Rwanda Turns To Casinos To Drive Post Genocide Economic Recovery

Rwandan Entrepreneurs Boosting Local Economy via Casinos

The State of Rwanda

The 1994 Rwandan Genocide (in which 800,000 people lost their lives) left the country’s economy in ruins. This genocide and loss of human life devastated the people and economy and shell-shocked the nation. Years later, the economy is still coming to terms with those events but has made strides, and the overall quality of life for the Rwandan people has slightly improved.

The economy is growing quite rapidly in Rwanda, and poverty rates are decreasing. Things like life expectancy and healthcare have also seen as bonuses and positive changes. Overall, the country has been in an indisputable upward swing, but they still have a long ways to go. The president, Paul Kagame, is responsible and is on the search to help shift the country’s economy from being farm based to service-oriented. He’s hoping this new intervention and policy will start to support the nation’s economy within the next two years.

Casino Based Tourism

One of the service-based industries booming and winning in Rwanda is the casino industry. Backed and regulated by a newly formed gambling commission, the casino industry attracts tourists and wins them from other destinations – especially tourists that are willing to spend money. In total, the country has given rights to three legal gambling and gaming casinos.

The first licensed casino opened in 2008, Casino Kigali. Since its opening, the local area has hit the jackpot, and there has been a mass influx in tourism, regional and national spending. The other two casinos, Lydia Ludic Rwanda and New Oriental Casino, followed suit quickly afterward. The opening of these casinos not only encourages tourism but also provides jobs and overall is an excellent source of stimulation for the Rwandan economy. Because the country is still about 80% based on farm-related income, these casinos are a definite shift towards the desired service-based industry. However, the casino industry comes with an utterly different challenge.

Online Slots vs Real Life

In the digital age we live in, virtually anything and everything slots into our online life. Shopping, socializing, education-you name it, it’s probably online. The Casino industry is no different. Online casinos have become increasingly popular in the last decade. Odds are slightly better for players if they gamble and play slot games online, jackpots are often higher and games can be played from the comfort of their homes.

This poses a threat to the Rwandan casinos; why go to a casino when you can comfortably gamble and play online slots from the privacy of your own living room at an international casino? This competition is a prominent and consistent threat to casino entrepreneurs in the community and could be a possible deterrent from future casinos opening. However, local owners argue that nothing beats the experience of a live casino, playing against other humans.

The Rwandan economy has made leaps in and strides in the last twenty years or so, but they still have a long ways to go to meet the president’s economic goal-especially if they would like to do by 2020. The casino industry opens the doors for other tourism services- restaurants, hotels, etc, that can provide services for visitors as they enter the country.

If local casinos can overcome the competition of digital gambling and mobile slots, this could potentially lead to a thriving and flourishing economy for the Rwandan people. This overall shift in the economy will hopefully pull even more of the country out of poverty (currently over half are still living below the poverty line) and could continue to improve the overall quality of life for the Rwandan people. It’s reported by the United Nations that the average Rwandan lives on about a dollar a day.