Zimbabwean government officials visited the MGA in February. As the country prepares to regulate its own gambling operators, it studied MGA practices.
Land-based gambling in Zimbabwe is regulated by the Lotteries and Gambling Act that was passed in 2000. However, since online casinos and sportsbooks were not very common when the Act was written, they are not covered in the legislation.
Until now, betting at desktop and mobile establishments has been perfectly legal in Zimbabwe – almost by default. If nothing is prohibited, bettors and players can’t do anything wrong. On the other hand, launching local operations has been actively discouraged and Zimbabweans have made use of offshore casinos and sportsbooks.
However, all that could be about to change. A delegation of members from the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage of the republic of Zimbabwe, and from the country’s Lotteries and Gaming Board, recently visited the Malta Gaming Authority or MGA. The Zimbabwean representatives requested the meeting in order to learn more about gambling industry regulation.
Why Zimbabwe Chose the MGA
Now that Zimbabwe is on the brink of introducing online regulations, and possibly updating its land-based laws, for gambling, the country’s delegates have chosen an authority that they feel they can trust. The MGA is renowned for its effective monitoring and licensing of gambling operators.
Established back in 2001, the Malta Gaming Authority has shown itself to be very capable of ensuring game fairness, player privacy and operational transparency on the sites that it regulates. Since these are all qualities that Zimbabwe hopes to emulate, the representatives’ decision to travel to Malta in February makes perfect sense.
Exchanging Ideas and Discussions
The MGA says it is always happy to meet with fellow regulatory bodies in order to share knowledge, thus facilitating a better and safer experience for all gamblers. With that in mind, the Authority presented as much information to their Zimbabwean guests as possible.
First their offices in Malta were toured, followed by a discussion on the MGA’s Directorates and staffing. Thereafter, the Authority delivered presentations and related materials on licensing and compliance processes, using a risk-based approach, criminal probity assessments, legal instrument design, and anti-money laundering supervision.
In addition to gleaning valuable advice from the Malta Gaming Authority, the Zimbabwean delegates where able to share their own suggestions for maintaining best practices. Both parties are reported to be satisfied with their meeting, and eager to implement the new ideas they learnt.
A Lucrative Revenue Stream
Zimbabwe’s decision to start regulating a domestic online casino and bookmaker industry is not difficult to understand. This has become on of the most lucrative business sectors in England and other countries, stimulating the economy and providing some much-needed job creation. Citizens’ attitudes towards gambling are changing too, and they are much more receptive to the practice than they have been in the past.
In addition, if online betting sites are properly taxed they can supply an important – and substantial – revenue stream for government and civic works. If used properly, these funds can benefit all Zimbabwean citizens.
As the internet has become cheaper, more widespread and more reliable in Zimbabwe, many more people have been trying their luck by gambling online. Now, as well as reaping economic benefits, lawmakers want to ensure that consumers are protected whenever they use a regulated casino or bookmaker. Sports betting is especially popular in Zimbabwe, as it is in several parts of Africa, and easy online money transfers could make wagering and winning simpler than ever.
By regulating domestic online gambling operators, Zimbabwe has entered a new era. With support and dedication, it is hoped that the country’s economy can start to recover from the way it was destroyed by Robert Mugabe’s decades-long oppressive rule. The generous and knowledgeable Malta Gaming Authority appears to be pleased with supporting such a worthy cause.