The evolution of betting industry in Tanzania

Friday October 20 2017


Betting in Tanzania is a practice that existed since even before the establishment of formal betting stations. Fans usually placed informal bets whenever the fierce rivals, Yanga and Simba, played.

After the establishment of the formal betting stations especially in Dar es Salaam, as unbelievable as it may sound too many, sports betting became and still is a source of income for some Tanzanians. Only that today the most common bets and highest bids are placed on football (soccer).Betting is not just for the young or the jobless but rather for people of all ages, professions, religions and financial status.

It has become such a common and addictive practice in Dar es Salaam such that a fan once lost his wife betting on a Simba & Yanga match. See video below;

Betting is a worldwide practice; it is a legal and growing industry that involves various stakeholders and players. It is estimated that in both legal and illegal markets, the game is worth between $700 billion and $1 trillion a year.

This booming business has been fueled by continuous advancements in technology that has made online football betting possible. The growth of the Internet and mobile devices has made betting generally much more accessible. The increase in use of satellite television has added to football fans' access to more live coverage of football matches around the world hence increasing interest and opportunity on betting.

Like in many other parts of the world, betting has captured the attention and the interest of many Tanzanians. It currently occupies a larger portion of individuals' daily activities, financial budgeting and pleasure. Current statistics by the Tanzania Gaming Board (TGB) show that there are 2,684 betting stations countrywide, with most of them, about 1,344, being in Dar es Salaam alone.

Betting is a major source of national revenue, hitting Sh1.4 billion a month.


In May, 2017 The Citizen revealed that the revenue that the government gains from sports betting industry has doubled in the past three years. The revenue has gone up from Sh6.2 billion in 2013/14 to Sh12.1 billion in the last financial year as analyzed from the industry regulator's financial data.



This puts betting among the biggest revenue generators to the national coffers from the gaming sector with casinos.


Data from the Gaming Board of Tanzania (GBT) shows that in the period of 2013/14 to 2015/16, sports betting has generated Sh30 billion in total taking over casino industry which has been a main player in the gaming sector for years in terms of revenue generation.


In that period casinos had generated only sh28 billion which is less by Sh2 billion that of fast-growing sports betting industry.


The revenue collected from sports betting in three years is enough to run the ministry of information, culture, arts and sports as in 2017/18 sought 28.2 billion for all the operations.


Tabling the Budget in Parliament on June 9, the Finance Minister, Dr Phillip Mpango, said the Tanzania Gaming Board is expected to collect revenues reaching Sh34.72 billion this year.

Dr Mpango added that the board would contribute Sh2.17 billion to the Treasury in the 2016/17 fiscal year marking the rise of 50 per cent compared to Sh1.44 billion of 2015/16.


Sports is deemed to have grown faster due to the increase of gaming shops across the country and online (financial) services.

But also in the beginning players were not paying taxes because the GBT was only charging Tax operators. So after they started deducting taxes from players, the revenue grew considerably too.

The government amended section 31A of the Gaming Act Cap 41 in 2015/16 financial year imposing 18% tax to all winnings.

The possibility of getting more money after predicting a sport match and availability of income is what makes more youth involved in.

Some of the most popular sport betting stations that you wouldn’t miss driving around Dar es Salaam are MeridianBet, Throne Bet, Princess Bet Tanzania, iPlay8casino, Premier Bet and 888 sports betting. Most common online betting sites in Tanzania are, the newcomer SportPesa and Mbet.
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