By Oliver Samboko
ZAMBIA is losing over £37 million (K888 million) annually in revenue due to some casinos and game betting outlets operating illegally, an expert has said.
And Zambia Republican Party president,Wright Musoma said it was disheartening that the country was losing huge sums of money at a time when it was in dire need of funding.
Attorney General Association (AGA) board members, Markus Green, said Zambia should strengthen its laws to stop money laundering in the casino and game betting sectors.
Mr Green noted that while the Zambia Tourism and Hospitality (Casino) Regulations No. 93 of 2016 mandated casino operators to obtain a licence, some operators were not adhering to regulations resulting in the country losing colossal sums of money in revenue.
Mr Green was speaking when he addressed a workshop organised by the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) and AGA.
He is a board member in charge of training of prosecutors, judges, and investigators of transnational crimes.
Mr Green was however happy that the Zambian government recently abolished the 20 percent casino levy and introduced a new tax regime on casino, lottery, betting and gaming to boost revenue collection
from the gambling industry.
Stakeholders drawn from investigative wings, prosecutors, casino operators and other sectors are gathered at Sandy’s Creation in Chilanga for a
two-day training workshop on money laundering in casinos.
Mr. Green said in the wake of Covid-19, operators of casinos, sports betting facilities and slot businesses should adhere to health guidelines as they resume operations.
He said his organisation was looking forward to more cooperation with the Zambian authorities to strengthen and support the rule of law and explore ways in which to help law enforcement agencies.
Mr. Green paid special tribute to the FIC for being instrumental in facilitating cooperation with law enforcement, Government, financial
and civic institutions to promote knowledge exchange in fighting financial crimes in the country.
He said the AGA in cooperation with FIC had been hosting a number of successful workshops on Trade-Based Money Laundering and was happy to
host the virtual session on casinos in Zambia which would allow the country to detect money laundering.
Meanwhile, Mr Musoma said the gambling facilities operating illegally must not be allowed to enrich only themselves because they were getting a lot of money from Zambians but never remit the required taxes.
He said in a separate interview yesterday, that it was imperative that the government moved in quickly to stop the illegalities immediately.
The opposition leader said such illegalities were not supposed to be allowed in the country.
Mr. Musoma said there was need for the law that compelled
gambling facilities to remit tax to be strictly implemented so that the country could earn the much needed revenue from the sector.