Calls For Regulation of Online Gambling in Zimbabwe
As the world becomes increasingly digital and more people use the Internet on a daily basis, the popularity of online gambling continues to soar. Currently it is a grey area in Zimbabwe. There are no laws prohibiting players, but there is also no regulation to keep operators in line. Land-based gambling in the country has been fully legal for some time, and there are compelling arguments for doing the same with online platforms.
Online Gambling Economic Benefits
Land-based sports betting, lotteries and casino games are big contributors to Zimbabwe’s economy. Horse racing and pool wager wins are taxed at 10%, while casino takings are subject to 15% taxation. The online gambling market increased by 50.8% in 2017, largely driven by social media bundles on WhatsApp and Facebook, and is predicted to be worth $60 billion by 2020. As such, taxes could clearly bring significant amounts of money into the country. In addition, monitored sites are required to comply with anti-laundering laws, which also contributes to a healthy economy.
Regulations to Protect Players
The risks of addictive or problem gambling, and underage playing, are widely known. In a regulated system, operators are required to provide support to players who want help with their behaviour and to verify that all customers are of legal age. The state itself will also have a greater responsibility to assist players who are struggling. Additionally, legislation could stipulate that control measures, such as time and money limits, be made available on licensed sites.
Besides all of this, legal online casinos would be required to use proper security measures to keep players’ personal and financial information private and would have to prove the random and fair nature of all game results. Finally, sites would face penalties if they didn’t make payouts properly and timeously. In short, players would be properly protected and would have recourse if anything went wrong – which is not the case in an unregulated market.
The Obvious Way Forward
As the highly regulated, but fully legal, online market in the United Kingdom shows, strict legislation does not suppress revenue. Rather, it promotes player safety, a better overall economy and important income from taxation. With an estimated 72.3% of the population living below the poverty line in Zimbabwe, along with rife unemployment and a GDP of just $2.283 per capita, many people consider online gambling a primary income source.
Since there is such a large amount of online gambling activity in the country already, proponents say that proper legislation in the sector is the most logical course of action. If players are not betting at legitimate sites like 1XBET they are either putting themselves at risk by spending money with unregulated operators or benefiting offshore brands that are licensed by international jurisdictions.
Either way, the country and individual bettors will prosper more if the country’s Lottery and Gambling Board fulfils its task of regulating and controlling the operation and development of “all lotteries and gaming”. Insiders seem to think there is no way this could not be understood, and an update to legalise online betting is anticipated for the near future.