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Mozambique: New Law Lifts Restrictions on Establishment and Operation of Casinos

(Jan. 19, 2010) It was reported on January 11, 2009, that Armando Guebuza, the President of Mozambique, signed into law an amendment to the 1994 gambling law. (Guebuza Promulgates Casino Bill, AGENCIA DE INFORMACAO DE MOCAMBIQUE, Jan. 11, 2010, available at

Mozambique's parliament unanimously passed the bill in June 2009, and the Constitutional Council, a body with special jurisdiction on constitutional matters, declared it constitutional, following a request for a review from the President, before giving his assent. (Id.) The Mozambique government's enactment of the amendment, eliminated stringent restrictions on the establishment and operation of gambling businesses that were put in place by the 1994 law, thereby hoping to boost the country's tourism industry. (Id.) The new law introduced the following changes:

  • It lifted a previous restriction that made certain areas off limits for operating gambling establishments;
  • It softened a previous requirement that casinos may only be built as part of a luxury hotel with at least 250 rooms; the new provision states casinos may be built “in association” with one or more hotels that rate at least four stars (five-star hotels in the case of casinos to be built in the city of Maputo, the largest city and the capital of Mozambique);
  • It cut the minimum startup capital requirement almost in half, from US$15 million to US$8 million;
  • It legalized online gambling; and
  • It made it legal for gambling establishments to place and operate slot machines outside their primary place of business, for example, in shopping malls. (Id.)

The task of regulating casino establishments, which was primarily assigned to the Ministry of Finance, is now going to be the responsibility of the Ministry of Tourism. (Id.) The Ministry of Finance, however, will retain its functions of inspection and tax collection. (Id.)

South Africa, which shares a border with Mozambique, passed a law restricting online gambling in June 2008. (See, Hanibal Goitom, Internet Gambling Law Passed, Global Legal Monitor, June 2, 2008, available at //