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Concerns over surge in smartphone gambling

Publish date: 02 December 2019
Issue Number: 852
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: Telecoms

When one talks about young Africans using smartphones, the dominant narrative is that these gadgets serve mostly as platforms for connection so that users can communicate and share greetings and information via text and images. In an analysis on the IoL site, Victor Owuor notes that Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp and Signal take pride of place in that description, despite their murkier side. ‘What has perhaps been overlooked is how smartphones are also affecting other facets of young people’s lives. One area is the ever-growing community of sports betting in Africa. Recent polls and anecdotal reports point to a grim scenario, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. A 2017 GeoPoll survey found that up to 54% of sub-Saharan African youth between 17 and 35 years have engaged in sports gambling. Kenya, with 74% participation in sports betting, had by far the largest percentage of youth involvement in this activity. The survey of some 2 726 African millennials was conducted in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, SA, Tanzania and Uganda.’ Owuor notes that a core driver of this trend has been the growing ubiquity of mobile telephony around the continent combined with the availability of smartphones. ‘Added to this has been greater connectivity – including satellite access to sport matches – and a ballooning population of young people with high levels of unemployment.’

Full analysis on the IoL site