The uneasy relationship between online betting and mobile money transactions
By Victor Odundo Owuor
The growth in mobile money services has created new opportunities for merchants to sell their products and services. One of these is the fast-growing sports betting sector which has taken a number of African countries by storm.
What’s further spurred the growth is rapid internet penetration. Consumers now have easy access to online sports betting services even in remote areas. Countries like Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Uganda, Senegal, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Tanzania are seeing a huge expansion in sports betting and other forms of gambling.
Betting on major European soccer leagues, as well as local and national teams, has become a multimillion-dollar industry. Much of this betting is done on mobile phones with studies showing that mobile platforms are quickly becoming the preferred means of gambling.
The combined size of the gambling industry in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa is projected to be worth USD$37 billion in 2018. In Kenya alone, a 2017 study found that an estimated 2 million individuals engage in mobile-based sports betting.
Photo courtesy of Scott Mainwaring.