Zimbabwe government cracks down on illegal gambling

Garance Limouzy 4 weeks ago
Zimbabwe government cracks down on illegal gambling

In Zimbabwe, the government, led by Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Kazembe Kazembe, has issued a warning against illegal gambling activities. The authorities have committed to shutting down and prosecuting entities or individuals operating without approval from the Lotteries and Gaming Board of Zimbabwe (LGB).

Section 31 of the Lotteries and Gaming Act provides the legal basis for this regulation. It specifies that both organisers and participants in unlicensed gaming activities can face fines of up to $400, imprisonment for up to one year, or both.

Risks to public safety

Minister Kazembe pointed out the serious dangers posed by illegal gambling operations, noting their threat to public safety and the undermining of ongoing regulatory efforts. He strongly urged citizens to exercise caution and avoid engaging with these illegal establishments.

He declared: “It poses a serious risk to public safety as unsuspecting people of Zimbabwe are targeted and victimised by this flagrant violation of the law. We urge the public to avoid patronising these illegal gaming shops and casinos.”

“We will work with the relevant authorities to ensure that those operating outside the law are brought to justice. We are committed to ensuring that gaming operations in Zimbabwe are conducted in a safe and regulated environment,” Kazembe added.

The need for updated regulations

The Lotteries and Gaming Act, originally enacted in 1998 does not cover online gambling, leaving operators in a legal grey area. As online gambling gains popularity across Africa, the Zimbabwean government acknowledges the need to update its legislation.

“The country’s current legislation is insufficient to address current trends,” recognised the Zimbabwe Lotteries and Gaming Board. The government has announced plans to amend the Lotteries and Gaming Act to include provisions for online betting.

Former Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Mutsvangwa, explained that the new amendments would provide mechanisms to monitor betting activities and reduce money laundering. “The envisaged amendment of the Act will undoubtedly promote easy supervision and monitoring of gaming activities, mitigate money laundering, and enhance revenue streams,” Mutsvangwa declared.

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