The Legality of Betting in Southern African Countries

Betting on stuff has been one of mankind’s favorite activities over the years and seems to be ingrained into who we are as humans. However, recently, due to its highly addictive nature, many countries in the world have decided to regulate betting quite heavily and have certain laws about it that either completely forbids it or at least limit it in some type of way.

African countries are no exception, and they all have taken a different approach on the topic of gambling. In this article, we will focus on the Southern region of Africa, and how each of the countries in this region has been regulating gambling. Before we get into all of that, click to discover some of the best online casino bonuses.

South Africa

Starting out with the southernmost country in Africa, South Africa is also one of the most developed nations on the continent and even managed to get selected to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup. South Africa is also one of the most lenient countries in Africa when it comes to gambling. This wasn’t always the case, as, during the British colonial period, gambling was strictly banned, leading to thousands of illegal gambling houses.

Since the passing of the Gambling Act in 1994, South Africa made gambling legal by providing gambling licenses. Over the years, the number of licensed casinos increased, and with the emergence of online casinos, a second Gambling Act was passed in 2004. In recent years, the country has further modernized its gambling regulations, turning it into a multi-billion dollar industry. There are currently 47 licensed casinos in 25 different cities and many more that can be accessed online.


Botswana has one of the most rapidly growing economies in Africa, thanks to its mining and farmland. One of the main goals of the government, now, is to attract tourists to the country. One thing they’ve done is increasing the quality of safaris in the nation. Another strategy they’ve used to boost tourism is investing in the development of a modern gambling industry.

Land-based casinos have been properly regulated for a long time, and since 2016, other options such as sports betting, lotteries, bingo poker, as well as online and mobile casinos have become legal. The government is dedicated to eliminating illegal gambling altogether and protect the licensed operators.


Famous for being home to one of the seven wonders of the world – Victoria Falls, Zambia is also one of the safest countries in Africa for international travelers. Apart from the wildlife and natural scenery, tourists can also enjoy some casino resorts. Gambling has been legal in Zambia since 1992, and the country is poised to expand the industry by forming a National Gambling Board in the near future.


Gaining independence in 1990, Namibia is one of the youngest nations in the world. Just four years later, Namibia passed the Casinos and Gambling Houses Act to regulate the enormous demand for gambling. However, due to limited resources, the country was unable to stop the spread of illegal gambling, and over 10,000 unregulated slot machines appeared all over the country.

To combat this, Namibia passed the Gaming and Entertainment Control Bill in 2014, which improved the Gambling Act and gave higher authority to police to be able to arrest illegal operators. The legal gambling age was also raised from 18 to 21 years. Apart from online casinos, there are currently three land casinos in Namibia, two of which are located in the capital city of Windhoek.


For much of the country’s history, gambling was strictly prohibited in Swaziland, largely thanks to British colonial rule. After gaining independence, three different laws were passed in 1963 and 1970 to regulate the country’s gambling industry. In 2010, a single Gaming Act was passed which replaced the previous laws that were becoming outdated. There are now three operational casinos in Swaziland, with many more options available online.


Malawi is one of the most underdeveloped countries in the world, and as such, the gambling industry is far from ideal. However, the capital of Lilongwe is home to a single casino that is regulated by the Malawi Gaming Board, which passed the Gaming Act in 1996.


The gambling industry is slowly picking up steam throughout Africa, and especially in the Southern region, where even underdeveloped countries such as Malawi are home to fully operational casinos.


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