Let’s Talk About Gambling in Côte d’Ivoire
Are you interested in the Ivorian gaming/gambling industry; here are a few information and titbits to the best of my knowledge to guide you.
First of all, before we talk about gambling in the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, also popularly known as Ivory Coast, let’s talk briefly about the nation itself.
Ivory Coast is a West African country with Yamoussoukro and Abidjan as the capital cities (Abidjan is the economic capital). The country has a population of about 26.4 million and the largest cities are Abidjan, Abobo and Bouake.
The country is bounded to the north by Mali and Burkina Faso, to the east by Ghana, to the south by the Gulf of Guinea, to the southwest by Liberia, and to the northwest by Guinea. It covers a land mass of 322,463 km and the local currency is West African CFA Franc
Like some African countries, the country suffered its own share of financial mishaps. They went into recession in the late 80s to early 90s, coupled with political instability but reports have it that the country is gradually making its way to a certain degree of financial stability.
Land based Casino Gambling
Gambling in most of its form is legal and regulated in Ivory Coast, which includes land-based casino. However, there is currently only one land-based casino operating in the country. The casino is located at Hotel Ivoire Inter-Continental & Casino in the economic capital city of Abidjan.
The sole casino offers all the popular games like blackjack, poker, and roulette amongst others.
Sports Betting (Virtual) Gambling
Sports betting is one of the most popular forms of gambling around the world and it is no different in Ivory Coast, considering that sports is a popular activity in the country, especially football. (With Didier Drogba, Yaya & Kolo Touré, Salomon Kalou etc. as Ivorians; of course, the country will be into football).
The national football team has even competed in the last 3 World Cups. So yes, betting on sports is legal and allowed in Ivory Coast. However, sportsbetting is a monopoly of LONACI and there are no known private Ivorian bookmakers operating in the country.
LONACI sells its tickets through their partner website; Parions Direct.
Lottery is a form of gambling that is quite common all over the world, and in Ivory Coast, the national lottery is issued and operated by Loterie National de Cote d’Ivoire, known as LONACI, established in 1970. http://www.lonaci.net.
Players from Ivory Coast can buy lottery tickets from LONACI registered lottery agency (ies) throughout the country.
Cryptocurrency trading is a form of trading using digital currency. This form of trading occurs mostly via the internet so it can be classified in the same category, as online gambling. (It is still debated on whether this activity can be classified as gambling, at all)
Well, like most African countries, Ivory Coast does not have any specific laws regarding the regulation of cryptocurrency/Bitcoin gambling or trading, however you decide to call it.
Online gambling is not specifically regulated in the country. However, like other forms of gambling in the country, the online gambling market is state monopolized. There is a gambling portal run by LONACI, which is currently operated for the regulatory body, by a software service provider run by a Ghanaian, to provide online games like sports betting, horse racing.
It is also reported that LONACI has a deal with the French PMU (Pari-Mutuel Urbain) French state-owned horse racing betting, which allows Ivorian bettors to place bets on French horse races. These betting options can be accessed through the operator’s website or through their mobile app.
Also, there is the option for players to visit foreign gambling websites that accept bets from players within the country.
Though using unlicensed gambling websites is considered illegal in the country, no player has been prosecuted for using it. (It is left for players to only place bets with legally operated websites to avoid scams).
There is no standardized licensing process (fees, requirements etc.) for gambling businesses in the Cote d’Ivoire, especially for online, as everything is set up through LONACI’s lottery portal. LONACI is solely responsible for every form of gambling operation in the country and the few deals made by them in the industry, is the only sort of gambling licensing deal in the country, and it is not looking like that is about to change anytime soon.
Hopefully, the government will realize the financial opportunities inherent in opening up the market, even if all potential licensees will key into the market through the LONACI online and mobile portal.
Responsible Gambling Promotion
LONACI in a well-structured gaming regulatory body, with a good reputation for taking player complaints and protection very seriously, and they are always out to take action when required.
Players engaging in bets with online gambling sites other than LONACI approved one, should be careful and ensure that they bet only with verified sites that have stellar reputation, in order to mitigate problem gambling.
Gaming is Fun! Addiction is real! When the Fun Stops, Stop!