New Gambling Regulation Amendments in Tanzania
Tanzania’s gambling regulations have been amended, allowing the Gaming Board to approve advertisements for different gambling products. The government passed the revision to Section 51 of the Gaming Act in late October 2019, following the advertising ban on all electronic media that was applied in January.
The amendments, which were published in Tanzania’s Official Gazette, also added 5 new categories to the range of available operating licence categories. In addition to the revised regulations, the Gaming Board has been endowed with new enforcement powers. These are intended to enable them to tackle illegal gambling, and mean they may now audit, seize and destroy unlicensed or unfit gaming equipment.
Changes in Advertising Laws
Advertising approval will run for 6 months when it is first granted, and can be extended for year-long terms thereafter. Section 86A (1) of the gambling act has also been updated, requiring those companies who are approved to market their services to do so in a way that protect children and other vulnerable groups.
In August 2019, Tanzania’s Gaming Board announced that it would temporarily halt the issuing of all operating licences. Spokespeople from the Board explained that they needed to assess whether the market had room for additional businesses, before they gave out any more permits.
The specific new licensing categories indicate that there is potential for market expansion and growth. Specifically, they are for the national lottery licence (which is held by Murhandziwa, a subsidiary of the South African Gidani); for-profit lotteries; virtual games; gaming consultants and service providers (entities supplying services and goods to operators).
The new categories join the 8 established permit types, which are for casino gaming, slot terminals and retail gaming, service providers’ manufacturer and seller licences, key employees such as executives, and the staff at gambling venues. Employees working at betting establishments, on non-gaming activities, also require their own accreditation.
While lottery and casino operators will benefit from the recent legislative changes, the amendments have not yet addressed sports betting and slot machine licences. At this stage, it remains unclear whether or not more licences will be issued to operators in these sectors, and when that would occur.
Striving for Safety and Profit
Tanzania is in a similar situation to many African countries right now; the gambling industry is booming, and that brings significant opportunities and challenges. Tax revenue from these activities has become essential for civic works, and Gaming Board Director General James Mbalwe has directly attributed that to tighter controls and the rising number of players. As business conditions in the country improve, Mbalwe noted, operators have invested more in the market and the sector now contributes around 3% of the Tanzanian Gross Domestic Product.
The gaming industry has also created 20,000 new jobs in the country. While underage and problem gambling are significant problems, the economic contributions are obvious. The latest regulation amendments seem to be the government’s attempt to strike a balance and create a sector that is equally profitable and safe. With that in mind, insiders will watch with interest to see whether the issuing of sports betting and slot machine licences recommences.