Zambia, which has traditionally been known for its mining and tourism businesses, is witnessing tremendous growth in its gambling industry. Both bookmakers as well as land-based casinos are registering record revenues by offering various types of gambling services to the locals.
Almost all variants of gambling are allowed in the country, and are regulated by the Zambian government. However, as expected, the activity is allowed only to people who are at least 18 years old. Although we are some distance away from seeing Zambians actively engaging in in-flight casino gambling, considering the way this industry is growing, anything is possible in the times to come! The present gambling legislation in the country comprises of 3 distinct laws, however none of them contain any references to online gambling.
Zambia Casino Act
The most important gambling legislation in Zambia, the Zambia Casino Act came into being in the year 1992, which modified the earlier Casino and Gaming Machines (Prohibition) Acts, enabling the licensed establishments to offer gambling services to people. This law defined the licensing procedures and allowed for issuance of temporary casino licenses to businesses.
As per this law, only hotel establishments can apply for such a license, which will need to be renewed after every five years. Every license type clearly specifies the number of gaming tables and machines allowed in the premises. Furthermore, operators must provide adequate surveillance and sanitation, with the help of cameras, in order to ensure proper control and monitoring of the premises. Special casino inspectors need to be appointed for constant inspection, regulation and control too.
The temporary casino licenses on the other hand have a validity of 30 days and are issued only under special circumstances. But they don’t allow for any gaming machines though.
Apart from the annual license fees, the casino businesses must also part with a certain percentage of their revenues for every quarter. Until some time ago, this percentage used to be 20% of the gross revenue, however, the government abolished that structure in January 2019 and introduced a new tax structure to facilitate better collection of taxes.
The Betting Control Act
Passed for the first time in the year 1958, this law has been amended several times over the years, with the last amendment happening in 1994. This act lays down the rules for sports betting operations in the country. It involves a Betting Control and Licensing Board consisting of four members. The Board is collectively responsible for issuing licenses to the betting premises and bookmakers. As per Zambia Betting Control Act, the general public is legally allowed to bet on horse races as well as sports events. Every betting licence is of one year duration and can be renewed by paying the concerned fees and taxes.
The Lotteries Act
This act came into being during the 1950s and also underwent multiple amendments over the years. It lays down the ground rules for authorisation and running of the state-run lottery. The proceeds obtained are public in nature and are allocated to various state programs and funds.