A Brief History of Gambling in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is a country familiar to many, especially those constantly looking for exotic destinations to spend their holiday.

It’s a country located in the southern part of Africa, and it offers some magnificent natural wonders such as the Eastern Highlands, the Zambezi River and the famous Victoria Falls. It is unusual to think about the gambling history of such a country since it’s not a location that many choose for online gambling. The truth is that Zimbabwe has a long history of gambling as its citizens enjoyed the perks of this industry for a very long time. Horse and dog racing have always been popular in Zimbabwe and are closely connected to its culture. Betting and gambling were considered a social vice in Zimbabwe initially, but as the years and technology progressed, the citizens embraced it. Now, Harare, the capital city of Zimbabwe, is a big gambling hub for all the players. 


Last year there were more than 20 casinos in Zimbabwe located in its major towns. Harare, the capital, is home to 5, while the rest are distributed among the smaller cities. The majority of these casinos are housed by resort hotels, which means they represent an excellent option for everyone who wishes to travel to an exotic destination while enjoying the perks of gambling. They also have a great selection of table games, video games and slot games such as roulette, poker or blackjack. The biggest and most popular casino in Zimbabwe is located in Harare – the Regency Casino Harare and the Rainbow Towers Hotel. Here, players can choose one of the 160 slots and 12 table games. 


Sports betting

Even though sports betting hasn’t always been a part of the rich gambling history of Zimbabwe, it is a market that has become one of the most popular forms of gambling. Today it is considered the undoubted leader of the Zimbabwean gambling industry as it’s prevalent among the young people of the country. The most popular sportsbook among the Zimbabwean bettors is Zimbet – they have betting shops throughout the country. This makes it a significant market for the future.


Horse racing

Horse racing is one of the oldest forms of gambling in Zimbabwe, and it was introduced by the colonial government. At the beginning, it was reserved for the white elite, but today Zimbabwe is one of the few African countries to own a race-track. The two most popular ones are Mashonaland Turf Club in Bulawayo and Borrowdale Park in Harare. What is interesting about horse racing in Zimbabwe is that it attracts all social classes, from the rich to the poor. Everyone loves horse racing. Because of its popularity in this country, different horse racing tournaments are organized, such as their favourite, the Tankard Race.


Online gambling

Due to the increase in access and the use of the internet in Zimbabwe, many citizens opt for online gambling. It’s becoming more and more popular. Online gambling in Zimbabwe is in the “grey zone”, meaning it is neither legal nor illegal. Yet, it is extremely popular and neglected by Zimbabwe gambling laws. However, online gambling brings many benefits to the economy of Zimbabwe as it contributes hugely to its expansion. Zimbabwean wagers have many online casinos to choose from, as they can play Omni slots, King Billy slots, Betway Sportsbook and 22 BET Sportsbook, among others. Another interesting fact is that Zimbabweans have the best experience when it comes to online sports betting. Players can get fantastic bonus offers and cashouts. The websites are safe, the user interface is easy, and the deposit and withdrawal methods are also safe and secure. Another benefit is that bettors can opt for any currency they want – from dollars to pounds and euros, but they will incur exchange rate fees. 


The gambling laws in Zimbabwe

Betting and gambling have been legal in Zimbabwe since 2000. These laws have been regulated by the Lotteries and Gambling Act, and they allow all forms of offline gambling such as lotteries, sports betting, horse racing and casinos. This Act also established the Lotteries and Gambling Board that controls, regulates, and oversees all gambling operations. They also issue licences to individuals and company gaming operators.


The issue with online gambling

Although the Lotteries and Gambling Act have allowed all the mentioned forms of offline gambling in Zimbabwe, it didn’t account for the online casino industry. In 2000 when the Act was established, the online gambling sector was in its infancy, mainly because internet usage was almost non-existent. This resulted in a situation where online gambling is effectively legalized as there are no laws that forbid it. Every Zimbabwean is entirely free to join any online casino, no matter where it’s located globally, which is a massive benefit to all the tourists who visit this country. Be as it may, home-grown online casinos are still not encouraged in Zimbabwe. Potential operators know that this market is being well served, and there is also the feat that this lack of legal clarity will change the Act. Many Zimbabweans wish for the government to update the laws to include online gambling. Bettors in Zimbabwe wish for comprehensible guidelines as they will provide security for players currently unprotected by the law. Apart from that, it will allow them to establish taxation laws.


To sum up, Zimbabwe is not only a great and exotic tourist destination. It’s a country that wishes to bring their gambling industry to flourishing, with sports betting that is incredibly popular among locals, to casinos that tourists like.

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