Gaming and Entertainment Act still under construction: MET

The Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) has found loop holes in the Gaming and Entertainment Act passed in December 2018 leading to the act not being operational yet.

The main objective of the Act was to regulate the gambling activities in Namibia and to set the principles for gambling activities. Further to protect the gamblers and society, while also ensuring revenue generation and collection.

It will further help establish the Gambling board and to likewise establish the Gambling Trust Fund and provide for incidental matters.

In an interview with Nampa on Thursday, Director of Tourism and Gaming in the Ministry, Sem Shikongo declined to highlight the loopholes, however indicated that the shortcomings were discovered during the national consultations on the regulations and are currently being dealt with to allow for the effective implementation in terms of regulation, monitoring, enforcement and compliance of the sector.

Shikongo noted that since 1996 only 254 gambling houses and six casinos have been legally registered, noting that the number of the registered gambling houses remained less due to a moratorium on issuing of new gambling house licenses in the 1996.

The moratorium resulted that no individual can get a license unless buying it from existing license holders, unless the new law is enforced and the moratorium lifted, no one can acquire any new license, he said.

He stated that significant revenue is being generated of which the State benefits nothing, although there are numbers of illegal operators yet not legal since there is no law that prevents them from doing so.

Shikongo indicated that money received from gambling sector levies, annual license fees from registered gambling houses and casino was N.dollars 39 million in 2018, while N.dollars 13 million has been collected since April to July 2019.

The money goes to the State coffers and is added to the State budget to be allocated for the Public Service expenditure

He added that had there been an effective regulation, enforcement and compliance the figure of money collected can go up significantly because there are a lot of illegal operations that do not contribute a cent to the State coffers.

Source: Namibia Press Agency