Botswana has begun issuances of preliminary licence applications for betting, totalisers and gambling machines, along with answering public questions regarding all of the licences being afforded.
The final version of the bookmaker and totalisator “Request For Approval (RFA) document” has been released and is currently available for purchase at the price of BWP2,5000 (€171).
The Botswana Gambling Authority has explained that the RFA document is:
A guidance document that shall be used to provide information on the process and the information required from applicants to be assessed for the award to the successful operators.
The closing date for application purchase is July 7, 2023. Subsequent to this, there will be a “Applicants’ Conference” held on July 20, 2023, by the Gambling Authority, with attendance compulsory.
Botswana planning industry construction
These actions come in lieu of the overall plans for Botswana to both improve regulations and encourage the growth of its gambling market.
Starting in June 2020, Botswana began this process by awarding its first internet lottery licence with firm intentions already in place to commence the approval of sports-betting licences not even a year later.
This stance is also evident in the gambling authority’s attempts to clarify any and all misgivings or confusions possibly garnered from the release of the RFA document.
The regulator published a response in conjunction with the release of the document answering any public comments or queries, with a specific focus on outlining amendments to the document in question which were first revealed in draft form in March of this year.
The acting CEO of the Botswana regulatory, Peter Kesitilwe, has expressed the authority’s great focus on supporting and encouraging operators to register for a licence that now includes provisions for both land-based and online betting.
He cited the loss of potential tax revenue as a key factor in this stance. The exponential growth reflected in the Botswana government’s annual budget has seen a 13% increase between 2022 and 2024’s iterations, the largest recorded in the last 5 years, which has led the southern African nation to seek even further forms of revenue.
Kesitilwe emphasised the importance of harnessing all the revenue possible that is being lost to unlicensed operators stating:
Online betting is now legal, but there are unlicensed operators already active in the market. We want to encourage them to apply. It will improve player protection, increase taxes as well as contribute to responsible gambling developments. Operators need to apply and normalise being regulated.
These plans are being further cemented by developments such as hosting the International Association of Gaming Regulators (IAGR) conference later this year.
SiGMA Africa will be back in 2024. Bringing more of the networking, panels, workshops as well as awards for true pioneers of iGaming on the continent.