For the longest time, the majority of Africa’s gambling remained confined to local betting shops and casinos. COVID changed that. With gambling establishments shut down and players locked in their homes, a burgeoning online gambling market appeared in Africa.
Considering the alarming numbers of problem gamblers and gambling addiction horror stories, we thought it best to prepare a helpful quick-start guide to online gambling in collaboration with Casino Guru.
Step 1: Check your local online gambling laws
Since the last thing you want is any trouble with the authorities, the first thing you should do is check your country’s stance on online gambling. It’s not uncommon for land-based gambling to be fully legal in a country, while online gambling is not regulated, or worse yet, banned. As a helpful tool, we recommend this interactive map of Africa’s gambling legislation.
Realistically, you’re most likely to find that your country doesn’t regulate online gambling in any particular way, as that’s a common theme with African countries. Some countries prohibit online casinos, but outside of the surprising inclusion of South Africa in this category, it mainly consists of Islamic nations that ban all gambling forms anyway. The least numerous are states with a regulated online casino industry. Namely, these are Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Namibia.
Again, knowing your local online casino laws can save you a lot of trouble. We don’t condone or encourage playing in any country prohibiting online casinos, no matter how safe you might think it is. You should be careful even when playing in grey markets. Not all casinos play fairly, and should you run into any trouble with your operator, you’ll have no one to turn to for help.
Step 2: Make sure your online casino is trustworthy
Before you start playing, make your first deposit, or even fill out your registration form, you should do your due diligence on the casino of your choice.
1) The Casino’s Reviews and Complaints
Casino reviews can come from various sources, be it professional 3rd party assessments or subjective user reviews. You may find them on dedicated casino review sites like Casino Guru, or on miscellaneous forum threads. But perhaps more informative than that are player complaints. They’ll reveal not only what the most common issues players encounter are, but also how the casino deals with them.
2) The Casino’s Terms of Service
No one wants to really read the Terms of Service or the User Agreement for anything we use. However, it might be in your best interest to make an exception when it comes to online casinos. Company policies regarding deposits, withdrawals, bonuses, fees, and responsible gambling are essential knowledge for any player who doesn’t want to get cheated.
If the Terms of Service aren’t readily available, are confusing, or don’t address one or multiple of the points above, you might want to take your business elsewhere. These could be signs that the operator doesn’t play by the rules and might try to take advantage of you.
Step 3: Consider whether the casino is friendly to you in particular
Now, this step won’t exactly guarantee that you won’t get cheated per se. But realistically, you don’t want to just play in an online casino. You want to get some enjoyment out of it too. There are a couple of things to consider when it comes to that. Let’s start with the most practical things first and work our way down the list.
1) Deposit Options
Most of us use mobile payments for the majority of the things we do on a daily basis. Outside of services like PayPal and e-wallets, Africa doesn’t really have too many other banking options on offer. That’s why it’s crucial to make sure your casino of choice supports at least one of the payment options available to you. Otherwise, you might find yourself unable to play.
2) Customer and Language Support
First and foremost, whichever language is supported, you want the Customer Support to be quick and professional. You never know what kind of issue you might run into, and you don’t want to be stuck waiting for days on end for an e-mail reply, which might or might not be helpful. But disregarding that, being able to talk in your first language or even dialect is undeniably satisfying. It also shows that the casino has a significant stake in the African market and wants to cater to you.
3) Games Offer
Are you a fan of blackjack? Perhaps slots? Or is roulette more your speed? Various casinos can offer widely different games, ranging in quality, design, game rule variations, etc. Feel free to browse around until you find one which can cater to your specific tastes and interests.
4) Design and Audio-visuals
Some may disregard the design of the casino site and its use of audio-visual cues as unimportant. But clunky site navigation, obnoxious sounds, and eye-straining lights are all things, which can ruin both your moment-to-moment and long-term gaming experience. So, it’s best to look for an online casino that won’t offend your particular aesthetic preferences.
And that’s how you choose an online casino and not get cheated in 3 simple steps. We recommend that you take your online casino selection seriously and try to make the right choice. But regardless of what casino you choose, you should remember that gambling can be dangerous. Play safely and responsibly, so that you don’t risk anything more than just your money.