Gambling Laws in Africa

African Gambling Laws

As the world's second largest continent, in terms of both land mass and population, assessing the state of gambling law in Africa on the whole is an immense task.

After all, the area is home to no less than 54 individual sovereign nations, each operating under its own unique system of governance and rule of law. Among them, countries like Libya and South Africa - respectively occupying the northern and southern ends of the continent - are about as different as any two places on the planet.

Climate, culture, cuisine, and indeed, the law has developed distinctive qualities in each and every one of Africa's disparate collection of countries.

Regional Differences

In the Sudan, the strict tenets of Islamic law forbid all forms of gambling, so people caught wagering on card games or sporting events are subjected to the penalty of public lashing.

Head a thousand miles to the southeast, however, and Kenya offers 13 full-fledged casinos for gamblers to choose from, along with brick and mortar sportsbooks operated by offshore companies, and even a fledgling online casino industry.

Here, gambling is touted as way to boost tourism in major metropolitan areas like the capital of Nairobi, while residents of rural enclaves enthusiastically engage in sports betting on their favorite football clubs.

When the impact that centuries of colonial rule, only recently ended in many cases, is added to the equation, African laws on gambling can often reflect a hodgepodge of local and European custom.

Morocco is heavily influenced by decades of French colonial presence, and accordingly, modern Moroccan culture fuses French staples like casino gambling and the lottery.

Considering the sheer diversity of local custom, codified law, and societal attitude toward gambling throughout Africa, the continent is best examined after breaking it into regional clusters.

Therefore, this page on gambling laws in Africa will cover areas called North Africa, West Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, and Southern Africa.

This method is used to provide a more in depth and accurate assessment of local laws as they exist in "neighborhoods" of nations, in a manner of speaking. We'll offer a generalized take on the region itself, before highlighting specific countries that are particularly amenable to the gambling industry.

Important Notice

For safety's sake, we've flagged any nations which have received an official Travel Warning from the U.S. State Department, Global Affairs Canada, or the U.K. government since January of 2015 in red.

These countries are suffering from governmental instability, ongoing armed conflicts, outbreaks of contagious disease, and other societal issues which Western governments deem worthy of warning their citizens traveling abroad about. Therefore, we wouldn't advise putting any of the red countries below on your African gambling itinerary.

But before moving on to the minor gambling markets scattered across Africa, we'll focus on the three nations which make up, by far, the majority of legal gambling activity there: South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria.

South Africa

Put simply, South Africa is far and away the leader in terms of the African gambling industry.

Despite the country's centuries long history of banning all forms of gambling, which arose under the rule of brutal British colonization, the South African people have always had a penchant for games of chance and skill. The native people were forced to create their own private casinos and card clubs far from the prying eye of colonial administrators, while the British themselves also took to clandestine wagering when the circumstances warranted.

By the time a newly empowered democratic government was installed in 1994, more than 2,000 illegal gambling houses were believed to be operating throughout South Africa. The new government passed the Gambling Act of 1996 to remedy the situation, creating licensing procedures, taxation rates, and extensive regulations to protect consumers.

A total of 40 licenses were awarded initially, both to casinos and horse racing tracks, and a national lottery program was also put into place. The National Gaming Board was created to oversee the South African gambling industry, and over time the country became home to dozens of licensed casinos.

In 2004, in an attempt to incorporate the rapidly growing field of online gambling, the Gambling Act of 2004 was introduced to replace and repeal the original. The National Gambling Amendment Act of 2008 was also passed to further strengthen regulatory oversight while modernizing certain aspects of the local industry.

In 2006 a study conducted by the National Gaming Board revealed that 96.9 percent of South Africans participated in the national lottery, whole 27.7 percent of the population played slot machines, 22.7 percent enjoyed scratch off lottery tickets, and 11.5 percent placed wagers on horse races. Conversely, only 8.3 percent of those surveyed reported no gambling activity whatsoever, and just 5.5 percent gambled infrequently with no regular activity.

Today, gambling in South Africa is a thriving business that serves as the economic engine for several cities and towns.

