Botswana Banks on Expansion in Gaming

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Botswana has been working diligently to entice casino operators from around the globe in hopes they’ll invest in the Southern African country’s growing gaming industry.

The effort is punctuated with Botswana’s Gambling Authority (GA) offering an additional six casino licenses to operators beginning this month. The six licenses will be applicable to operations in several different regions, with two assigned in Gabrone, two in Palapye, one in Maun, and one in Kasane, according to GA chief executive officer Thulisizwe Johnson. Botswana currently operates three casinos in Gaborone, two in Francistown, with other venues located in Lobatse, Jwaneng and Selebi Phikwe.

According to a report from the publication Mmegi Online, the GA CEO Thulisizwe Johnson offered the comment, “We are finalizing the request for application process. The Kasane license will be different as it will have exemptions based on the fact that even though Kasane might have the potential to have a casino, we need to consider that it is a village.”

In addition to the new casino licenses, Johnson revealed that Botswana will be offering national lottery, sports betting, and bingo licenses. Should efforts prove successful, the cumulative effect of each aspect of the gaming culture in Botswana will provide a substantial boon in tax revenues to the State. Johnson went on to add, “Gambling can be an opportunity to diversify the economy and grow it as the tax that will come out of these casinos will contribute to the government’s revenue and we are also going to ensure that they do commit to the corporate social initiatives.”

Licenses will be available by invitation only according to Johnson, and the invitations will be extended to qualifying operators. Those operators interested in obtaining a license are not allowed to apply directly, and instead must provide numerous details, including their location of interest, shareholder requirements, the estimated number of employees, and their source of income, which will all be required by the State for consideration.

Johnson went on to state just how strict the selection criteria will be beyond the application requirements, adding “We can only fund applications that meet the requirement of the act, which specifies how they are going to create employment, and should hire local management. When licensing we would also ensure fair balance and mitigate negative effects of gambling as we are keen to see an increased participation in gambling.”

Currently, the sum of gambling revenues in Botswana reaches $21.45 million. The numbers are small when compared to other global gaming destinations, but the new developments could increase revenues several times over if all goes according to plan.

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