Zimbabwe blocks sports betting licensing amid growing concerns

President Robert Mugabe

The Zimbabwe government has stopped its processing of gambling/betting licenses amid fears of a surge in the nations gambling addiction. Its drastic actions regarding betting licensing have been granted approval by President Robert Mugabe and the Department of Home Affairs.

Throughout 2014 and 2015 Zimbabwe ministers have demonstrated concerns regarding the number of new and existing bookmakers targeting the country’s consumers. The Department of Home Affairs stated that it wanted to avoid Zimbabwe’s society of falling into the same gambling related issues as Nigeria and Uganda.

Political commentators have pointed that the nation’s poor economic performance, which has halved  output since the 2000’s, has been the main driver for the rise in popularity of sports betting and lotteries.

Zimbabwe’s unemployment rate is estimated to be at 11% (population 14 million) by its government census, however independent researchers have stated that 90% of the country’s population are under employed and living in severe poverty.

The rise in popularity and the regulation of sports betting continue to be concerning topics for African government leaders.

In 2014 African news sources reported that 60 million Nigerians between the ages of 18-40 were wagering $9 million in daily sports betting. Uganda’s Economic Ministry released a statement claiming that the country now had over 2000 active sports betting operators.

African social charities and international NGO’s have urged governments to crack down on sports betting operators and to implement stronger policies regarding the flourishing industry. African sports governing bodies are additionally concerned with the a rise in sports corruption through match fixing and betting related crimes

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