According to a study titled "Raising the Stakes in Africa Gambling Outlook: 2014 - 2018," which was published by research firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) in November of 2014, South African casinos generated gross gambling revenue of 13 billion South African Rand (USD$1 billion) in 2009.

That figure climbed steadily over the next five years, culminating with a gross gambling revenue mark of R16 billion (USD$1.1 billion) in 2014. The report projects further growth at a 3.9 percent compound annual rate to R20 billion (USD$1.9 billion) in 2018.

South Africa is home to no less than 47 licensed casinos located in 35 different cities, ranging from small intimate venues to mega resorts on par with those on the Las Vegas Strip.

Over 90 percent of the entire casino industry in Sub Saharan Africa is found in South Africa.

Below you'll find an alphabetized listing of the cities where licensed and regulated casino properties can be found in South Africa:

  • Bethlehem
  • Bloemfontein
  • Brakpan
  • Burgersfort
  • Caledon
  • Cape Town (5)
  • Durban (3)
  • East London
  • Empangeni
  • Johannesburg (4)
  • Kimberley (2)
  • Klerksdorp
  • Langebaan
  • Mabopane
  • Mahikeng
  • Mossel Bay
  • Nelspruit
  • Newcastle
  • Pietermaritzburg (2)
  • Polokwane
  • Port Edward
  • Port Elizabeth (2)
  • Pretoria
  • Queenstown
  • Secunda
  • Sun City
  • Temba
  • Thaba Nchu
  • Thohoyandou
  • Upington
  • Vanderbijlpark
  • Viljoensdrif
  • Welkom
  • Witbank
  • Worcester

Online gambling is also spreading rapidly throughout South Africa, and players there are welcome to compete on globally leading platforms like PokerStars, William Hill, and the like. The online gambling industry here includes poker, casino gambling, and sports betting, and the South African government also licenses domestic operators like Springbok Casino to serve locals.

Cape Town is the legislative capital of South Africa, and it's also the country's casino capital, boasting five major casino properties within city limits. The largest casino in all of South Africa is in Cape Town, and within the sprawling GrandWest Casino & Entertainment World complex, players can enjoy nearly 80 table games, a 10 table poker room, and more than 2,500 gaming, slot, and video poker machines.

The worldly metropolitan center of Johannesburg offers world class casino amenities, with Emperors Palace Hotel Casino Resort, Montecasino, and Gold Reef City Casino all standing as top of the line venues. In all, the city has nearly 6,000 gaming machines, 189 table games, and 23 poker tables to choose from.

Poker is especially popular in Johannesburg, and the city plays host to annual stops from prestigious series like the World Poker Tour (WPT).

Kenya

Kenya is home to the second highest casino count on the continent, with 13 establishments found in the country.

Per the PWC report, Kenya's gross gambling revenue nearly doubled from 111 million South African Rand (approximately USD$8 million) in 2009 to R204 million (USD$15 million) in 2014. The figure increased each year over that span as well, signaling a consistent rate of growth for Kenya's casino industry.

Unfortunately for foreign players, travelling to Kenya is not advised by the State Department, due to the threat to life and limb posed by Islamic inspired terror group al Shabaab. Their 2013 attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi made international headlines, after more than 60 shoppers were killed and 150 more wounded.

At a time when the impact of religious violence is being felt all over the globe, the risks entailed by gambling in Kenya at this time simply aren't worth it.

With that said, keep Kenya in mind as a potential gambling destination at some point down the road. If and when the political and social upheaval there come to a peaceful resolution, Kenya's collection of 13 casinos makes it prime real estate for adventure seeking players.

Nigeria

Nigeria has just three operational casinos, with two in the capital city of Abuja and one more in the metropolitan center of Lagos.

As one of the strongest economies on the continent, Nigeria saw gaming revenue grow from R243 million (USD$18 million) to R450 million (USD$33 million) over the same 2009 through 2014 period. With 10 fewer casinos, Nigeria's gambling sector managed to outpace Kenya's by USD$10 million - demonstrating the industry's viability during times of peace and prosperity.

But like Kenya, the people of Nigeria have been succumbed to brazen attacks on "Western" interest by an Islamic terror group. In this case, Boko Haram has made increasing encroachments in recent years, including bombings and massacres targeting foreign tourists.

