, and Nigeria. Moreover, over half of the mobile users in Kenya own a smartphone, which opens up even more opportunities for iGaming companies to engage with potential customers.

Another factor contributing to Kenya's iGaming potential is internet connectivity. The median mobile internet connection speed via cellular networks in Kenya is 13.2 Mbps, higher than the median fixed internet connection speed of 8.6 Mbps. This means that players can enjoy seamless and uninterrupted gameplay experiences, which is crucial for the success of iGaming platforms. In light of these factors, Kenya is an attractive market for iGaming companies seeking to expand their subscriber base and grow their business.

Kenya's position as the largest economy in East Africa and a nation with a strong passion for football has created a unique opportunity for the online gambling industry. Although Kenya's nascent online gambling market was estimated to be worth just US $40 million in 2020, this figure is expected to grow as the industry becomes more established. Sports betting is the dominant market segment in Kenya, with many football fans supporting Premier League and European league clubs. This has led to over 30 licensed sportsbook operators patronized by locals, making Kenya the third-largest gambling market in Africa by revenue, following South Africa and Nigeria.

Despite being a relatively new market, Kenya has the greatest number of young players and the highest average spend in Africa, which reflects the country's growing middle class and increasing access to digital technology. This presents a significant opportunity for iGaming companies looking to expand their operations and attract a new generation of regional players. In conclusion, Kenya's passion for football and its growing economy is creating a favorable environment for the online gambling industry to flourish, which is expected to contribute to its future growth and development.

In Kenya, there is an established brick-and-mortar casino market that operates in the main cities, with a total of 30 licensed casinos. These casinos offer a range of popular games, including roulette and poker, which are played at over 200 tables. Additionally, there are over 1300 slot machines available for players to enjoy.

The online sports betting industry in Kenya was pioneered by SportPesa, which received its license over a decade ago. According to GeoPollSportPesa is still among the famous online betting platform in Kenya, with slightly over 80% of Kenyan gamblers reporting that they have an account with the operator. Other popular operators in the country include 22bet, Betway, Betin, Elitebet, Betika, Mcheza, and Betpawa.

While online sports betting is the dominant form of gambling in Kenya, online poker and casino games are also gaining traction. This industry segment is growing rapidly, although it still needs to catch up to sports betting in popularity.

Most Kenyans, who comprise two-thirds of the population, live far from betting shops. As a result, nearly 90% of rural gamblers place their bets using their mobile phones. Furthermore, the Kenyan economy remains primarily cash-based, with limited traditional banking and credit card usage. This presents a unique challenge and opportunity for iGaming companies looking to expand in Kenya and other African countries.

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