Currency: West African Franc (CFA)
Time Zone: UTC
Casinos with Poker
- Terrou-Bi Hotel Casino Marina
- Casino du Port
- Casino du Cap Vert
Senegal, a large and fairly scarcely populated nation on the West Coast of Africa, does have a legal and regulated gambling market. That is despite the fact that around 96% of the population is Muslim, and Islam condemns all forms of gambling, calling it “maisir”.
As Simon’s Gambling Blog points out, it all started with the Senegalese National Lottery being founded in 1966. It originally was a private company, but was later nationalized in 1987. It still remains very popular in the country to this day, especially with the lower class who see it as a quick escape from financial strain.
Luckily, over time, the leniency towards games of chance in Muslim Senegal extended to casino games, sports betting, and poker as well. Worldcasindirecty.com lists 3 casinos within Senegal, all in the capital city of Dakar. Dakar is best known for the annual rally that used to conclude in the city and for still lending its name to that big motorsport event – however, it’s also the gambling center of Senegal.
Also good news is that all 3 casinos have poker rooms. Out of those three, Terrou Bi Casino and Hotel hosts the annual Dakar Poker Tour, which is one of the biggest poker festivals in Africa.
Famous Senegalese Poker Players
The Hendon database tracks the live tournament results of 60 Senegalese players. However, for some reason, they don’t rank them by their live tournament winnings – rather, by the number of cashes they made. Sadri Saleh and Salif Dia are tied in the top spot of that list with 14 career cashes each.
Out of the two, Saleh has more in winnings – he has won $152,156 in live poker tournaments so far. In April 2018, he made it to the final table in the €5,300 Main Event at the European Poker Tour in Monte Carlo. That table featured such poker greats as Patrik Antonius or David Peters. Saleh eventually busted in 9th place for €54,000, which is the biggest single live tournament cash of his career to date.
Meanwhile, Salif Dia has $82,475 in live tournament earnings. His biggest cash is CFA10 million ($16,676), which he got for a 5th place finish in the CFA2,300,000 High Roller event at the 2018 Dakar Poker Tour.
– Playing Live Poker in Senegal –
Live Poker Legislation in Senegal
As we wrote in our intro, the first piece of legislation that legalized any type of game of chance – namely, the lottery – was passed in 1966. The current gambling law in place is the 1975 amendment of that legislation.
The national lottery in Senegal is called LONASE. It became a state-run company in 1987. With the nationalization, they also became the authoritative body that oversees all gambling in the country, which includes licencing and regulation.
Live Poker Venues in Senegal
The Terrou-Bi Hotel Casino Marina in the capital city of Dakar has been the home to the Dakar Poker Tour since 2012. Not only is it the biggest poker tournament series in Senegal, but it is also one of the biggest on the entire continent of Africa.
They offer events with buy-ins ranging from CFA150,000 ($272) up to CFA2,000,000 ($3,628). Their Main Event’s buy-in is CFA880,000 ($1,596).
They also have a year-round poker room with 10 cash tables running from 9 pm to 5 am every day. However, they do not list any information about the stakes or the game types on their website.
At Casino du Port, also in Dakar, you can play cash games with “buy-ins” CFA30,000 or CFA100,000. If this refers to the minimum buy-in at the tables, which is usually 50 big blinds, that means that they’re running CFA300/600 ($0.50/$1) and CFA1,000/2,000 ($1.80/$3.60) cash games – presumably No Limit Hold’em.
Their tournament schedule is a lot clearer, they run NLHE tourneys, with buy-ins between CFA10,000 ($18) and CFA200,000 ($363).
You can also find running poker rooms at Casino du Cap Vert – however, outside Dakar, it’s hard to find action.
– Casinos and Poker Rooms in Senegal –
Terrou-Bi Hotel Casino Marina
Casino du Port
Casino du Cap Vert
Online Poker in Senegal
While online poker isn’t regulated in Senegal, it’s definitely not illegal either. There’s nothing in the Senegalese penal code that dictates punishment for foreign gambling sites, or people playing on foreign gambling sites.
Despite that, the biggest online room, PokerStars decided to pull out of Senegal completely, labeling it as “a gray area”. Other major poker sites, however, such as partypoker, GG, or Unibet, don’t restrict anyone from the region, so the Senegalese are free to play on those sites.