30 January 2013

Namibia: Gambling Act Becomes Obsolete

Windhoek — The Deputy Director in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism's Division of Gaming Control, Servasius Dinyando Kapinga, says regulating gambling is not effectively catered for in the Casinos and Gambling Act of 1994.

Kapinga yesterday said the Casinos and Gambling Act is outdated and a proposal for a new bill was submitted to the Cabinet Committee for consideration. He said the proposed bill would among others look at how the State and casino operators could work together to rehabilitate people addicted to gambling. On Tuesday New Era carried a front-page story on the thousands of Namibians who engage in gambling of whom 10 to 15 percent are "problem gamblers".

The Casinos and Gambling Act of 1994 does not make provision for online gambling, Kapinga further remarked. Online gambling is evolving at a fast pace. This means many people fall prey to dubious online schemes because online gambling is not regulated in Namibia, Kapinga explained. People gamble online using their mobile phones, credit cards and debit cards, Kapinga added.

He is also of the view that if regulated properly, gambling can be controlled.

"How do you know who is addicted (to online gambling)? How do you control that the online gambling operator is authentic? People can lose a lot of money through online gambling and yet they will have nowhere to report it. People can be fooled unless things are regulated," remarked Kapinga. Due to the mushrooming of gambling houses, a moratorium was put in place in December 1996, to put on hold the issuing of gambling house licences. However, plans to lift the moratorium are currently underway.

"This was due to the impact it (mushrooming of gambling houses) had on society," Kapinga said. At that time, there was no mushrooming of casinos, he said. While some people gamble for entertainment, others gamble in the misplaced hope their fortunes could turn for the better.

They nevertheless risk being addicted to gambling, which then leads to broken marriages and losing valuable assets such as houses and cars.

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