Ushering New Era in the Regulation of Gaming Industry in Tanzania
Gambling Seen as Major Source of Govt Revenue
14 July, 2015 By Sebastian Mrindoko
Director General of GBT, Mr. Tarimba Abbas, exchanging views with one of new operators in Tanzania, Prof. Bongani Khumalo from Gidani International

The gaming industry is not simply an entertainment adventure, but a serious economic activity as well and major source of government revenue and job creation.

The introduction of casino gaming activities in Tanzania has created jobs and increased government revenue. Casinos, for example, require intensive labour including security guards, technical and gaming staff. Gaming is now gaining popularity among politicians and other consumers around the world.

The Gaming Board of Tanzania (GBT) Director General, Mr Abbas Tarimba, said at 39th Dar es Salaam International Trade Fair (DITF), which ended recently that the gaming industry was growing fast and making significant contribution to the economy. Over 1.5tri/- is being pumped into the economy through gaming activities in the country annually.

The amount changing hands in gambling is set to increase when the National Lottery commences in November, this year.

"The national lottery will bring about more activities in gambling including the creation of new jobs," he said, adding that after getting the new operator of the national lottery every thing is set for November 7th, this year.

GBT has already inked an agreement with the South African company, Murhandziwa Limited to start operating national lottery.

The application of new technology will make more people particularly from the rural areas to participate in the lottery. There will be special mobile cars moving in different parts of the country to ensure more people get involved in the lottery.

The GBT 2013 corporate, among others, state the need to introduce electronic gaming through internet and mobile phones. The e-gaming would not only help in coping with the global technological changes but also hook many people into gaming activities.

He added, "We are looking to see the economy becoming more vibrant partly because of the gaming activities and in particular the contribution of the national lottery."

With the starting of the national lottery, he said more 10,000 people will get direct and indirect jobs thus supporting government efforts to create new employments.

Currently, he said the gambling activities employs over 6,000 people out of which 2,000 are indirect jobs and the remaining direct jobs.

He said furthermore, that economic impacts will be felt after as it starts operation because of the nature of the industry. Gaming industry impacts more on retail trade as experienced in other countries. Many people tend to visit the lottery locations which increase demands of goods and services.

Currently gaming industry contributes 3 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which the board hopes to see it increasing after the national lottery rolls.

Similarly, an investor in gaming industry, Murhandziwa Limited, targets to raise over 268.85bn/- annually in government revenue, the firm has announced. The firm which is a subsidiary of a South African based company, Gidan International, is scheduled to start operations in the country in November.

The point is that the GBT is satisfied with qualities tabled before the board, that it has merit and convincing to warrant the granting of a work permit to the company.

It is expected Tanzania would become the second leading gaming country in the sector as the company comprised experienced professionals.

"Four types of gaming will be in operation with lotto leading in activity, plus three more whose ticket prices will be ranging from 500/- to 250/- and 150/- but with high prizes to winners," he elaborated.

The purpose, according to the government representative, is that the company is going to provide job opportunities to over 200 Tanzanians recruited into direct employment and well over 1000 to be absorbed in agency payroll.

Under the Gaming Act No 41 of 2003, the investor cannot be given a licence unless he proves capable of tax payment in time and reliably, and capable of protecting customers' rights.

The company is injecting a direct investment of over 56bn/- and reportedly pushing further working capital to 70bn/- in three years. The contribution to the government coffers and the clean financial accounts were issues that needed to be emulated by other public enterprises.

Although the challenges of gambling has not been a concern amongst the people, it is reasonable to assume that as the gaming industry grows and advances, it brings about both good and adverse impacts.

In its endeavor to promote responsible gambling the GBT ensures greater public awareness on the problems through education. Some individuals can become addicted to gambling and this can put such people in a financial and social related crisis. Some people, and often a small proportion referred to as "problem gamblers" gamble in a way which compromises, disrupts or damages family, personal or recreational pursuits.

The biggest negative effect of gambling is loss of money. If someone has a gambling problem and loses a big amount of money, this can result in debt, asset loss, bankruptcy, fraud, theft, job loss or poor performance at work, stress and even suicide.

The GBT also promotes a coordinated approach so that various gaming stake holders play a role in addressing the issue of problem gambling and improve the understanding of social impact of gambling.

Gaming activities especially casino and slots in the Dar es Salaam city are growing fast thus calling for board's intervention to operate the services in an orderly manner consistent with the size of the economy and population to avoid adverse social economic impacts.

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