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The Future of Gambling in Southern Africa

by Staff Reporter
23 Jan 2018 at 09:59hrs | Views
Image: Pixabay.com
Gambling is often a controversial - bordering on scandalous - topic when it comes to laws and regulations outside the United States. A lot of how gambling is treated depends on the social norms of the area, as well as how the culture perceives gambling. One of the more interesting areas to explore with regards to the perception of gambling culture is South Africa. A troubled but inspired region, South Africa is slowly growing into its own with the times. While gambling is generally frowned upon there, it is slowly growing to accommodate the gaming culture, and perhaps eventually even online casinos such as Slots of Vegas will see action there. One country in particular close to South Africa, Zimbabwe, is an interesting benchmark when you compare the two and see the stark differences.

The negative stigma
When you look at gambling as a whole, you'll find that most places have a negative perception overall. It's not completely unfounded, because gambling is known for its addictive tendencies. There are certain types of people that tend to be vulnerable to what gambling provides, which starts off a vicious cycle that could very well ruin the life of the individual in worst case scenarios. While this kind of perception shouldn't be ignored, it is also generally overblown. Gambling has a few surprisingly positive health benefits, but the main consideration is how often you do it. As a matter of fact, it can be argued that gambling in moderation is better than no gambling at all. Because of the cases where gambling has led to self-destructive behavior, South Africa hasn't always been the kind of continent that openly welcomes this type of gaming.

How South Africa views gambling
Ever since the 1960s, gambling has been generally restricted around South Africa. With laws banning gambling of any kind, and even laws banning online casinos, it comes as no surprise that there eventually grew to be an illegal gambling culture in the continent. This continued throughout the 1990s, where it's approximated that about 2,000 illegal gambling establishments existed around the continent at the time. Fast forward to the present day, and things are surprisingly looking up for gambling establishments, as there is now a real system implemented. This makes gambling in some areas legal with the establishment of legal casinos. Even a national lottery was established.

However, while things are indeed looking up for the gaming industry in South Africa, it is still very wary about how it treats the gambling culture as a whole. Online casinos have also seen a small resurgence, and are continuing to grow as time goes on.

How Zimbabwe views gambling
Being a country very close to South Africa, it would be understandable to assume that it's just as tight with the gambling community as the rest of South Africa tends to be. However, you'd be surprised at just how open it is with regards to gambling culture. Due to the unfortunate lack of tourism, Zimbabwe knows that it makes most of its money with gambling tourism. This is why you'll find it completely open to all sorts of different types of gambling - from casinos to horse racing. Online casinos are also perfectly legal, making Zimbabwe an excellent place to visit for anyone who appreciates the gambling culture. The national government makes a lot of their money from these establishments, so you can certainly expect there to be a large concentration of casinos.

Why does Zimbabwe and the rest of South Africa view gambling differently?

It has to do with the culture, as well as the current needs of the area. Zimbabwe was formed in the 60s, and relies heavily on gambling to keep itself afloat. The rest of South Africa on the other hand is following very slowly behind because it doesn't deem gambling as necessary. Still, the changes being made slowly but surely all throughout South Africa show that it is willing to evolve. It went from banning every single thing that had to do with gambling all the way to casinos being completely legal. It certainly helps South Africa become more of a hotspot because a good gambling scene is always bound to attract tourists.

What can change in the future?
While it doesn't seem like it in the present time, it isn't far-fetched to say that the future of gambling in South Africa is relatively bright. Places like Zimbabwe know the kind of predicament they're in, and that tourism suffers because of the lack of a gambling community all around South Africa. It's completely legal there, but what about the other countries in the region?

Will they eventually go the way of Zimbabwe, abandoning the negative stigma and becoming more lenient when it comes to gambling? Perhaps it will start to evolve in such a way that it begins to match the United States when it comes to laws and regulations. While a bit of wariness when it comes to gambling is understandable, it's also important to note just how much revenue it can generate in a country. It can certainly help a region such as South Africa continue to develop and grow into its own.

To conclude, nothing is set in stone regarding the future of gambling in South Africa. While it certainly holds a lot of sway in Zimbabwe, who knows what twists and turns South Africa will take as the years go by? Many different companies and industries who have their roots in gambling are currently eyeing the region with great interest. If gambling starts to take more and more precedence, it will allow them more revenue, which in turn could help with its development. South Africa has many countries that could benefit from the kind of partnership that gaming companies are willing to provide. While there's no guarantee of whether or not gambling will ultimately succeed or fail in South Africa, the fact that there are changes being made in favor of gambling tourism means that there is indeed hope.
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