Gambling laws in Malawi

Casino fans in Malawi have the opportunity to enjoy gambling with only a few restrictions, and somewhat easy-going regulations. While this form of entertainment is not as widely available, the capital offers a decent range of casinos with various gambling genres.

Lilongwe is a popular destination with 3 gambling facilities, 30 table games, 113 slot and poker machines. Pirates Casino is the most prominent operator out of the tree, offering 9 table games, and 100 gambling machines. But despite the available options, sports betting still takes the lead among Malawi residents.

The first Gambling Act in 1996 brought forth new gambling legislation and established regulations that Malawi Gaming Board (MGB) upholds. Since, the Board was held responsible to regulate gaming, control, and license gaming premises, impose and collect tax on gaming, and take care of any related issues with players and operators. So far, MGB has done an outstanding job in terms of player protection compared to other countries in Africa.

However, upholding such high standards requires strict rules and regulations for operators. With that in mind, not all forms of gambling are legalized, and those that are to follow a list of requirements in order to obtain, and maintain a gaming license. Before getting into said semantics, here are the legalized forms of gambling in Malawi, according to MGB:

Casino games

Any casino games played with cards, dice, machines, or devices used to bring about the result of a wager by determining win or loss for money, property, cheque, credit, or anything of value (other than an opportunity to play a further game), including, without derogating from the generality of the foregoing, roulette, bingo, blackjack and baccarat. There are also exceptions that the Board can make if operators are conducting a rare

Online gambling

Players who wish to bet on casino sites can do so without an issue, as online gambling is not regulated in Malawi. But since there are no locally based online operators, players have to resort to gambling on offshore sites. Unfortunately, the demand for this form of entertainment is high, so many players tend to fall for sketchy operators with no support from the gaming board, as they hold no responsibility for protecting gamblers who register on overseas sites.

The good news is that this issue could be completely avoided thanks to reputable review sites that recommend approved Malawi online casinos to their visitors. Their players can discover licensed casinos that have fair terms and conditions, convenient payment methods, and generous bonuses for startups. Additionally, gamblers can learn about specific games on Malawi casino sites, and even try them out in demo mode before playing for real money.

Sports betting

Gamblers in Malawi enjoy sports betting above any other genre. It’s completely legal, but only licensed operators can conduct real money sports wagering. The downside is that the only type of wagering allowed is Premier Betting, which may change in the following years considering that the sports industry is prominent in the country, and are an incredible opportunity to improve the economy with potential incoming funds.

Fans are permitted to make bets on sports like soccer, tennis, basketball, and other popular sports. eSports and exotic bets are also a legal form of wagering, which includes competitive betting on games like GO, and League of Legends. Interestingly enough, players can also make wagers on things like weather predictions, oscar awards, and even the end of the world.

While there are available facilities for Sports betting, players in Malawi prefer mobile sportsbooks. Not only because of the convenience but the affordability of smartphone devices. While computers and laptops can be out of reach for some, a compatible device is significantly cheaper. Premier Bet was the first app released in 2016, which became available for Android and iOS.


While the lottery has an outstanding number of participants in Malawi, the only company conducting legal draws is Gidani International Limited (GIL). But it wasn’t until 2015 that GIL obtained a license with a five-year-long contract to do so. Lotteries were happening across Malawi prior to this as well, but all activities were halted in 2012 due to insufficient funds and a lack of knowledge in the industry.

The gambling industry is growing in Malawi. And while it saw a decline during the pandemic, casino entertainment is getting back on track as new genres and games are slowly being introduced. Anyone over the age of 18 is welcome to participate in Lotteries, make bets on slot machines, and a variety of table games.


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