Although the Nigerian military announced that Boko Haram had been "crushed" and eradicated from the country in December of 2016, the State Department's warning to travelers abroad remains in place.

Hopefully, in the near future, Nigeria can move beyond the reach of groups like Boko Haram and continue the rapid advancement it enjoyed in recent decades. If that occurs, the gambling community may very well have a choice landing spot in Nigeria - but as of today, it's just too dangerous.

North Africa


  • Algeria
  • Egypt
  • Libya
  • Morocco
  • Tunisia

The northern region of Africa, also described as the Saharan region due to the desert of the same name covering most its land mass, mostly consists of countries that lean towards the Middle East in terms of religious and political structure. With coastlines hugging the Mediterranean Sea, these countries are also heavily influenced by centuries of contact with European culture.

Nations like Egypt and Libya have recently experienced traumatic ousters of their federal government, thrusting the state of affairs there into a chaotic state for years to come. When the effects of militant Islam are considered, gambling law in these countries is irrelevant from a practical sense.

Displaying the diversity of Africa though, the Northern region is also where one small coastal nation that permit gambling has emerged.

Morocco

In Morocco, the Casino de Marrakech has been in business since 1952 - four years before the country gained its independence - making it one of the most venerable gambling venues in all of Africa. This would seem to be at odds with Morocco's overwhelmingly Muslim population, but a decree issued in 2002 by the Prime Minister made casino gambling a legal activity.

Of course, the more than 90 percent of Moroccans who practice Islam don't participate in the pursuit, making the casino industry here more of a tourist attraction than anything else.

Today, Morocco is home to eight modern casino resorts, including the Mazagan Resort and Casino in Casablanca, and the Mövenpick Hotel & Casino Malabata in Tangier. Overall, the cities of Agadir (3), Marrakech (2), Casablanca, El Jadida, and Tangier are your best bets to get in the game.

As for those games, the classic casino canon of blackjack, baccarat, roulette, poker, and slot machines can all be found in abundance at Moroccan casinos.

Additionally, the Moroccan government has supervised a national lottery since 1972.

Sports betting in Morocco is technically legal, but strict oversight limits the sector to wagers on the national football team and major international tournaments like the World Cup.

Online gambling is also legal in Morocco, so players regularly access international sites like Royal Panda, Vera & John, and Betsson to participate in internet based casino games.

Finally, poker players from all over the Mediterranean region flock to Casino de Marrakech for the World Series of Poker Circuit (WSOP C) International event, which is held between January 19th and 22nd in 2017.

West Africa


  • Benin
  • Burkina Faso
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Ivory Coast
  • Liberia
  • Mali
  • Mauritania
  • Nigeria
  • Senegal
  • Sierra Leone
  • Togo

The West African region includes more than a dozen countries clustered along the Atlantic coast, the Gulf of Guinea, and the alternating deserts, savannahs, and jungles of the interior.

Culturally speaking, these nations tend to identify more as traditionally African than their neighbors to the north, as the influences of ancient empires like the Mali and Ghana people are still prevalent. Even so, more than 70 percent of the population in West African nations are adherents of Islam, so the previously discussed aversion to all forms of gambling still apply.

Colonization by various European forces - including the French, English, Dutch, Danish, and Spanish - continued from the 19th century through World War II. And as one might expect, this amalgamation of local and foreign customs has combined to create an eclectic patchwork of local laws which cover casinos, card games, sports betting, and other wagering.

Benin

Moving down the list, the tiny country of Benin - where French is still the official language - a 2001 law known as Loi N° 2002 28 du Portant Réglementation des Jeux de Hasard, D'argent et de Paris en République du Bénin. Translated as "Law No. 2002 28 of 29 Regulating Gambling, Money and Gambling in the Republic of Benin," this national gaming act permits licensed casinos to operate there.

Under the law, only state operated casinos are free to provide real money gambling services, and even these are limited to certain hours of the day. As a result, several unlicensed casinos have sprung up over the last decade to meet growing demand.

