Zimbabwe’s Casino Industry Grows at 8.5%, as the Big Three Lead Further Growth in Africa
20 August 2023
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Zimbabwe’s largest industries seem to revolve around the natural beauty of Victoria Falls or the Mana Pools, but this is set to change in the near future. While tourism currently leads as Zimbabwe’s largest entertainment industry, the casino industry has experienced rapid growth in recent years. This is an expected result of infrastructure expansion in Zimbabwe, where physical and online casinos can operate profitably.

Zimbabwe’s Casino Industry

Zimbabwe’s gambling industry is experiencing a growth rate of 8.5%, with estimates getting as high as 12% when all of Africa is considered. Currently, the Regency Casino is the largest in the country, nestled in the luxurious Rainbow Towers Hotel in Harare. The five-star hotel caters to both citizens and tourists who venture to the capital, while the Regency Casino includes 12 table games and over 100 slot machines to keep guests entertained.

As it stands, the Regency Casino is the largest and most profitable casino in Zimbabwe, despite being smaller in stature when compared to other African establishments. However, Zimbabwe is quickly catching up to giants like Nigeria and South Africa, economically. There’s plenty of room for the Regency Casino to grow.

Yet most importantly, there are inspiring success stories closer to home, which indicate global fame is possible. For example, the Rio Casino Resort in South Africa is classified as one of the biggest casinos in the world, alongside iconic establishments like the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, United States. The Rio Casino Resort is renowned for offering around 260,000 square feet of gaming space and is also considered to be the largest casino on the continent. There are big shoes to fill, but any burgeoning casino franchise can shoot for the stars with keen motivation.

Of course, the Regency Casino is just one casino of many in Zimbabwe, with others including the Bulawayo Sun Casino and Kariba Lake’s Caribbea Bay Resort. Inside The Kingdom Hotel at Victoria Falls, there’s also the Makasa Sun Casino, which naturally receives a lot of attention from tourists.

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Casinos are just one facet of a wider industry that’s growing in Zimbabwe and beyond. Increasing access to the internet, which will help all industries grow, will be instrumental in growing iGaming. Many land-based casinos offer online services and, as Zimbabwe enters this market, it can obtain more revenue for those casinos and the country at large.

The Big Three

The trend in Zimbabwe is one that is happening across Africa. It is spearheaded by the big three – South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya. South Africa has always had strong economic power, which is now being turned to gambling and sports betting to the tune of $2.3 billion a year. It is also home to the largest casinos on the continent, many of them situated in the country’s North West province. The most well-known casino there is found at Sun City, a complex full of hotels, restaurants and other tourist attractions.

Nigeria is in a similar situation, taking in 7% of the entire continent’s revenue. However, with a population of 200 million against South Africa’s 60 million, Nigeria’s growth potential dwarfs everybody else’s. The Federal Palace Hotel in Lagos houses its largest casino and is right in the middle of Victoria Island, the city’s (and the country’s) foremost commercial district where corporate travellers are commonplace. Much like Zimbabwe, increasing internet penetration in Nigeria will propel its gambling industry even further.

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Lastly, there’s Kenya, whose $300 million industry value has plummeted in recent years due to government missteps. Nairobi is filled with gambling facilities, the largest of which is the Casino Flamingo, which has established a yearly growth rate of around 7% despite setbacks. This is largely attributed to the expansion of online media, which should see Kenyan gambling recover losses.

Contributors to Growth

There are two strong contributors to Zimbabwe and Africa’s casino market growth. We touched on one above: infrastructure development plans. Better transport and road systems connecting Zimbabwe to its economically strong neighbours – South Africa and Botswana – enhance the country’s tourism industry, including casinos. Infrastructure also includes technology such as the Internet, allowing the establishment of online casinos that also invigorate the economy.

Secondly, Africa is a young continent, with much of our population being below 30. Generally, those younger people have better knowledge of technology and more openness to new forms of entertainment, which both combine to benefit industries like casinos.