Tanzania is fast becoming a hotspot for gambling after the country’s Gaming Board (GBT) reported that gamblers’ financial transactions in the country have hit Tsh460 billion ($291 million). That number represents a roughly 20% increase from the amount gamblers have spent in the industry over the past year, allowing traders to increase their net profits over the same time.
In an interview with East African Business Week at the 9th Gaming Board Regulators Africa forum (GRAF) in Dar es Salaam, GBT CEO Abbas Tarimba pointed out that the spike in money being spent in gambling has become a boon for the country’s economy. “In 2011, the gambling industry contributed over Tsh16 billion ($10 million) direct to the government in taxes,” he said.
Tanzania’s Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ms Joyce Mapunjo, backed up Tarimba, saying that the gaming industry’s significant increased revenues has contributed to the development and improvement of the country’s socio-economic programs.
In order to continue on this trajectory, both Tarimba and Mapunjo stressed the importance of improving, implementing, and maintaining a regulatory system. According to Turimba, this system, in theory, will be able to curb the number of illegal traders who have sought ways like importation of illegal gambling machines to cheat their way to profits.
“We are aware concerning the existence of illegal gambling machines which had been imported in the country by the deceitful traders,” he said.
Tarimba suggested that in order for these illegal tactics to be wiped out, government authorities in Tanzania, including the Police and Immigration officers, Revenue Authorities and Bureau of Standards should all pool their resources together in an effort to keep the growing industry as clean as possible. Mapunjo also adds that the industry’s continued growth will only become more meaningful to the country if a proper regulatory environment is established.
The growing progress of the gaming industry in Tanzania has become a significant source of revenue for the country. Likewise, it has also become a platform for which signification contributions can be made towards the socio-economic improvements in the country.
It’s only smart and prudent for people like Tarimba, Mapunjo, and all others in charge to ensure that the industry continues to grow in a fashion that serves the country and its people well.