Ahead of the first ever ICE Africa Gaming Convention, the gaming industry has been identified as being a key contributor to improving economic growth in Africa.
The ICE Africa Convention in October will bring together 21 African countries with an established gambling industry at the Sandton Convention Centre. According to its website, ICE “is the only B2B [business-to-business] gaming event that truly brings together the international online and offline gaming sectors.” Traditionally held in the United Kingdom by Clarion Gaming, ICE Africa is their first foray outside the UK.
ICE Africa and Their Innovative Ambitions
According to PwC’s Gambling outlook report, Botswana, Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Morocco, Namibia, Uganda, and Zimbabwe expect growth. These countries have a significant gambling population and they will be key areas of focus on the ICE Africa agenda. Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, will see its gambling industry grow by 16% over the next five years. They will also be launching Quick Lotto, a national lottery. According the former chairperson of the senate committee on privatisation and current chairperson of Fortune Games Limited (owners of Quick Lotto), Ayo Arise, around 20% of Quick Lotto’s profits will be directed to Nigeria’s federal government.
Clarion Gaming organisers of ICE Africa want to develop the industry on the continent. Furthermore, they want to put industry innovation on the agenda as gambling regulations become stricter.
Gambling Industry Adds to Economies
PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) Head of Hospitality and Gambling Industry Pietro Calicchio said although South Africa’s economy isn’t performing well, things will improve. “The gambling industry in South Africa will continue to be adversely affected in the near term by slower economic growth, but improving economic conditions over the latter part of the forecast period will aid growth,” Calicchio said. He also highlighted the industry’s contributions to the economy through job creation, capital expansion, and the payment of taxes to provincial and national government.
There are approximately 30 countries in Africa with land-based casinos or other forms of gambling. South Africa is Africa’s most popular gambling destination with an industry worth more than R23 billion. It contributes R26.9 billion into the economy and is projected to grow by more than 5% to nearly R35 billion by 2021, according to PwC.