Gambling has been present in Malawi since the colonial days. As would be expected, it was a pleasure reserved mainly for the colonial administrators.
The capital, Lilongwe, was the main hub of gambling activities. Post-colonialism, organized gambling was taken over by Malawian elites and expatriates in the country. No records indicate whether there were any forms of gambling in ancient Malawi.
There are five major casinos in Malawi. They form both parts of history and modern-day gambling in Malawi. Most of them are located in the capital and operated by foreign countries. They usually form part of large hotels. These casinos are:
Casino Marina at Golden Peacock Hotel in Lilongwe. It is operated by Rank Entertainment Holdings (Pvt.) Ltd.
Colony Club Casino - Blantyre. One of the few casinos outside the capital. It is operated by Highlands Leisure and offers poker, slot games, and live casino.
Pirates Casino in Lilongwe offers poker, slot machines, and table games. It is located in Lilongwe and operated by American Palace Ltd.
Vision Gaming Lilongwe is another casino in the capital, operated by DBR International WAP Ltd. The gaming house is popular for slot machines with progressive jackpots.
Blue Elephant Blantyre. A casino and full-service bar in Malawi's financial hub. It is operated by DBR International WAP Ltd and mainly offers slot machines.
Gambling nowadays in Malawi
The major casinos from way back are still operational. However, they have experienced some major changes over the last few years. One, as Malawi pulls itself out of an economic rut, the spending power among citizens has increased.
This has led to more visitors visiting the casinos both for gambling and other offers on board. The number of local gamblers has increased too.
Two, the focus on finance has seen Blantyre gain some muscle against Lilongwe. As more financial operations take place, casinos in the more scenic Blantyre have gradually siphoned patrons from their counterparts in the capital city.
In the more recent past, the Coronavirus outbreak took a huge hit on gambling. Containment measures and banning of travel meant that business came to a standstill. As casinos gradually re-open, there is more focus on local clientele.
Additionally, Coronavirus led people to turn to online gambling. Many people learned that they could enjoy the games at home. Some of them stuck to this model even after the physical casinos were re-opened.