EAC Countries Mint Money Through Gaming Sector
GAMBLING, though described as leisure activity, has in recent years turned into one of the major revenue sources in the East African Community (EAC) member states.
Given the fact that majority loses in lottery, casino plays or betting, responsible gaming has been hyped in the EAC countries to avoid addiction as each member states try to take some measures to address associated negative impacts.
After experiencing rapid growth in the gaming sector in the two consecutive fiscal years-2017/18 and 2018/19- Tanzania targets 116bn/- collections in the 2019/20 financial year. In the 2019/20 financial year, Uganda envisages collecting 50bn/- after experiencing exponential growth from Ugandan shillings 240 million in 2002/3 to 45 billion in the last fiscal year, according to the country’s Lotteries and Gaming Regulatory Board.
Kenya recorded Kenyan shillings 200 billion (1.98 billion US dollars) in the last five financial years, ranked as the top EAC member state with the highest number of betting youth, at 76 per cent, according to one of the regional newspaper. Despite the success story on the increasing revenues, the EAC nations have been taking some initiatives to mitigate the negative consequences of gambling and capitalising on “responsible gambling. Late last month, the gaming sector stakeholders met in Dar es Salaam to deliberate on avoidance of adverse impact of irresponsible gambling.
At the training that Gaming Board of Tanzania, shiKana Law Group and Gaming Laboratories International (GLI) from South Africa organised jointly, stakeholders harmoniously concurred that ‘gaming responsibly’ concept aims at not killing the industry but making it sustainable and protecting the community against troubles.
Gaming Board of Tanzania Managing Director James Mbalwe told the meeting participants that the current Tanzania’s Gaming Act of 2003 doesn’t allow persons under the age of 18 to participate in gambling but the board wants the legislation to accommodate gambling addicts who are seeking self-exclusiothat the cabinet had also decided that the villages’ boundaries be demarcated afresh, provided with title deeds and helped with proper land use planning.
Mr Majaliwa said the remaining 55 villages were still on evaluation and their report will be issued soon. The list of villages’ locations, wild animals’ areas, forests as well as the nullified farms will have to be declared in future.
It was further noted that, the government also agreed to take parts of the 14 forest reserves for agriculture and livestock activities as well as nullifying 16 undeveloped farms and putting them into farming and livestock uses. The premier said the villages have to retain about 500 metres, which had been set aside as buffer zones in the areas adjacent to forest reserves and wild animals.
“The Vice-President’s office should accomplish the guideline which will be indicating the land uses within the 60 metres from rivers, water sources, Lakes and Sea. The citizens are strictly forbidden to encroach the reserves… stern legal measures will be taken against any kind of invasion,”
– warned Mr Majaliwa.
He directed the ministries and government authorities to protect their areas by setting permanent visible boundaries.