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Botswana is a small country in Southern Africa, just north of South Africa. Botswana isn’t so small in size but they certainly are in population, with only a little over 2 million people.
Botswana used to be one of the poorest countries in the world at one time, but they have come a long way since then and their economy has grown tremendously over the last while, and they are now right up there with South Africa as far as per capita GDP goes. (1)
Botswana still has quite a ways to go to catch up with the leading African countries as far as telecommunications go though, with only 15% of their population having access to the internet, which isn’t bad compared to some African countries that have less than 2% internet penetration, but there is certainly a lot of room for growth here. We may indeed see that though in the coming years with the positive direction that Botswana remains headed in. (2)
Botswana does have legal gambling, and the gambling here is regulated by two separate laws, the Lotteries and Betting Act, which allows for lotteries to be run by charitable organizations only, and the Casinos Act, which licenses and regulates casinos. (3)
To date, 11 licenses for casinos have been issued, and 10 have been built and are operating in Botswana. 6 different cities have casinos running in them at this time. They do offer a fair bit of action for those who are up for a full casino experience, although they are certainly out of reach of a lot of Batswana. (4)
Things move rather slowly here and a bill was written back in 2011 to update the gambling laws but it still remains under review. There also has been plans to approve a national lottery here but that’s been put on the shelf as well.
Since the current scheme doesn’t serve the majority of people very well, illegal gambling is said to be rampant here, which ranges from illegal slot parlors to lottery schemes run by text messages on mobile phones. The government here isn’t happy about this, but they continue on, as is so often the case when people want to gamble and cannot find viable legal options. (5)
In some cases, as with the phone based lotteries, the law really lags behind technology and they don’t even address such matters, leaving the government powerless to act without updating their laws, and that isn’t happening very fast at all.
The same holds true with online gambling, the law is silent on the matter and while only a small percentage of Batswana have internet access these days, the number is growing, and online access brings with it a cornucopia of gambling variety, which is available on a moment’s notice right from home or even on the go with your mobile device.
Playing Poker in Botswana
Poker in Botswana is in its infancy, which is to be expected in a country where the internet itself is pretty much in its infancy. The internet is what has propelled poker to the massive growth that it has seen, and Botswana is in the early stages of this development.
Batswana do really like to gamble though, and it may be just a matter of time before the great game of poker starts getting the kind of exposure that it gets elsewhere, and even elsewhere in Africa, and poker is actually very popular in neighbor South Africa actually.
There is only one dedicated poker room in all of Botswana, the Grand Palm Hotel Resort Casino Poker Room, and from the name it’s easy to tell that this place caters to tourists, and that’s the case pretty much with all of Botswana’s casinos, although locals are welcome as well as long as they have the money to play at the stakes that are offered. (6)
Obviously, with only a single live poker table in the country, there’s not a lot of live poker played here, and there’s also not a lot of online poker played here either, at least at the present time, although that could change as more and more people get internet access and in particular, more and more people get turned on to the game of poker here.
With its very modest population though, Botswana will never be a poker hotbed, and there’s also no chance of a domestic poker site ever having a chance to be viable, although perhaps one day, if the government sees fit, they may have some sort of regulated poker here, perhaps allowing their players to compete on some of the larger poker sites, as has been done in some other smaller countries.
In the mean time though, from an online poker player’s perspective, things are just fine as they are, and anytime that the government starts meddling in something, two things happen. There are restrictions, and there are additional costs by way of taxes. There’s no need at all for Botswana to even look at regulating online poker, and given that the market here is so small, this is very unlikely to happen at any point in the coming years.
Poker is an extremely enjoyable game once you learn how to play it, and the good news is that almost all of the very best online poker sites in the world are more than happy to accept players from Botswana.
Top Online Poker Rooms Accepting Players from Botswana
We have four picks for you as far as the best places for Botswana poker players, and all of them are top notch. We’re not watering down our list for you by the way, these are the 4 from among our top 5 online poker sites no matter where you live, and as it turns out, 4 of them take players from Botswana.
All four of these picks offer nice welcome packages to new players, including some nice bonus cash to help get you started and to thank you for giving them a try.
888 Poker is our top recommended poker site in the world, and they have worked hard over the last 15 years to earn the stellar reputation and regard they have in the poker community. A great many feel that this site is simply the best, period. There’s lots of reasons why and you are invited to find out yourself. You don’t even need a deposit to start playing with real money here as they will just give you some.
Titan Poker and Bet365 Poker are also way up there on our list, and both are on the fabulously popular iPoker Network, together with dozens of other poker sites, although these two are the best among them. They both have a long history of success in offering some great poker along with treating players the way they want to be treated.
Black Chip Poker is another top site that’s well worth your time checking out, and another online poker site you really can’t go wrong with. They don’t have quite as much traffic as the other three but their traffic has really grown over the last year or so and they are now a top tier poker site to be sure, and the players here are even easier to beat, which is one of the big reasons we really like them.