Africa is in the middle of riding a massive gaming and gambling wave. Many African countries have embraced online gaming, casino gambling and sports betting to the fullest. Data released by Statista estimates that the casino gaming niche alone will be worth $30 million (US) in 2022, which will rise to $44 million (US) by 2026.
Of course, not all African countries are embracing the gambling industry to the same degree. Zimbabwe is one country that has always held gambling at arm’s length. In most social circles, casinos and sports betting have always been frowned upon and seen as a vanity. But are things about to change? Will Zimbabwe join the gambling revolution in Africa soon?
Gambling in Zimbabwe
There is a reason why one of the world’s biggest gambling groups is planning to set up in Africa. Entain, formerly known as GVC Holdings, has launched a subsidiary dedicated to its planned growth in Africa. The group owns 51% of a company called Impala Digital, which will operate as the vehicle for a sports betting platform on the world’s second most populated continent. In fact, it may be the case that many of us already use Entain services, the owner several brands on multiple platforms and countries, one of the most prominent being Party Casino, which is already planning to open in multiple new countries this year.
These new and exciting services may be earmarked to land in Zimbabwe as well, especially after shifting opinions on casino gaming and sports betting within the country. Although most forms of gambling have been a long-time legal activity in Zimbabwe, many locals saw these activities as a social vice or vanity. Most people who did place bets sparingly did so on the state lottery, horse racing and the odd casino game.
However, times are changing. Urbanised areas of Zimbabwe are seeing an influx of sports betting shops. They become most busy when the football leagues in Europe get underway, with plenty of Premier League, Serie A and La Liga fans on Zimbabwean soil. There are also more casinos available, many of which are positioned in hotels and resorts that attract tourists – but not exclusively.
It is the switching attitudes and demand for betting services that could help Zimbabwe ride the gaming boost in Africa. Along with countries like South Africa. The growing industry has the potential to create jobs and improve the lives of many people. However, if the reason for gambling is for quick wins due to living under the poverty line, gambling in Zimbabwe can become a social problem.
Who regulates gambling in Zimbabwe?
The gambling industry is currently regulated by the country’s Lotteries and Gambling Board using the Lotteries and Gambling Act 2000. The board is also responsible for approving and issuing licenses to new casinos and sports betting service providers. Any company that wants to tap into an expanding local market must acquire a legal license from the board.