“Botswana are Ready for a National Lottery”

  • CEO says benchmarking was done in Mauritius
  • Casino licences to issued for Gabs, Kasane, Maun and Palapye


A history of private lotteries and raffles supported by the public shows that Batswana are ready for a national lottery, the CEO of the Gambling Authority, Emolemo Kesitilwe, has said. Addressing a press conference in Gaborone recently, Kesitilwe noted that participation of people in SMS lotteries is more evidence that a national lottery would be supported.

“A lottery will also contribute immensely to the Botswana Government coffers as well as give to worthy social causes,” he said.

Kesitilwe stated that in 2017, the Gambling Authority benchmarked with the national lottery in Mauritius, a country whose population is estimated at 1,5 million people and a stable economy, as an example of a market closer to ours of potential.

“The information shared from their Gambling Regulatory Authority is that their lottery made over $100 million in 2015,” he said. “We believe that Botswana has an aspirational market and would support a national lottery.”

“We look forward to a successful consultation with the Honourable Minister of Trade and Industry (Mmusi Kgafela) after the conclusion of the licence negotiations.”
He disclosed that a request for applications (RFA) for betting licences is currently being taken through internal approvals processes.

“Four betting licences will be made available,” Kesitile said. “The request for applications (RFA) will be issued out before the end of the calender year 2022/23. The target date for licencing is June 2023.”

He noted that the licensing of betting houses will be based on the licensing of a business and that subsequent establishments may then be licensed.

According to Kesitilwe, there may be a predilection for the sports betting model because it permits organic growth while horse racing, turf clubs, rules associated with ownership and movement of horses, licensing of personnel associated with horses, handicapping structures and breeding rules and norms are considered wanting.

“We don’t believe that we are at a point where we can determine the licences that can be issued for (horse) racing as we don’t believe the appropriate infrastructure is in place,” he said.

By contrast, Kesitilwe asserted that there is still room for casino activity in Botswana, saying that RFAs have been completed and are ready for issuance for one casino each in Gaborone, Kasane, Maun and Palapye.