12September 23

The Changing Face of Lottery and Gaming in Africa

Africa, the second largest continent, is situated south of Europe and between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. About 11,700,000 square miles (30,303,000 square kilometres). It is home to 54 proud nations, one of the largest populations on the planet and rich cultural & linguistic diversity. It is also home to a young population, improving digital accessibility and growing economies. It implies that there are ample business opportunities for investors from around the world. This is not limited to just a certain country but we are talking about the entire region. Most importantly, we are concerned with its potential in terms of the lottery & gaming business. It has defied setbacks and shown resilience in the face of adversities such as pandemic outbreaks or economic setbacks.

Skilrock recently sponsored a webinar on this topic and it was a huge success. Attendees came from different backgrounds and nationalities. All speakers were deeply involved in the discussions and shared insights and experiences on running a lottery business in Africa. To sum it up, it covered the exponential growth potential in the gaming industry, emerging opportunities, regulations in the booming African gaming market, attracting players in the digital era, digital payments in iGaming, the need for an omnichannel & omnigaming approach, and much more. This blog covers all the highlights from the event in detail.

Challenges in African Gaming Market

Let's start with a few numbers. Africa's GDP is calculated at 3 trillion dollars in 2023 and a 30 per cent YoY growth is expected in the next few years. The statistics clearly show that there is a huge potential for lottery & gaming businesses to benefit from this growth trajectory. However, this is accompanied by challenges which are explained below:

Problem: It's clear that this is far from being a homogeneous market. In fact, it is just the opposite of it. While diversity makes it culturally rich, it adds to the complexity of running a business. It not only applies from country to country, but to multiple regions within a country as well. We must also incorporate the legislative complexities into our discussion as business cannot run properly without appropriate legislation.

Solution: The speakers made it clear: one size does not fit all. Hence, 'business modelling' should be realistic and set to fulfil the needs of local players. It includes languages, cultural appropriation, local rules and internet penetration.

Problem: Many investors want results in the short term. This creates unrealistic expectations and hurt the market's growth as well.

Solution: 'Awareness' can be a catalyst of healthy growth opportunities for investors and realistic growth. Industry veterans have a huge role in shaping the perspectives about the continent.

Problem: The continent is affected by several geopolitical issues and accessibility to 'digital mediums/tools' is not equal. It is difficult to manage such crucial factors.

Solution: in such scenarios, having a local partner is crucial to understanding and compiling with local sensibilities. It should be noted that Africa has been at the forefront of many notable innovations such as mobile money. So, it shows that people are receptive to innovation and creative ideas.

Of course, there are more challenges in the region. These crucial points will be discussed later in this blog.

Role of Technology & Digital Divide

This is a no-brainer. The lottery & gaming business relies heavily on technology adoption. In Africa, mobile applications can go a long way in accelerating the growth of the industry. This should be supported by personalisation and analytics tools. This will help lottery operators in understanding popular trends and changing player behaviour. Most importantly, it'll be used in optimizing marketing and promotional campaigns.

As understanding players becomes easier with cutting-edge tech, it may help in enhancing player engagement and even ensuring responsible gaming practices.

Moving on to the persisting topic of the digital divide. As mobile is the primary mode of internet in Africa, improving 4G and 5G connectivity in different cities and villages should be the focus. In addition, all websites should be responsive and optimized for local gaming habits

Other key points are:

  • Pricing is a major factor
  • We need exciting & fresh content
  • The product lineup should be easily accessible
  • AI and VR are potential disruptors
  • Omnichannel & omnigaming hold importance in the region

Sports Betting Vs Lotteries

The sports betting industry is booming in Africa and showing signs of solid growth. It means that other segments may have to play catch up. So, the question is: How can other segments like the lottery, casino, etc. grow with it? What innovations - technologies or strategies - can help them? The webinar jumped on these important questions and experts provided the right answers.

  1. First, there could be a convergence of products and
  2. Lotteries will surely have to improve their appeal
  3. Operators need new games to attract players
  4. They may start selling different products to survive in the market

Panelists also noted that both segments are different and work on different engagement levels. This takes us to our next query.

The Changing Local Laws In Africa

The webinar also touched on the processes of acquiring the necessary licences and anything associated with running a lottery & gaming business in the continent. Experts underlined the importance of clear laws as they help in maintaining transparency and efficiency. They may also better taxation rules and help lotteries to join efforts with payment providers.

The discussion comprised political stability in the region and how it deeply impacts the lottery business. Investors cautiously analyse the political environment before making any investment-related decision. One such notable example was Namibia which has had a safe environment for a long time. This has helped the local gaming community as a whole.

Privatization of Lotteries

Monopoly is not good for any industry. The lottery & gaming business is also dependent on healthy competition. The process of Privatisation can accelerate the competition in the local markets. This will also help in bringing international practices to the regional markets and helps in the revenue generation for governments.


The event was attended by Robin Bowler, Managing Director, Way2Go Consulting Ltd, Cameron Green, Gaming Consultant - Africa, F9 Media Group, Purity Wahiu, Operations Manager, Palms Bet, Neil Jasper, Founder & Partner, Winning Strategies Africa and Rouslan Kolev, Operations Manager, Lotto Afro, and moderated by Sujit Lahiry, Executive Director & CEO, of Skilrock Technologies

If you want to watch the webinar, follow the link! Skilrock Technologies will continue to support such influential thought leadership platforms in the near future. Stay tuned for more!