Sierra Leone has a history in gambling dating as far back as the 9th century. The country was once inhabited by two prominent tribes, Mende and Temne, whose chiefs were believed to have led their subjects in games of chance to win valuable prizes or even wives.
Gambling in ancient Sierra Leone is said to have been so popular among the tribes because it involved more than luck; it required strategy and skill on the part of players. But colonial governments didn't allow this type of practice, and it passed strict laws against gambling soon after they took over Sierra Leone. For instance, the British passed a law prohibiting all kinds of gaming except for horse racing. The Sierra Leone Lotteries Ordinance was also passed, which created a Sierra Leone Lottery and imposed taxes on all Sierra Leone citizens who bought tickets.
Sierra Leone's first legal casino, called the Sierra Leone Casino, opened in downtown Freetown on April 24, 1959. This was later shut down by the government a few years down the line. At the moment (as of 2021), the gambling laws in Sierra Leone prohibit all forms of gambling except for horse racing and lotteries.
Gambling nowadays in Sierra Leone
Since Sierra Leone's return to democracy after its decade-long civil war ended in 2002, there often appears to be an ongoing feud between the government and the gaming industry in the county. Online casinos began to operate in Sierra Leone in 2001, but Sierra Leone's government banned all online casinos in 2002. Sierra Leone's then president, Ernest Bai Koroma, believed that his government couldn't handle the consequences of an online casino industry at a time the nation was fighting so many other problems in Sierra Leone.
Yes, Sierra Leone's economy has been struggling since its civil war ended, and many citizens here have been struggling to make ends meet. As such, many of them are turning to online casino gaming, which offers them an opportunity to make money. The demand prompted the government of Sierra Leone to permit casino operation, as long us such a casino has its servers located in the country.
The online casinos in Sierra Leone offer real money prizes, and gamblers here have taken notice of this fact. In a study conducted by BBC News, Sierra Leone's Sierra Stars Casino manager, Abu Bakarr Kargbo, noted that Sierra Leone gamblers tend to prefer online casinos because they are much more convenient and accessible.