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Rwanda takes control of gaming industry with new standards

Rwanda has sought to bring sanity to the gaming industry with a new set of rules meant to come to effect by end year following sustained public outcry.

“We want to develop specific standards especially for the premises where gaming activities will be carried out as well as the kind of slot machines to be used. The gaming law currently in place only addresses this issue in general but there are no specifics,” said Jean Claude Mushimire, head of the Services Industry Development Policy at the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

“The temporary slot machines were suspended after we discovered that some operators were operating in unauthorised premises that allow easy access to persons under 18, which is illegal,” he added.

Having kicked off in 2004, the trade has become a money minting venture, contributing significant amount to revenue, especially after the introduction of the gaming tax law.

“Since the law came into force in 2012, this industry has contributed more than Rwf1 billion ($1.2 million) to the economy,” said Mr Mushimire.

The gaming tax law requires betting companies as well as telecom firms to pay 13 per cent of their earnings from gaming and promotions, while a withholding tax of 15 per cent is levied on a player’s winnings.

“Sports betting is the most popular; with as little as $0.37, one can place a bet on their favourite football team today and wake up a millionaire tomorrow,” said a gambler.

“Betting should only be done for fun and not as a full-time economic activity, and while business is booming for us, we expect people to be responsible,” said a manager at Lucky Bets Rwanda.


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