Simon’s Guide to Gambling in Lesotho

Picture of Lesotho's gorgeous landscape. Gambling is legal in the country, but online gambling is not yet regulated.

Guide to Gambling in Lesotho


Lesotho, officially known as the Kingdom of Lesotho is a landlocked country in southern Africa, completely surrounded by South Africa. Its territory is just over 33,000 km2 with a population of around 2 million. The country’s capital and largest city is Maseru with approximately 230,000 residents. Lesotho’s official languages are Sotho and English. The country operates as a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy with King Letsie III as its head. Most of the king’s duties are ceremonial, though. Lesotho is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. The dominant religion is Christianity (mostly because of the British influence) as almost 90% of the population practices it.

Lesotho, then known as Basutoland emerged as a single polity under King Moshoeshoe I in the early 19th century. During the European colonial years, the country became a British protectorate. During this time, the administration of Basutoland was transferred from Maseru to Cape Colony. However, Basutoland gained independence from the British in 1966 becoming the Kingdom of Lesotho and restoring Maseru as the capital city.

One of Lesotho’s biggest problems is AIDS. According to a 2009 report, Lesotho is severely afflicted by AIDS as about 23% of the population suffers from this deadly disease. This is amongst the highest in the world. In urban areas, approximately 40% of the women under 40 have HIV.* Another major issue is the poverty, as around 40% of the population lives under the international poverty line of $1.25 a day.

Gambling is legal in Lesotho and regulated by the government since 1989. The Casino Board (established in 1989) is responsible for the regulation and supervision of all gambling activities. There is currently 1 land-based casino operating in Lesotho, in the capital city of Maseru. This casino offers the most popular games to players like poker, roulette, blackjack, and slot machines amongst others. Online gambling, on the other hand, is not yet regulated in the country. Players from Lesotho, however, are accepted in numerous offshore online casinos to try out their favorite games.


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*Human Development Report 2009






Casino gambling in Lesotho


Online casino gambling in Lesotho: not regulated


Casino gambling is legal in Lesotho since the Casino Order of 1989. This act established a Casino Board which oversees and regulates all gambling activities in the country. To operate a gambling business legally, the owner has to acquire proper licences from the Casino Board. The board gives out licences which are valid for 10 years. It is possible to renew the licence, but the owner has to apply for it 2 years prior to the expiry of the authorization.* There is currently one casino operating in Lesotho, the AVANI Lesotho Hotel & Casino, in the capital city of Maseru. Online gambling, however, is not yet regulated in the country. Therefore, players from Lesotho can only play in offshore online casinos where they are accepted, of course.



*Lesotho Legal Information Institute: Casino Order 1989


Bingo in Lesotho


Online bingo in Lesotho: not regulated


Bingo is quite popular amongst players around the world, especially in the US. Despite its worldwide popularity, there are no bingo halls in Lesotho at the moment. However, players from Lesotho are accepted in numerous offshore online casinos to satisfy their needs of a good bingo game.



Poker in Lesotho


Online poker in Lesotho: not regulated


Poker is quite possibly the most popular casino game ever created. Its ever growing popularity can be traced back to the constant television broadcasts, regularly held world championships, and its competitive nature. Many would argue that poker involves more skill than luck but it still counts as a form of gambling. Gambling is legal in Lesotho since 1989, so players can enjoy poker in the only land-based casino in the country, the AVANI Lesotho Hotel & Casino located in the capital city of Maseru. However, players from Lesotho are allowed to play in offshore online casinos as online gambling is not yet regulated in the country. Numerous offshore online casinos accept players from Lesotho.


Sports betting in Lesotho


Online sports betting in Lesotho: not regulated


Sports betting is one of the most common forms of gambling out there. Sports betting, like the other forms of gambling previously mentioned, is completely legal in Lesotho. Participants have to be 18 or older, though. There is little to no information about land-based bookmakers although it is legal to conduct such businesses in the country. Players from Lesotho can bet on their favorite sports at an offshore online bookmaker, though.



Lottery in Lesotho


Online lottery in Lesotho: not regulated


Arguably, the lottery is the most common form of gambling around the world. It is safe to say that where gambling is legal there is a national lottery. However, in Lesotho, it is (or it was) a little bit different. There is not much information on national lotteries in the country. On the other hand, there was an initiative by the World Bank in the country involving lottery tickets. The organization gave out lottery tickets to people to prevent the spreading of HIV. This resulted in a more than 20% drop in HIV affections so it was a huge success.*



*Using Lotteries to Incentivize Safer Sexual Behavior


Bitcoin gambling in Lesotho


Bitcoin gambling in Lesotho: not regulated


Bitcoin is a digital currency often referred to as a “cryptocurrency” introduced in 2008. It quickly became popular around the world as an alternative mean of payment. Bitcoin gambling appeared shortly after the introduction of the currency and continues to grow in popularity as more and more online casinos started to specialize in it. Bitcoin is still a relatively new phenomenon so only just a handful of countries issued laws concerning it. As of now, Lesotho does not have any specific laws concerning Bitcoin gambling or Bitcoin in general.



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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: 2016.01.27.

Simon's Guide to Gambling in Lesotho
Article Name
Simon's Guide to Gambling in Lesotho
An overview of gambling's legal status in the Kingdom of Lesotho.

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