The government of Zimbabwe has pledged to amend its existing Gambling Act by the end of 2022 to pave the way for regulated online gambling in the country.
At a strategy workshop of the country’s Lotteries and Gaming Board last week, minister of home affairs and cultural heritage Kazembe Kazembe said the current gambling act – which came into force in 2000 – was no longer fit to regulate modern day gambling behaviour.
Edits to the legislation will crucially include provisions for regulated online sports betting and iGaming, while prospective operators will be incentivised to incorporate their technology in Zimbabwe.
Online gambling is officially illegal in Zimbabwe, but the country has a booming grey market that has become rife with international operators.
“Government is losing substantial amounts of revenue through numerous leakages and legislative inadequacies that need to be plugged,” said Zimbabwe’s information minister Monica Mutsvangwa this week.
“The envisaged amendment of the Act will promote easy supervision and monitoring of gaming activities and mitigate money laundering as well as enhance revenue streams.
Zimbabwe information minister Monica Mutsvangwa: “Government is losing substantial amounts of revenue through numerous leakages and legislative inadequacies that need to be plugged.”
“There is a need to adapt to the ever-changing environment through deploying appropriate technologies. Government cannot ascertain the actual levies due to it if it relies on statements provided by the operators.”
The government is currently engaged with technology companies over how it can effectively and efficiently collect revenue and taxes from a regulated gambling market.
Kazembe urged the government to learn from the mistakes of neighbouring African countries that have already legalised online betting in one form or another.
European operators such as 888 and Entain are targeting Africa as a growth territory, despite the fact that betting stakes are lower and mobile connectivity is slower.
Earlier this month, the 888 brand went live in four African countries (Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and Zambia) via its newly formed 888AFRICA joint venture.
Here are five things we learned about launching online gambling in Africa during the annual iGaming NEXT Valletta conference in September.