Exploring the Online Gambling Regulations in Tanzania

Online gambling is a controversial topic in many parts of the world, and Tanzania is no exception. In this East African nation of over 60 million people, laws regarding internet betting and gaming sites have evolved rapidly in recent years.

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A Brief History of Gambling in Tanzania

Gambling itself has a long history in Tanzanian culture, from traditional games like Bao to modern lottery games. However, regulations surrounding the industry have gone through many changes.

Prior to 2016, most forms of gambling were prohibited in Tanzania. There was a government-run lottery and sports-betting company only. That year, laws were relaxed to permit private investment in casinos and gambling machines in certain tourist areas if special licenses were acquired.

Things began to shift significantly in 2019 when President John Magufuli lifted the 12-year casino ban in the country. Online gambling, however, remained unlawful and unregulated.

The Current Stance — Restricted but Emerging Market

Fast forward to today, and very few forms of online betting are officially legal according to Tanzania’s Gaming Act.

Prominent international online sportsbooks and casinos are restricted from operating legally by the government. That said, many locals still access these sites to bet on football, horse racing, slots, roulette and more.

There are currently no domestic Tanzanian online betting or casino brands due to stringent state laws. However, the demand is still high. Many speculate that the market may open up soon.

Online Sports BettingBetting with foreign football and sports betting sites is considered unlawful but common despite cash out issues.
Online CasinosSimilarly, playing casino games on overseas gaming sites goes against local regulations.
Land-Based EstablishmentsPhysical betting shops and casinos are permitted in approved tourist zones only.

In the last few years, government officials have discussed introducing new regulations to allow and tax local online betting operators. For now though, the current internet gaming climate remains restrictive.

What Does The Future Hold for Online Gambling in Tanzania?

Most industry experts predict that internet betting regulations in Tanzania will relax over the next 3-5 years as regional neighbors like Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda liberalize their regimes.

Potential upcoming legislative changes may include:

  • Licensing of domestic Tanzanian betting and gambling sites
  • Taxation of international gaming sites and players
  • Rules around casino game odds and live dealer requirements
  • Advertising guidelines for Tanzania-facing bookmakers and casinos
  • Responsible gaming regulations like deposit limits, age verification and more player protections

If licenses are introduced, we could see trusted brands like SportPesa, Betway and 22Bet open servers based in Tanzania in collaboration with local businesses and groups.

This would allow the Tanzania Gaming Board to oversee operations more closely and for tax income to benefit the country directly.

Some financial analysts predict the domestic internet gambling industry could generate over 100 billion TZS per year for Tanzania within just a few years of launching.

With youth internet penetration also rising rapidly across Tanzania on mobile devices, the conditions seem right for growth.

Final Thoughts — A Promising But Precarious Path

In summary, the current status of Tanzania’s fledgling online gambling and sports betting industry hangs delicately in the balance.

Harsh laws have prevented establishment so far. However, recognizing the immense potential benefits of a regulated, taxed market could soon change perspectives.

By striking the right balance between economic upside and responsible oversight, internet gaming may have a bright future in Tanzania long term. This remains a space to watch closely in the coming 24 months!

Questions and Answers

Yes, gaming laws should be relaxed to allow a regulated domestic online betting industry. This would let the government oversee operations, generate tax revenue to fund community projects, create jobs and benefit the economy if done responsibly.

Analyst estimates show regulated online gambling could bring 100 billion TZS or more per year to Tanzania within a few years if legislation opened up. This tax income could transform funding for infrastructure, schools, healthcare and more if allocated wisely.

The most likely short-term shift would be introducing a licensing system for domestic Tanzanian online betting sites to legally operate onshore. Taxation of international sites may follow. New responsible gambling protections would come with legalization.

Strict regulations on marketing, age verification, identity checks, deposit limits, self-exclusion options, opening hours and responsible gambling education would be crucial to protect vulnerable groups if legal online betting opened in Tanzania.

Industry experts predict established international online sportsbooks like Betway, SportPesa and 22Bet would be among the first to open local Tanzanian offices if licensing allowed international brands to legally operate. Their financial backing and experience makes them well-equipped early movers.

Lotta Nyman
Lotta Nyman

Regulation and Responsible Gambling Expert and Editor at GuruBetting.