The one licensed gambling establishment in Benin is the Benin Marina Casino Hotel in Cotonou, the country's largest city. Here, players can enjoy blackjack, slot machines, and American style double zero roulette.

Ghana

The former British colony of Ghana is another small nation with roots dating back to ancient empires like the Ashanti.

As the first African colony to achieve independence, in 1957, Ghana has had a head start when it comes to establishing the governmental framework needed to properly regulate gambling. Of course, Ghana wasn't immune to the societal tumult that plagued many African nations in the 1960s through 1990s, but today it occupies a niche as one of the more modernized areas in the region.

The current legal guidelines for gambling in Ghana were established a decade ago, when the Gaming Act 721 of 2006 was passed through parliament, but laws on the subject have been on the books dating back to the republic's founding.

The Lotto and Betting Act 94 was authorized in 1960, creating a national lottery system as a way of generating tax revenue. During the nation's infancy, Ghana passed laws like the Lotteries and Betting Act 31 of 1960 to address games of chance, the Football Pools Authority Act 78 of 1961for sports betting, the Gambling Machines Decree 174 of 1973 on slot and machines, and the Casino Licensing Decree 320 of 1975.

Senegal

The largest city in Senegal is its capital Dakar, where three major casinos operate under full supervision of the law.

Casino du Cap Vert, Casino du Port, and Terrou bi Hotel collectively house 270 slot machines and 10 table games. The games available include blackjack, roulette, video poker, poker, Ultimate Texas Hold'em, and bingo.

The country also runs a state lottery program known as LONASE, which was established in 1966, but when Law 87 43 was passed in 1987 the Senegalese government assumed full control. Today, LONASE conducts lottery drawings and manages brick and mortar betting shops that accept wagers on horse racing.

Full disclosure: Senegal should be considered a borderline redline country, because travel warnings have been issued for certain regions - namely the Casamance area. Dakar is ostensibly safe from the violence and crime plaguing the Casamance, so we opted to include Senegal here because of its permissive gambling laws and multiple casino properties. Even so, any travel to Senegal should be undertaken with the appropriate level of caution.

Sierra Leone

The state of gambling regulation in Sierra Leone is unclear at the moment, so players should exercise caution.

A national lottery program has been in place there for a while, but Managing Director of the Sierra Leone State Lottery Charles S. Kamara went on record in 2015 to say that six years had passed without action since he requested the establishment of a gambling regulatory body.

Without any progress on that front, gambling in Sierra Leone carries more risk than the game's odds against.

The Bintumani Hotel and Casino in Aberdeen Hill is Sierra Leone's lone casino, so if you happen to make your way here, head to the Western Area and try your luck.

Togo

Other than a single four star hotel and casino resort in the capital of Lomé, there's not much to say about the gambling industry in the tiny nation of Togo.

The Hotel Palm Beach is a glitzy and glamorous destination for jet setting travelers to West Africa, and the attached casino offers a nice reprieve for slot machine and table game fans.

Aside from the Hotel Palm Beach, however, Togo's gambling industry operates on an unregulated basis - so in this case, there's really only one game in town.

Central Africa


  • Cameroon
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • Congo
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Gabon
  • Rwanda / Burundi

Unfortunately, the heart of Africa is currently subject to the whims of warlords, famine, and economic instability - putting six of the seven listed countries in the red.

Boko Haram roams free in Cameroon and Chad, the government in the Central African Republic was recently overthrown, and military clashes between the two Congos and Burundi make travel to this region a dangerous proposition.

Within the chaos there is a lone bastion of modernity and prosperity, as rich oil reserves have transformed Gabon into one of Africa's emerging economic powers. As is usually the case when a populace gains access to more discretionary income, gambling has become more popular with the Gabonese people in recent years.

Gabon

One of the region's few vibrant economies, Gabon is a smallish coastal nation with an extended shoreline accessing the Gulf of Guinea.

As mentioned above, extensive oil deposits recently discovered in Gabon have fueled an economic boom, and an increased affinity for gambling is the result.

