Botswana’s gambling regulator has published a draft betting licence application, kickstarting the country’s long-held ambition to grow its sports betting and online gambling industry.
The Botswana Gambling Authority published the draft betting document (RFA) on its website on March 4, where it will be available until May 3.
The document, when finalised, can be used by licence applicants to provide the necessary information required by the regulator to be awarded a licence.
“The purpose of the publication is to give the public an opportunity to comment directly to the authority before the final RFA is published. In that regard, the authority invites the public to provide comments on the draft betting (bookmaker and totalisator) RFA,” the regulator said in its announcement on March 4.
Speaking with VIXIO GamblingCompliance at the ICE London expo in February, Peter Kesitilwe, acting CEO of the Botswana Gambling Authority, said he was keen for operators to apply for a licence that now allows for land-based and online betting, as “the government is losing out on taxes”.
Additionally, the government of Botswana’s annual budget of PULA60.30bn (€4.19m) for 2023/24 is a 13 percent increase from 2022/23, the highest budget increase over the last five years, leading the country to expedite its search for new revenue streams.
“Online betting is now legal, but there are unlicensed operators already active in the market. We want to encourage them to apply. It will improve player protection, increase taxes as well as contribute to responsible gambling developments. Operators need to apply and normalise being regulated,” Kesitilwe said.
In June 2020, Botswana awarded its first internet lottery licence and the regulator had intended to start the process of awarding online sports-betting licences at the start of 2021.
Botswana is home to an estimated 2.58m people and has a GDP per capita of $6,805. Comparatively, neighbouring South Africa’s GDP per capita is $7,055 and Sub-Saharan Africa's GDP per capita for 2021 was $1,626.
The country is hosting the International Association of Gaming Regulators (IAGR) conference later this year.