Home to world’s largest waterfall, Victoria Falls – or “The Smoke that Thunders” in the indigenous Lazo language, Zambia is the last sub-saharan country to have no regulation around gaming and casinos. However, along with its growing industry both online and on land, calls for an independent regulator have now become impossible for the government to ignore.
At long last, the government in Zambia has begun to research the possibility of an independent regulator for the country’s 11 land based casinos and plethora of online betting operators.
With 77 table games and 516 gaming machines across the 11 venues, Zambia is far from being one of Africa’s prime gaming hubs, however with the rise of online betting and the proliferation of sub-par operators starting to damage the industry’s reputation, the Gaming Association of Zambia believes regulation can’t come soon enough.
“Zambia has been pushing for a gaming board for some time now. It is the only country in sub- Sahara Africa to have no regulation on gaming and casinos.
Government should speed up the process of coming up with a board because the Zambia Revenue Authority will benefit when they start collecting revenues,” said chairperson Nedson Nzowa, addressing a consultative meeting in Lusaka, Zambia’s capital, last month.
He added that Zambia’s integrity has severely dented following the country’s failure to put in place a proper framework to regulate the lotteries and gaming industry, which could address the challenges currently being faced.
“There are a number of effects that have arisen due to lack of regulation in the gaming and casino industry,” continued Nzowa.
“A number of people have lost money due to lack of regulation. We support you in this industry and we feel you should go a step further and engage a consultant. The proposals we have made will make ZRA to have more revenue than it needs.”
Zambia’s ministry of finance permanent secretary Dr Emmanuel Pamu said the government had decided to begin research and engage the industry to ascertain whether the establishment of an independent regulator would have a positive impact and meet the objectives of harmonising the industry.
“The proliferation of the gaming and lotteries industry is changing the landscape and making the industry more accessible than was the case in the past… government also recognises that the gaming and lotteries industry can contribute to social economic transformation.
This framework approach does not facilitate a consistent approach to licensing, compliance, monitoring and enforcement nor does it protect consumers, operators and vulnerable persons like the underage,” said Pamu.
“Part of the reason we are carrying out this exercise today is to assess whether the proposals to review legislation and establish a single independent regulator responsible for licensing and regulating the lottery and gaming sector will have a positive impact and meet the main objective of strengthening and harmonizing the lottery and gaming regulatory framework in order to preserve the integrity of the nation.”