In 2005 the government authorized Réglementation Générale des Jeux de Hazard, which translates from French to English as "General Regulation on Games of Chance." Under the law, casino, racetrack, and sportsbook operators in Gabon are subject to a 4.5 percent tax on gambling related revenues.

The capital city of Libreville is home to five major casino resorts:

  • 1Casino Croisette
  • 2Le Meridien Re Ndama Hotel Casino
  • 3Novotel Rapontchombo Hotel Casino
  • 4Okoume Palace Inter Continental Hotel Casino
  • 5Sofitel Dialogue Hotel Casino

Additionally, a sixth casino can be found in the city of Port Gentil.

East Africa


  • Djibouti
  • Eritrea
  • Ethiopia
  • Kenya
  • Somalia
  • Sudan
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda

The Eastern portion of Africa is similar to the Northern region, in that both areas share cultural, linguistic, and legal customs with the Middle East.

Only 200 hundred miles or so of Red Sea separate African countries like the Sudan, Eritrea, and Ethiopia from places like Saudi Arabia and Yemen. As such, the aforementioned ban on gambling activities in Islamic ruled lands applies throughout much of the East Africa region, with five of the eight countries here falling on the red list as unsafe zones.

Three East African nations are amenable to gambling, however, so travelers to the area will have at least a few options to choose from.

Djibouti

Despite having 94 percent of the population as practitioners of Islam, the religion's prohibition on gambling hasn't been adopted by the government of Djibouti.

This small country on the Horn of Africa has regulations on the books which assess a fine of 10,000 francs for operating an unlicensed gambling establishment. That means a licensing process has been put in place, and as a result, several casinos can be found in the capital city (also called Djibouti).

Djibouti Palace Kempinski and the Aden Bay Casino are both attached to four star hotel properties, but the action is typically limited to slot machines only. You'll find 10 table games running in the whole city, as opposed to 65 slots.

Apart from the casino industry, other forms of gambling like sports betting and bingo are not regulated by Djibouti's government.

Tanzania

When most Westerners envision Africa, the typical image that comes to mind is the wide open plains of the Serengeti.

Located on the southeastern coast of the continent, Tanzania is where Serengeti National Park hosts safari fans from around the world. Another icon of Africa can be found in Tanzania, with Kilimanjaro National Park providing the setting for enduring works of literature by Ernest Hemingway.

By virtue of a thriving tourist industry and an advanced democratic government relative to regional neighbors, Tanzania has developed into an emerging economic power. And like Gabon, as the Tanzanian people have expanded their financial horizons, entertainment sectors like the casino gambling and sports betting industries have flourished in kind.

Only a few years after declaring independence from Great Britain, the fledgling Tanzanian government passed the Pools and Lotteries Act of 1967 to regulate the national lottery program. A second law, the National Lotteries Act of 1974, was also passed to amend and enhance existing provisions.

By 1992 a package of laws was enacted to liberalize the Tanzanian economy, with the National Investments Promotions and Protection Act of 1992 producing increased investment in hotel and casino construction. With the goal of boosting tourism to metropolitan areas like Dar es Salaam and Arusha, the Tanzanian government invited foreign entities to compete for the rights to build new casinos.

As the industry expanded, the National Policy on Gaming Activities was developed to address issues like tax distribution and regulation. On July 1st of 2003 the Gaming Act Cap. 41 bill was passed, which created the Gaming Board of Tanzania to oversee regulation of the gambling industry.

The largest city in Tanzania is Dar es Salaam, and no less than seven casinos can be found there, including the five star Palm Beach Hotel and Casino and Princess Casino. Collectively, the city's casino sector spreads more than 650 slot machines and 55 table games. The largest casino in Dar es Salaam is the appropriately named Le Grande Casino, which houses 205 slot machines and 15 table games.

You can also enjoy regulated casino gaming at the two casinos in Arusha (Prime Casino and Safari Casino), and the one in Mwanza (Kings Casino).

SSports betting and bingo halls are also regulated by the Gaming Board of Tanzania, although they aren't nearly as prevalent or popular.

Uganda

The gambling situation in Uganda resembles that of Australia at the moment, as both countries are grappling with the consequences of addiction and overexposure.

