Swaziland's culture has played a significant role in the history and regulation of gambling activities. Based on its history, most gambling activities remained under strict supervision and remained prohibited in most instances. The national lottery program has been legal for most of the country's history.
However, it remains unclear if the lottery program was active during British rule or if the Swaziland government made it legal after gaining independence in 1968. Some people imply that the British banned all acts of betting in 1889 after passing the Crimes Act, which prohibited citizens from gambling in public or having a betting house.
Before attaining its independence, the British government passed the Casino Act and the Lotteries Act of 1963 laws to regulate betting. The Swaziland lawmakers in 1970 passed the Bookmakers and Taxation Act of 1970. They recently repealed the three laws by enacting the Gaming Act of 2010.
Gambling nowadays in Eswatini
Currently, there are four-land-based casinos in the country. That is impressive for such a small country with a population of fewer than 1.5 million residents. Both locals and tourists are allowed to place stakes in all the online and land-based casinos. Foreign players can also register on licensed online casinos and begin playing anytime they like from their locations.
Located in the flashy capital Mbabane, the Royal Swazi Casino is the largest brick-and-mortar casino in the Kingdom. Players can choose from over 150 slot machines, including table games like Roulette, Blackjack, and Poker.
The other three casinos include Happy Valley Casino, Nhlangano Casino Royale, and Piggs Peak Hotel and Casino. These provide players with a wide variety of slot machines and table games.
The emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic affected revenues for most casino operators. That is due to factors like reduced public gatherings and suspension of travel for tourists. Most casinos reported between 35% and 48% percent revenue loss. Additionally, many casino operators and guides lost their jobs since the beginning of the pandemic.
However, the same period witnessed the growth of gamblers placing their stakes through online platforms. That has revived revenue for stakeholders and the chance for gamblers to play their favorite online casino games from their places of work and home. Ease of access using mobile phones and computers has revived a glimpse of hope to the industry.