Zambia loses millions on illicit gambling

Zambia Youth Association said that unlawful gaming and betting demonstrates that there is deep-rooted corruption at the Lotteries Board, which regulates the business.

The association’s executive director, Maurice Malambo, expressed regret that the nation may be losing vital resources and asked for an inquiry. He claimed the finding showed the industry’s regulatory body was crooked. Mr. Malambo requested the ACC to conduct a comprehensive investigation.

“The fact that the nation loses almost K800 million due to unlawful gaming is terrible and shows that there is corruption in the regulation of this industry,” Malambo added.

Strange that the nation could lose so much money with a functioning regulatory board. Stakeholders should assess the legislative structure governing the sector. He stated several casino regulations were antiquated and contained loopholes for unscrupulous behavior.

“We felt the casino regulations were outmoded since financial crimes are the most serious concerns in other areas of the world,” he added.

Malambo said the ZRA, ZTB, and the Ministry of Finance should work together to close loopholes and stop unlawful gaming and money laundering. However, the exponential expansion of Zambia iGaming betting and retail betting mixed with antiquated legislation governing the industry has led to an increase in illicit gaming and betting. Despite the old rules and government activity, the Zambian gaming business has attracted top European iGaming firms to set up shop.

The enormous young following for sports, the surge in youth engagement in sports betting and gambling, and the rising tourist industries might all be factors. By attracting top international casino operators, especially Chinese casino operators, dominate the land-based casino. Many regard Zambia as the next hotspot market for gaming. These markets do draw investment. The government’s digital infrastructure initiative throughout the years made this feasible, even though the government has been reluctant to address gaming regulations. But the digital world has grown. According to the Global Digital yearbook, Zambia now has 6.92 million active mobile internet users, or 39% of its 17.87 million overall population.

According to the 2018 National Survey of ICT use by households and individuals in Zambia, the percentage of people who possess a smartphone has risen from 13.5 percent in 2015 to 43 percent in 2020. The surge in internet prevalence, smartphone ownership, and use makes gambling and betting more accessible than ever.

Moreover, the Zambia gaming board’s promptness in providing new gambling licenses.

Top European businesses like Betway, BetPawa, Melbet, Bola Bet, among others, have made the nation their home market. As a result, the nation has become a hotspot for illicit gaming and betting, as well as money laundering. Simultaneously, the growing number of gaming enterprises in Zambia is cause for alarm, which is why the youth organization head has sought an inquiry.

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