Simon’s Guide to Gambling in Zimbabwe


People gambling, sports betting in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Sports betting in Zimbabwe



Gambling in Zimbabwe is gaining more and more popularity in recent years, as economic hardships and unemployment grow larger, many people look at gambling as a potential source of income outside of the formal economy.

Gambling in Zimbabwe is legal and regulated. The Lotteries and Gambling Board is the governmental body responsible for overseeing and controlling Zimbabwe’s gambling industry through the Lotteries and Gaming Act, which was enacted in 1998.

The board is also trusted with the task of issuing licenses to gambling facilities. Online gambling is not specifically regulated by the Act, but there are mentions of “electronic gaming devices” and it also says, it’s aim is “to regulate and control the development and operation of all lotteries and gaming activities”, it is safe to assume, it applies to online gambling as well.


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Casino gambling in Zimbabwe


Online casino gambling in Zimbabwe: legal, casinos require a license


Zimbabwe, according to many separate sources on the internet, has 8 major brick-and-mortar gambling facilities at the time of writing, 3 of which are located in its capital, Harare. Almost all of these are operated in dedicated casino spaces of major hotels and tourist resorts.

So far, online gambling in Zimbabwe have not been relevant, due to the low internet penetration (although, according to the most recent metrics it stands on 44,3%, currently*).

The relatively low internet penetration is part of the reason that there are no Zimbabwe-based online casinos, and for a citizen of Zimbabwe, to access ones that are operated from abroad is not directly regulated, so it is practically legal.




Bingo in Zimbabwe


Online Bingo in Zimbabwe: legal, require a licence


Apparently, Bingo is not really a ‘thing’ in Zimbabwe, neither offline, nor online. It also means, that the legal status is the same as for online casinos, so people of Zimbabwe are technically allowed to play on foreign Bingo sites, and a lot of these sites will accept them as their players.



Poker in Zimbabwe


Online Poker in Zimbabwe: legal, require license, just the same as other types of gambling


The Lotteries and Gaming Act of Zimbabwe gives a legal definition for “game”, that is quite broad: “any game, irrespective of whether or not its result is determined by luck…”. This, above all means, that it does not make a distinction between games based merely on luck, and Poker, which is, in many countries recognized as, at least partially, a game of skill.

Therefore, gaming facilities, that have Poker tables need a legit licence to operate in Zimbabwe and some of the major casinos in the country do offer Poker to their customers.

However, online Poker, again, is not directly regulated, therefore it is considered legal. Which is well reflected in the wide range of foreign online casinos, that do accept players from Zimbabwe.



Sports Betting in Zimbabwe


Online sports Betting in Zimbabwe: legal, requires a licence, extremely popular form of gambling in Zimbabwe


Sports betting in Zimbabwe is grown as big as to become almost a kind of national pastime over the past few years, largely, due to the huge unemployment rates (estimated, around 85-90%). Sports betting has shifted from a hobby to being a legit source of income for many in Zimbabwe.

Historically, horse betting was the most popular form of sports betting. Most of the betting was going on in Borrowdale Park, the country’s only horse racing pitch and on local greyhound races. But with the launch of Zimbet, a popular betting shop in Harehare in the mid-2000’s, the interest quickly shifted towards football.

Betting is regulated and running a betting shop requires a licence, but it is perfectly legal in possession of one,.

/Although, according to Bloomberg*, the Zimbabwean government seized to award further licenses, in an attempt to limit the surge of gambling, betting and lottery in Zimbabwe./

The number of betting sites on domains is also increasing. They accept bets on horse and greyhound racing, cricket, football etc. However, due to the low internet penetration, punters in Zimbabwe largely prefer the brick-and-mortar shops, but placing bets with foreign online bookmakers is legal – if they have acquired a license from the government

Unlicensed sites are not directly regulated either.




Lottery in Zimbabwe


Online lottery in Zimbabwe: legal, requires licence, there’s also state lottery


Lottery in Zimbabwe falls under the scope of the same act regulating all other forms of gambling in the country. It also regulates all “schemes or arrangements known as lotto and scratch-card“, which, more than likely, include Keno as well. The State of Zimbabwe operates a State Lottery game, since 1935 and they also offer other kinds of instant win games, scratch cards.

The regulation doesn’t specifically deal with online lottery, or online Keno, but as a Zimbabwe based online lottery site operates with a licence, it suggests, that the legal status is in fact the same. The only Zimbabwe-based online lottery platform, was launched last year, (also has an Android app) offers types of lottery and instant win games, sports betting and also online scratch cards.




Bitcoin Gambling in Zimbabwe


Bitcoin Gambling in Zimbabwe: legal, license required, no specific regulation applies to BitCoin gambling


Bitcoin, to this point, has a reputation of largely being a plaything of hackers, people conducting illicit activities online and the wealthy technically inclined. Zimbabwe, with its less than 50% internet penetration and above 80% of unemployment is not a likely a country where Bitcoin gambling would be popular (although, a Zimbabwean lawyer Simba Machiridza has written a white paper* on the futuristic concept of Bitcoin being a viable alternative to the country’s current monetary framework).

The Lotteries and Gaming Act doesn’t regulate online casinos in general, and as expected, no specific word in it on Bitcoin casinos either. That means, they’re legal as long as they have a license and Bitcoin casinos not licensed in Zimbabwe specifically are not directly regulated.




Online gambling websites accepting players from Zimbabwe


Even though online gambling is legal and regulated in Zimbabwe it is not a big online gambling market. There are only a few online gambling websites with valid license, which accept players from Zimbabwe.



32 Red casino accepting players from Zimbabwe.



32 Red online bookmaker, sports betting website accepting players from Zimbabwe



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This page is part of Simon’s List – Legal Status of Online Gambling – a definitive guide to the legal status of all forms of online gambling activities in every country around the world.


Last updated: 2015.09.22.


Gambling in Zimbabwe
Article Name
Gambling in Zimbabwe
An overview of the legal status of various forms of gambling and online gambling in Zimbabwe.

1 Response

  1. Fa says:

    My quesion is regarding mobile sport betting apps in Zimbabwe and the legality thereof? do they need licensing?

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