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Gambling in Namibia

Namibia is a relatively young country that gained its independence from South Africa in 1990, after the Namibian War of Independence. Like other African countries, gambling is prevalent in Namibia, where casino gaming and the national lottery are perfectly legal.

At present, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism’s Directorate of Tourism currently administers the Casino and Gambling House Act, Act 32 of 1994. Act 32 seeks to regulate gambling conducted at slot machines and tables found in both gambling houses and casinos, respectively.

The current set up is that Act 32 provides a Casino Board, which considers applications and also makes application recommendations for gambling licenses. At present, there are a total of 7 Casino licenses and 260 Gambling House licenses that have been approved to date, however there are only 3 functioning casinos in Namibia, two in the capital city Windhoek and another in Swakopmund.

In 1996, Act 28 imposed a moratorium on the issuance of new gambling house licenses, although this did not include casino licenses, hence no new gambling house licenses can be issues under the new Act.

Due to the 10-year moratorium, Namibia’s casino gaming industry was stunted, and while the moratorium was lifted in 2006, the country has not established any other casinos. However, there has been an underground explosion in illegal gambling, that are currently being dealt with by the Drug Law Enforcement department in the Namibian Police.

Online Gambling in Namibia

While there are no online casinos based in Namibia, players can access foreign sportsbooks and casinos with little restriction.

Currently, the country is in a slump where the gambling industry is concerned, where even the growth of its land-based casinos have come to a standstill due to the license moratorium, which was imposed by the Namibian government in 1997. However, this was revoked in 2006, but the casino industry still hasn't picked up.

Decently framed gambling laws have still not been put in place by the Namibian government, but a draft of the new Gaming and Entertainment Control Bill has been proposed for house approval, and should be implemented in place of the current Casinos and Gambling Houses Act from 1994, but it’s unclear if online gambling will be regulated or introduced in Namibia in the near future.

However, there is nothing in the current gambling law to prevent players from signing up to play at foreign online casinos and sportsbooks, and most online casinos accept wagers from Namibian players.