The global online gambling market has been strong for a while now but the COVID-19 pandemic has seemingly boosted its growth even further. Seeing as how people are confined to their homes with plenty of free time at hand, many of them are turning to online casinos in order to pass the time and potentially earn some extra money.
The global market is expected to reach $92.9 billion by 2023. So, can countries that have not yet legalized online gambling benefit from doing so in the near future? What is the situation in Zimbabwe? Could the economy be boosted if the country finally chooses to legalize and tax online gambling? Let’s see.
The current gambling situation in Zimbabwe
The practice of gambling is legal in Zimbabwe and players can place bets at land-based casinos as well as at sports betting shops and horse racing tracks. A state-run lottery is also available.
On the other hand, online gambling remains unregulated. It is neither legal nor illegal as there are no specific laws that prohibit the practice. Players do not need to fear prosecution if they choose to bet at one of the many international online casinos.
The Lottery and Gambling Board of Zimbabwe is in charge of overseeing all betting activities in the country and it is expected that gambling laws will soon be updated so that they enable and legalize online betting as well..
Benefits of legalizing online gambling
So, how can Zimbabwe benefit from legalized online gambling? There are many perks to making this practice legal, from protecting gamblers to helping the country.
For starters, having a regulated gambling industry will help protect players. The safety and security of its citizens should always be a country’s priority. If there is no country-approved market that will ensure the people are safe, players have to resort to all sorts of operators that might cheat them out of their money. Once regulated, the players will be able to see which casinos are trusted and licensed. What is more, legalizing online gambling will also attract more players and keep the money inside of the country’s borders.
The country itself can benefit from legalizing online gambling seeing as how revenue that comes from casino taxes can boost the economy by quite a bit. It’s well-known that the odds are always in the house’s favor so if Zimbabwe decides to tax the online casinos on their gross gaming revenue, it could help the country. With GDP per capita at $1,386 according to a 2019 estimate and 70% of the population being below the poverty line in 2017, Zimbabwe should seize this opportunity and legalize online gambling in the near future.
Furthermore, online casinos can also help the tourism industry of Zimbabwe. With the tourism sector being on the rise for the last two years and many attractions for tourists to visit, having online gambling available can only help increase the interest among visitors.
Finally, licensed Zimbabwe-based online casinos could provide new job opportunities in the online sector. From Live dealer positions to developers, HR, and marketers.
Following the lead of other countries
If Zimbabwe decides to legalize online gambling, it would not be the first country in Africa to do so. In addition to many countries worldwide that have provided their citizens with a safe way to place online bets, African nations that have made online gambling legal include Kenya and Nigeria.
Taking the Kenyan example, we can see that it is a unique country in the African gambling industry landscape. As one of the first nations to legalize all forms of betting and casino games on the continent, Kenya has enjoyed various perks thanks to its positive attitude towards the practice. The fact that many young Kenyans are interested in online betting and gambling has attracted many online casino brands to the country, which might also happen in Zimbabwe once certain regulatory measures are taken.
We can also take a quick look at the United States of America. As each state is free to create its own laws concerning gambling, many of them have made the decision to legalize online gambling and thus improve their economy. New Jersey is often seen as the best example of how this sector helped the state’s budget grow. From the launch in November 2013 until June 2017, the online gambling industry of New Jersey surpassed $100 million in tax revenue. What is more, only in November 2020, New Jersey’s sportsbooks generated $931 million in wagers, which produced $6.2 million in state taxes.
If Zimbabwe decides to legalize online gambling, there are many success stories its government can take inspiration from. We can only wait to see whether it will come to fruition soon.