There is every indication that Africa is the next gambling paradise in the world, owing to the rapid growth of the youthful population and penetration of technology. Today, almost three-quarters of teenagers on the continent can access mobile phone devices. As a result, most of them can place bets on sporting events. The expansion of internet connectivity has also enabled betting enthusiasts to access online casinos from the comfort of their homes. There is still more potential where operators can launch businesses to exploit it maximally.
Due to the surge in gambling activities among young people, African nations, among them, Kenya and Zambia have established rules and regulations to safeguard this population from the adverse effects of gambling. For instance, online casinos in Kenya are regulated by the Betting Control and Licensing Board. Zambia also has an elaborate set of laws that punishes any operator who risks the safety of its population. Nonetheless, there are differences which make these two countries unique in their application of the gambling laws.
Differences in Laws
Zambia does not have strict regulations when it comes to online gambling. The current laws are more focused on the brick and mortar casinos. Online operators have the liberty to offer betting services at their own rates. In Kenya, the government is strict, having directed the Betting Control and Licensing Board to provide licenses for all online operators. Due to the rigorous nature of these laws, SportPesa and Betin which were the most prominent gambling operators in the country had to close shop.
Regarding advertisements, Kenya has recently established a law which compels all gambling operators to design ads that are not deceptive to the public. Initially, some companies were selling too much hope to their customers until the cabinet secretary of interior directed the Communications Authority to decline any misleading advertisement. In Zambia, there is no clear law on ads. Since the online operators are not regulated, the country has not developed legislation regarding the promotional content that is offered to the public.
Kenya is the third highest revenue generating company from gambling activities. Consequently, in 2019, the government applied an increase in tax from 20% to 35%. This move implied that every gambler would remit 35% of their earnings as tax. However, this increment was halted by the high court. Until 2019, Zambia had a 20% tax law where gamblers were charged this percentage. However, the government has since removed this levy and currently, the country is working on a more comprehensive tax structure that would improve how tax is collected.
Both countries require that all gambling operators must be licensed. However, the renewal period is different. Casino companies in Kenya must renew their licenses after 3 years. Those in Zambia must renew their licenses after 5 years. It is clear that the law in Kenya makes operations more expensive due to the limited period upon which a company can run a business legally. However, there are other factors which make Kenya a gambling heavyweight.