Under the provisions of the National Lotteries Act and the Gaming and Pool Betting (Control and Taxation) Act of 2012, regulations on the promotion of gambling - especially sports betting - were tightened considerably.

Even so, a 2015 profile published by Vice News highlighted the proliferation of problem gambling throughout Uganda, where more than 50 licensed operators maintain over 1,000 sports betting shops, small scale casinos, slot parlors, and bingo halls.

But according to Manzi Tumubweinee, who serves as Chairman of Uganda's National Lotteries Board, more than 400 gambling operations in the country are currently conducting illegal enterprises. Tumumweinee instituted a number of reforms to curb illegal gambling, including stricter oversight of the licensing process and stiff fines for violators. He also sought to reduce the impact of problem gambling, issuing a stern warning to Ugandan youth:

"Gaming is not a solution to poverty, it's a means of leisure. Although the problem in our society currently is mass unemployment, you cannot make money where money is not."

As Tumubweinee states, Uganda's 12 land based casinos collectively generate 150 billion Ugandan shillings' (USD$41 million) worth of annual revenue.

Uganda's capital and largest city is Kampala, where eight different casino properties are located. Properties like Kings Casino, Taj Mahal Casino, and Casino Simba are all quite popular with international tourists, and each provides the full spectrum of classic casino favorites. Within the Kampala city limits you'll find nearly 260 slot machines and 80 table games.

As mentioned, sports betting is also very popular throughout Uganda, so you should be able to wager on international football matches and the like with next to no hassle.

Southern Africa


  • Angola
  • Botswana
  • Malawi
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Swaziland
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

As one makes their way southward from the heart of Africa, the continent takes on the climate and culture that Westerners have come to expect.

Wildlife preserves offer animals like lions, elephants, and giraffes a reprieve from decades of overhunting, pristine savannah and jungle ecosystems are intertwined, and a sense of modernity returns within the confines of major urban areas.

Of course, a few countries here did make the red list based on the actions of repressive dictatorial regimes, but for the most part Southern Africa is the most progressive part of the continent.

We already covered the crown jewel of the continent's gambling scene - South Africa - near the top of the page, but the region known as Southern Africa is where several advanced nations are relying on gambling to spur economic growth.

Botswana

As a direct northern neighbor of South Africa, the country of Botswana has witnessed the transformative effects casino gambling can have on the tourism industry firsthand.

Accordingly, the government of Botswana has readily embraced regulation of the gambling industry, especially in recent years as the country has become one of the fastest growing economies on the planet. Thanks to an abundance of mining, farmland, and other natural resources, Botswana has been able to invest in the development of a vibrant and modern gambling industry to accentuate tourism in the area.

The government passed the Gambling Act of 2012 to consolidate oversight of all forms of gambling, creating a governing entity known as Gambling Authority Botswana. Previously, only land based casinos were regulated by the government, but the Gaming Act of 2012 brought sports betting, lotteries, bingo, poker, and even online and mobile gambling into the fold.

The Act's provisions didn't go into effect until February of 2016, at which time Thulisizwe Johnson - Chief Executive of Gambling Authority Botswana - spoke with local media to discuss the new procedures:

"All kinds of betting will now need to be licensed. We will be flighting adverts soon for Request for Proposals for interested companies to apply for licenses. We will take over regulation of the existing casinos in April while anyone wishing to be involved in any other kind of betting, including sms and online will need to be registered and licensed with the Authority first."

All the new requirements are meant to curb illegal gambling and protect the licensed operators who do not only pay tax but also have jobs to protect."/p>

Gamblers can currently find 10 land based casinos scattered throughout Botswana, with three in the capital and largest city of Gaborone, two in Francistown, and one each in Jwaneng, Lobatse, Letlhakane, Palapye, and Selebi Phikwe.

When playing in Gaborone, you'll have access to 361 slot and video poker machines, and 25 table games.

Malawi

As one of the more underdeveloped nations in Southern Africa, the tiny landlocked country of Malawi wouldn't appear to be a hotbed for the gambling industry.

And indeed, the country is home to just a single casino - the Casino Marina at Golden Peacock Hotel in the capital city of Lilongwe.

