Positive growth projections for South Africa's gambling market

By 2021, the South African gambling market is reportedly expected to have at least $35 billion ($2.49 billion) in annual gross revenues and total taxes of about $3.5 billion ($249.49 million) annually.

According to a report in the Johannesburg-based Business Report, this prediction is contained in the sixth annual edition of the "Football Odds Today", published by the professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited.

The newspaper reports that the projected total gross gaming revenue in 2021 will increase by more than 29 percent from last year's figure of ZAR 27 billion ($1.92 million), and tax deductions will also significantly exceed 2016's figure of just over ZAR 2.7 billion ($192.75 million).

The study also reported that South African casinos, which directly employ more than 10,000 people nationwide, accounted for about 66 percent of gross gambling revenue last year and paid 1.8 billion South African reais ($128.84 million) in taxes, while the betting sector came in second with a combined contribution of 430 million South African reais ($30.73 million).

The newspaper explained that bingo was noted as the industry's fastest-growing sector, as its gross gaming revenue increased 36.6 percent last year compared to the previous year. The activity reportedly accounted for 5 percent of total revenue, up 1 percent from 2015, with the province of Gauteng leading the way as it recorded a 37.6 percent increase to A$813 million ($58.13 million).

A PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited study also predicted that by 2021, total annual gross gaming revenue from bingo will reach A$2.2 billion ($157.37 million), representing a cumulative growth of nearly 12%.

Finally, after declining annually for all four years through 2016, lottery sales reportedly increased in 2016, with cumulative revenue up 34.7% over 2015 to ZAR 2.98 billion ($213.17 million).

Pietro Calicchio of PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited told Business Report that South Africa's gambling industry "will continue to be negatively impacted in the near term by a slowdown in economic growth," while improving conditions closer to 2021 "will support growth."

"The industry remains an important contributor to the economy through job creation, continued capital expansion and tax payments to both the provincial and national government," Calicchio told the newspaper.

On a darker note, Calicchio said the illegal gambling market remains a "problem" in South Africa and last year caused the country to lose about 3,785 jobs and about 1.9 billion rand ($135.96 million) in gross domestic product.