Gambling in Sub-Saharan Africa: Traditional Forms and Emerging Technologies

Byron Bitanihirwe, Tunde Adebisi, Christopher Bunn, Derrick Ssewanyana, Paul Darby, P J Kitchin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
140 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose of Review
The gambling industry in Africa has seen substantial growth and evolution over recent years with a growing body of literature describing these shifts. Here, we provide a narrative synthesis of the extant literature on the origins, trends and consequences of the expansion and intensification of the commercial gambling industry in sub-Saharan Africa with a reference for future research on gambling as a growing public health concern.
Recent Findings
The historical shift and permeation of gambling in sub-Saharan Africa is diverse with evidence of certain countries following a neo-colonial logic. Advances in technology have made gambling more accessible and created new markets in Africa. A key motive driving gambling on the continent is a lack of stable employment. While the intensification and growth of Africa’s gambling industry has brought economic benefits to some African investors and individuals, this has been accompanied by a range of gambling harms. Legislation and policies designed to better regulate the gambling industry and redress these harms are needed. In this context, a small number of services and campaigns designed to mitigate gambling harms demonstrate promise, but more research is needed in this area.
The gambling industry in sub-Saharan Africa has undergone a dramatic transformation. While it is true that the growth of the African gambling industry has provided an additional revenue stream to governments, it is also necessary to acknowledge the concurrent rise in gambling addiction and the health-related and social harms that it elicits. As such, designing effective regulatory measures and policy interventions that can reduce the public health burden of gambling harms is vital. However, these interventions need to take in to account the significance of cultural differences that exist among countries on the continent.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-384
Number of pages12
JournalCurrent Addiction Reports
Issue number4
Early online date25 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished online - 25 Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Ackioiclcd~/,ierit. This work was sponsored by the Center for Advanced Nondestructive Evalu- ation, operated by the Ames Laboratory, USDOE, for the Air Force Wright Laboratory/hlnterials Directorate under Contract No. \V-7405-ENG-82 with Iowa State University.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).


  • Addiction
  • Africa
  • Gambling
  • Interventions
  • Policy
  • Technology


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