Even so, the Malawi Gaming Board was created via passage of the Gaming Act No. 26 of 1996, and today the regulatory body is responsible for licensing and taxing that venue, along with sportsbooks and national lottery vendors.

So while the gambling industry in Malawi isn't a major player when compared to regional neighbors, visitors here can at least feel safe and secure knowing that all wagering activity has been monitored by the country's Gaming Board for two decades.

Namibia

In a unique situation, Namibia was actually colonized by a fellow African nation, when South Africa assumed control over the territory after the Germans were defeated in World War I.

Today, Namibia's culture is inextricably linked with both German and South African influences, as evidenced by the 90 percent prevalence of Christianity as the country's main religious affiliation.

Having only achieved independence from South Africa in 1990, Namibia is one of the youngest countries in the world, but that didn't stop government leaders from passing the Casinos and Gambling Houses Act of 1994 to regulate gambling there.

Unfortunately, the governmental framework in place in Namibia at the time wasn't prepared to cope with the demands of industry regulation, and in just a few years, more than 10,000 unlicensed slot machines were estimated to be operating in the country.

With problem gambling becoming rampant as a result, the Gaming and Entertainment Control Bill was authorized in 2014 to amend and improve the original Casinos and Gambling Houses Act. The legal gambling age was raised from 18 to 21, and local authorities were assigned broad new powers to arrest illicit gambling operators.

Today, the capital city of Windhoek boasts two resort style casino venues: the Desert Jewel Casino and the AVANI Windhoek Hotel & Casino. The Desert Jewel Casino is the largest in Namibia, spreading 162 gaming machines and eight tables games over 15,000 square feet of floor space.

A third licensed establishment (Mermaid Casino) can be found in Swakopmund.

Swaziland

Most gambling activities in Swaziland, aside from the national lottery program, had been strictly supervised and largely prohibited for much of the country's history.

The ban dated back to the Crimes Act of 1889, instituted during a period of British colonial rule, which precluded residents from "keeping a gambling house" or "gambling in public view."

New laws were set forth as Swaziland entered the infancy of its independence, including the Casino Act of 1963, the Lotteries Act of 1963, and the Bookmakers' and Taxation Act of 1970.

All three of these laws were recently repealed, however, through the passage of the Gaming Act of 2010.

Today, three licensed casino resorts are operational in Swaziland, with the tourism heavy cities of Mbabane (Royal Valley Sun Spa & Resort), Nhlangano (Casino Royale), and Piggs Peak (Piggs Peak Hotel and Casino) at the center of the industry.

The largest such venue is the Royal Valley Sun Spa & Resort in Mbabane, where players can enjoy 11 table games, a pair of poker tables, and more than 150 slot and video poker machines.

Zambia

Recognized as one of the safest countries for international tourists in all of Africa, the country of Zambia proudly boasts one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World in Victoria Falls.

Along with the world's largest waterfall, Zambia offers visitors pristine natural scenery, an abundance of wildlife, and even a pair of full-fledged casino resorts.

Casino gambling was illegal in Zambia, under the Casino and Gaming Machines (Prohibition), but a 1992 law was passed to repeal that ban and set up a regulatory framework.

The Great Wall Casino is located in the capital city of Lusaka, and it contains space for 12 table games, two poker tables, and 70 slot and video poker machines.

The New Fairmont Hotel & Casino in Livingstone houses 30 machines and six table games.

The gambling industry in Zambia could be poised for further expansion, however, as Charles Banda - Minister of Tourism And Arts - pledged to create a National Gambling Board in October of 2016.

Per a report published by the the Zambia News And Information Service,

"The ultimate goal of the proposed National Gambling Board was to make sure the nation's casino industry is operating in line with the best international practices."

Conclusion

Gambling laws in Africa range from some of the strictest in the world to some of the loosest, depending on where you're located. If you live in Africa it's important to check your local laws before gambling because some of the penalties are severe.

If you're traveling in Africa not only do you need to be aware of the local gambling laws, you also need to find out about local instability and dangers. This page is designed as a guide to help you, but parts of Africa have unstable governments and can be dangerous to outsiders.

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