In the last decade, the online casino industry has gone from strength to strength, becoming a billion-dollar industry and captivating players from around the world. Playing card games, roulette, slots and many more at the touch of a screen on smartphones and tablets has drawn a huge new demographic of players who may have never set foot in a brick-and-mortar casino.
And for those who don’t have a casino in their area, live remotely, or have issues with mobility, gambling online is a great alternative. Africa is not exempt from the popularity of online casinos, with huge numbers of people playing on apps and websites all over the continent. But which games are the most popular with Africans? Let’s take a look.
Online gambling in Africa
All across Africa online gambling is popular. Smartphones are widespread, more affordable and user-friendly than ever, and there is no shortage of places to gamble online. Although sports betting is the most popular gambling option in Africa, online casinos are steadily catching up, with the industry growing rapidly, just as it is in the rest of the world. In terms of regulation, there aren’t many restrictions on online gambling, despite its legislative legality in any given country. In any case, this legal grey area means that most Africans can enjoy casino games online if they choose to.
“Iconic” is a word you’ll hear used a lot about casino games. And they don’t come much more iconic than the spinning reels of a slot machine. Slots are popular all over Africa, from simple spin-and-hope slots of yesteryear to high-tech options with cutting-edge graphics, gameplay, levels, and storylines to enjoy. Themed slots are extremely popular – and you can find just about any theme you like from popular culture of the last century. Some examples: old board game classics like Monopoly and Cluedo, blockbuster films like Jumanji and Jurassic Park, even famous rock’n’rollers like Kiss have their own slot games.
The ultimate combination of chance, skill, tactical nous and calmness under pressure, poker is the most popular card game on Earth, played everywhere from the grand casinos in Las Vegas and Macau to living rooms everywhere. Online poker is wildly popular, not just in Africa but worldwide, with many variations such as Texas Hold’em, 7 Card Stud and Pot-Limit Omaha, to name but a few. New places to play are cropping up all the time, so if you can’t find the variation you enjoy playing then take a look at some fresh online casinos like Yeti – read more about Yeti casino here. Embracing ever-developing technology, many online casinos now offer live video poker, where you can see and interact with the dealer and other players.
Like poker, blackjack is a game popular because of its reasonable odds against the house. In fact, in blackjack you’re not competing with fellow players at the table as you do in poker, you play against the dealer. It’s no surprise then, that blackjack’s popularity in Africa matches its popularity around the world. Online casinos feature many themes and variations on the rules to keep the action interesting, and the more cutting-edge casinos do well at evoking the atmospheric ambiance of gambling halls in iconic venues like Caesar’s Palace. Quick, easy to understand and play, and full of tension and excitement, blackjack is a timeless casino classic that everyone from seasoned card players to gambling newbies can enjoy – and win.
One of the oldest casino games available, baccarat was first played as far back as the fifteenth century. Its popularity comes from its relative simplicity, and again, it has favorable odds against the house. Players compete with the ‘banker’, trying to beat the value of the hand. The most widespread variation of the game is punto banco or North American baccarat. It involves quick betting and playing, and is one of the most popular in Africa. Baccarat is another game evocative of elegant and old-school casinos – think 1960s James Bond – though you’ll have to mix your own martinis if you’re playing online.
Another iconic casino game, roulette is a simple game of chance that is exciting and very moreish. Simply place your chips on a number or color, spin the wheel and cross your fingers! It’s perfect for online casinos because it is quick and fun, and the returns can be good if Lady Luck is on your side.
Another game often played across Africa and catered for by online casinos is bingo. It has an unfair reputation as being a pursuit for bored pensioners, but it’s growing into a popular pastime for younger people, especially as online casinos provide graphics, more involved gameplay and skill-based action, while keeping the simplicity at the core.
Online casinos are surging in popularity worldwide, and Africa is following the trend. These are the most popular games, but any casino worth its salt will have a whole host of other options as well.