Casinos, sports betting, bingo, and all forms of gaming are highly popular activities across the world. The pandemic helped to see a new interest in casino games through mobile apps and dedicated websites. Yet, despite billions of people gambling at least once a year, many countries still have heavy restrictions against the activity.
Some countries and states even ban all forms of gambling outright, including simple lotteries. What about Zambia though? How do the national laws affect anyone who wishes to visit a casino or place a football bet?
There were 502,000 tourists in Zambia in 2020, and now travel is freely available again, it is hoped that this figure will rise much higher. Many of those tourists will want to play in casinos during their vacation, but will they be allowed to? What are the gaming laws in Zambia?
The simple fact is, that the biggest growth area for any gaming activity is now online. The online sector stole a huge portion of the gaming revenue during the pandemic, and traditional casinos and bookmakers will struggle to claw it back.
Therefore, it makes sense to look at this area first when talking about Zambia’s gambling laws. Zambia is much like many other countries when it comes to regulations surrounding online gambling. Because gaming laws were written before the advent of the internet, they have failed to clearly address this area even with multiple amendments.
It would appear that operating an online casino within the country could be deemed as being illegal, but players can access offshore websites without concern. Clicking on energycasino.com clicking would take you to an offshore gaming website that can be played legally, and freely.
There are casinos in some areas of Zambia, and these are run legally. Like many gaming establishments across the world, they had to close during the pandemic.
Clubs and casinos had to close by 10 pm on New Year’s Eve going into 2022. But, fortunately now restrictions have loosened and players are flocking back to these gaming establishments. This is good news for the economy, and perhaps good for any tourists that wish to enjoy this part of Zambia nightlife.
But what other forms of gambling are actually legal in Zambia, and can tourists join in all these activities as well as Zambian nationals?
There are three legal gambling activities in Zambia. As mentioned, casino games are legal as long as they are licensed. The Betting Control Act was enacted in 1958, and this was followed later by The Casino Act in 1992.
Currently, most of the casinos are in Lusaka and are open to over 18-year-olds. Indeed, all forms of gambling are accessible only to people who are at least 18.
The other legalised gambling activities are lottery games, and sports betting. The national lottery is very popular and is now available to play online.
Tourists spent $849 million in Zambia in 2019 before Covid affected this sector. Fortunately, interest in Zambia tourism is up again. It would therefore make sense to allow tourists to enter casinos and spend their money how they like.
While there are laws in Zambia defining all gambling activity, they aren’t as harsh as in some other countries. Tourists and Zambians are free to play in casinos, and place sports bet without any issue.
Many tourists choose to include a casino visit or several into their vacation plans. It is no accident that Zambian casinos are often part of larger resorts catering to visitors from outside the country. This helps to bring in extra revenue to the country, attract tourists, and boost employment rates.
Pre-pandemic tourist levels peaked at 1,266,000, and while figures are unknown, many of these visitors would have enjoyed time in a Lusaka casino.
As far as the general activities behind different forms of gambling are concerned, Zambia is very safe. As long as you visit a licensed, legal gaming establishment you should have no problems at all.
The lottery is state-run, and therefore completely above board. Your only concern here is that you should research the rules to see if you are entitled to claim a win.
Street gambling does occur in Zambia in some areas, and this should be avoided. Punishments for taking part in or operating illegal games range from fines to imprisonment.
Lusaka hosts at least 10 casinos, mostly in resorts, and as you would expect from a capital city there is some crime. However, Lusaka is comparable to Europe in its crime rates and is largely considered safe.
A visit to a Lusaka casino should be worry-free, but the usual cautions should be taken at night as in any city.
It is worth mentioning again about street gambling and illegal activities as Zambia has many dens and casinos that are neither legal nor licensed.
In 2017, 48 illegal casinos were found to be operating in Zambia. This not only costs the government millions in tax revenue but also puts players at risk. If you choose to play in an unlicensed casino then you will have little recourse if you get scammed by the operators.
The genuine casinos should be very clear though, so stick to the main resorts and you will have no problems. If you are concerned in any way then just login and use an offshore casino or sportsbook instead.
Zambia is one of the safest and most stunning countries in Africa. In 2022 the country is pushing to increase tourism, and with its many national parks and unspoiled wildlife, it will astound many visitors.
For some though, it is the nightlife that makes a vacation, and out of all the visitors to Zambia this year, many will want to visit a casino or bet on their favourite sports back home. The good news is, that Zambia has very favourable gambling laws, and the most common activities are all legal as long as you are over 18.