Could more casino activity boost economic recovery?

A casino in Macau


Things have been looking up for the Kenyan economy thus far in 2018. While more improvement is needed, there has been a recovery thanks in part to stabilizing political situation, and economic growth is expected to accelerate this yearthanks to more investment and rising agricultural output.

At such times, with the economy looking to gain ground with realistic growth prospects, it’s more natural to think about additional avenues for growth that could be explored. And one that doesn’t get a lot of attention in Kenya or throughout Africa for that matter is the casino industry. At this time there actually are a few casinos dotted around the country, including Casino Malindi in Malindi, the Florida Nightclub and Casino in Mombasa, and Casino FlaminGo in Nairobi. But what might happen for the country if casino gaming opportunities were expanded so as to become travel destinations and economic boosters?

It’s something we’ve seen now and then in other parts of the world, most notably in Southeast Asia. Consider Macau for instance. It was only in 1999, less than 20 years ago, that Macau reverted to Chinese rule after having been a Portuguese colony. Macau then freed up its gaming sector in 2002, got investments from major Las Vegas operators soon thereafter, and in the years since has become one of the biggest casino destinations on the planet. The area is now marked by splendid, towering resorts that draw tourists from all over the world and naturally bring in a great deal of money.

Furthermore, it’s not always about a single boom in activity, such as we’ve seen in Macau. Persistent focus on a casino industry can result in the continual emergence of economic opportunity, as seen even in the United States. There, while Las Vegas remains the most famous gambling destination on the planet, much casino activity has been largely prohibited for years. However, legislation is currently in the works and more U.S. states are moving toward legalization and regulation. Many others are focusing specifically on sports betting in an attempt to expand online betting activity (likely with some measure of taxation heading into the states’ pockets).

This is not a suggestion that Kenya could become the next Macau or Las Vegas, nor that most people in the country would even want for that to happen. However, the Macau boom is still a remarkable example, and the U.S. continues to demonstrate that there are numerous avenues for financially lucrative gaming opportunities. Should Kenya follow either model – seeking investment for new casino resorts or focusing on internet gaming businesses – a new industry could effectively be established that might play in nicely to the ongoing economic recovery.



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