Gambling Authority prepares regulations
The Gambling Authority Chief Executive Officer Thuli Johnson said they are yet to finalise the regulations for promotional competitions, which were suspended last year April.
Operators were supposed to exclude people aged under 21 years from participating in virtual lotteries and gambling activities which advice mobile operators and SMS-based lottery providers strongly rejected. “We have finalised drafting the new promotional competition regulations and have given them to the attorney general for assessment. Anybody under the age of 21 is not allowed to gamble even on an online medium, which includes SMS. Advertising gambling must always be directed to age compliant potential gamblers,” said Johnson.
The Gambling Authority exists to regulate and control the development of gambling establishment in Botswana, to help define areas in which gambling establishments may be established and operated, to receive and consider applications for licences and to verify information contained in or submitted with the application, and to issue, refuse, suspend, or revoke licences.
Currently there are nine casinos in Botswana, which are licensed. Johnson said they are yet to conduct a study to find out the number of compulsive gamblers and the associated impacts. Internationally, the figure for compulsive gamblers is averaged at five percent of all gamblers. “We consider the creation of knowledge and understanding, prevention and provision of treatment services on the incidence of problem gambling- related harm as our key responsibility,” he said.
The authority has already set in motion plans to commission research to broaden public understanding of gambling-related harm. “Our solemn commitment is to stop people getting into problems with their gambling and ensure that those that do develop problems, receive fast, effective and ongoing psychosocial treatment and support,” said Johnson.He said the authority continues to collaborate with the government and other stakeholders such as Botswana Police Services and other regulators to remain vigilant.
The Authority is currently inviting the public to apply for licences through the request for Application (RFA) process, which will set out the requirements for each of the license types and locations of the licences. A statement from the Authority says the detailed RFA will be available for a nominal fee beginning February.