The number of Namibia’s casinos is likely to increase markedly in the years to come. For the past ten years, since recently after the country gained true independence (it was ruled by a South African backed regime for a long time) until now, there has been a ban on the issuance of new casino licenses. In fact, the hunger for more licenses was such that at least one official from the licensing board was able to, for a short time at least, greatly boost his salary by offering fake licenses until he was discovered, however. The end result seems to have been that from May 2006 the Government has done the sensible thing. If people are willing to pay for the right to set up Namibia’s casinos, it seems only sensible that the Namibian Government, rather than one of its officials on the sly, get the money, don’t you think?
The reason for the expansion shouldn’t be hard to see. In common with other countries of southern Africa, there is a great desire to expand the tourist trade. Other than diamonds and cattle ranching, Namibia doesn’t have a great deal else to develop (although economics wonks are very impressed with the way they have managed their fisheries, but that’s another matter). The tourist trade would be based on two things: safaris and pitching the idea of winter sun and warmth to Northern Europeans, desperate to escape the Northern Hemisphere winter.
Here’s a list of current Namibia casinos:
Swakopmund: Mermaid Casino and Swakopmund Hotel
There are 170 slot and video poker machines and tables for American roulette (three), poker (three), blackjack (four), Hold’em and stud poker tables.
Windhoek: Desert Jewel Casino and Windhoek Country Club
There are 200 slot and video poker machines and American roulette (one table), poker (two tables), and blackjack (four tables).
Kalahari Sands Hotel & Casino
There are 200 slot and video poker machines and blackjack tables (four), poker (one), and American roulette (three). It’s worth noting that this casino is owned and run by Sol International, the same people who set up the famous Sun City.
So, the future of Namibia’s casino industry looks bright. The hunger for more licenses was so great that people were willing to pay for them under the table and the Government has finally relented and agreed that more legal ones will be issued. With the involvement of the large international gaming companies, it looks as if both the casino industry and the tourism industry will be greatly expanded.