National Council members call for gambling ban

15 May 2018 21:20pm
WINDHOEK, 15 MAY (NAMPA) – Some members of the National Council want gambling banned in totality.
Their argument is premised on the fact that gambling perpetuates social ills and is “worse than drugs”.
Katutura Central Constituency Councillor Ambrosius Kandjii is completely against gambling and made this known when he contributed to the Gaming and Entertainment Control Bill in the National Council on Tuesday.
“If I was in charge of this country, I would have said let’s do away with gambling in Namibia. Gambling is the biggest disease; even higher than drugs,” said Kandjii.
He said those who own gambling facilities prey on the poor, and in some instances make up to 70 per cent of their profits from it.
Joining the debate was another Swapo councillor, Fransina Ghauz, who described gambling as a risky action that leads to financial instability and poverty, and is addictive.
“School-going learners spend their pocket money given to them by parents on gambling. Parents who bet [gamble] always end up selling their valuable belongings just to settle their gambling bills,” she said, adding that gambling destroys younger generations.
Seemingly disagreeing with his colleagues, Opuwo Urban Constituency Councillor Weich Mupia branded the gaming control bill “a move in the right direction”.
However, Mupia was quick to note that the proposed bill had omitted other forms of gambling.
“You will find young people gambling with cards, dice and belts. One would like us to think outside the box and cover these things,” Mupia said.
He added that in as much as licensed ones are regulated and other forms of gambling are left out, then the problem remains.
In April, Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta tabled a draft gaming and entertainment control law which proposed measures on how to regulate the gambling industry.
If passed into law, the bill will transform the Directorate of Tourism and Gaming into a fully-flagged parastatal to be called the gambling board, which will have eight board members and a chief executive officer.
In addition to this, the bill would also create a central monitoring system to track electronic slot machines across the country.
In essence, it intends to protect gamblers, and ensure that the government generates maximum proceeds from the now unregulated industry.