Malawi is already home to some popular casinos, but insiders feel the industry has huge potential for growth. This could provide a big tourism boost.
Although Malawi has a lot of natural beauty, it has not traditionally had one of the biggest tourism sectors on the African continent. However, the industry has been growing steadily for the past decade, and in the last five years its growth has been especially rapid. The friendly population is another big drawcard, and now the casino trade could provide even more reason to visit.
African Casino Industry on the Rise
In general, Africa is experiencing a boon in land-based and online casinos and sportsbooks at the moment. The former draws a large number of foreign visitors, from Europe in particular, while the latter has seen citizens from African countries take up casino games and sports betting with local and offshore internet-based operators.
Although Europe represents the biggest segment of the foreign tourist market, many visitors from the rest of the world, including the United States, also flock to Africa. Since gambling is already very popular in most countries around the globe, it makes sense that high-quality casinos, in beautiful settings, could prove as lucrative for Malawi as they have for South Africa.
Malawi’s Potential as a Casino Destination
Not only would the additional industry create more revenue in the landlocked south-eastern country through the gambling activities themselves, it would also stimulate the economy by creating a considerable number of jobs in hotels, restaurants, casino floors and other auxiliary services. Las Vegas is well-known for its casino culture and while Malawi may not be able to replicate that, the country could create glamourous experiences with the added attraction of its natural beauty.
Several other cities have modelled themselves on Las Vegas’ successful formula including Monte Carlo, Baden-Baden, Tangier and various destinations in Singapore. Macau, in China, is perhaps the most notable gambling destination after Las Vegas, and 15% of its workforce is employed by the several large casinos and resorts that have flourished in the city.
The Malawian capital, Lilongwe, has been home to a Casino Marina destination since 2016. In the four years since it opened its doors, the Casino Marina Lilongwe has become a major tourist destination, boasting table games, slots, and luxury accommodate. The capital also offers two additional casino venues and has a capacity for at least a few more.
Other venues around the country, such as Blantyre, could also host more gambling venues. The casino industry currently makes up 4% of Malawi’s economy, but the Department of Trade, Industry and Tourism aims to increase that to 13% by the end of the year. With the sceptre of COVID-19 still looming, this will take some skill and dedication. Operators have great optimism that this can be achieved, while industry insiders are watching developments with cautious interest.