Zimbabwe reacts to African gambling surge

Zimbabwe reacts to African gambling surge

Thursday, May 21, 2015 Totally Gaming
Gambling turnover has risen across Africa in recent years

Zimbabwe’s government has ceased awarding betting licenses as it attempts to limit a surge in gambling that is being reported across Africa.

Despite as many as 90 per cent of the population being considered “unemployed or under employed” according to a report by the Labour Economic and Development Institute Research, anecdotal evidence across the country has suggested a huge increase in the number of gambling premises in recent years.

A report by the United Nations last year described “phenomenal growth” of the gambling industry in Zimbabwe.

“We need to control betting, because we can’t be betting everywhere,” Deputy Home Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi told news agency Bloomberg. “There are now too many operators.”

The Lotteries and Gambling Board is the country’s regulatory body responsible for licensing and controlling and monitoring operations of the gambling industry through the Lotteries and Gaming Act which came into operation in 2000.

In Nigeria, a News Agency of Nigeria report indicated that about 60 million citizens between 18 and 40 years of age are spending up to $9m (€8.1m) on sports betting daily.

The Gaming Board of Tanzania estimates that in 2012, gambling financial transactions totalled $291m, which represents a 20 per cent increase from gambling expenditure in 2011 – creating well over $10m in revenue for government.

In Uganda there are over 2,000 active operators that have contributed to what Action Aid called a “new driver of chronic poverty among young people”, but raised $3.6m in taxes last year.

Manzi Tumubweinee, the chairman of Uganda’s National Lotteries Board, said: “Although the gaming industry has had a positive impact on the economy by providing business and employment opportunities, there is a need for a strong regulatory framework to protect society from harmful effects.”

In a report on Africa’s gambling industry entitled ‘Raising the Stakes in Africa Gambling Outlook: 2014-2018’ released in November 2014, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) said the gambling industry in Nigeria and Kenya will grow more slowly during the next two years as economic growth slows in those countries, while in South Africa, a major gambling centre, growth will remain sluggish.

The report added: “Of the three countries included in our analysis, South Africa has by far the largest overall gambling market, as well as the largest land-based casino gambling market.

“Gross land-based casino gambling revenues totalled $1.6bn in South Africa in 2013 compared with only $40m in Nigeria and $18m in Kenya.”

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