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Don't blow your money - gambling board

Dec 19 2012 18:39 African Eye News Service
Casino chips

(File) (Shutterstock)

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Johannesburg - South Africans have been warned not to gamble away their hard-earned money this festive season. 

National Gambling Board chief executive Baby Tyawa said in a statement that families should rather invest their money on school uniforms, books, school fees, paying debts and savings. 

"During the festive season most families tend to ... use their disposable cash on entertainment and activities such as gambling. 

“We urge all who are predisposed to gambling, to exercise restraint when spending their extra income, in particular during the festive season that induces heightened excitement... We suggest that you save the money for the down time, remember pay day is indeed far ahead,” Tyawa said. 

Tyawa said excessive gambling has far-reaching implications as more people are affected by the reckless actions of a single individual. 

In October this year, the Mpumalanga Gambling Board announced that a fourth casino licence will be issued in the province. 

Local gamblers spent R2.6bn in just three months playing slot machines between April and June. 

Mpumalanga was initially allowed to have only one in each of the three districts, but the policy has been changed for a fourth casino to be established anywhere in the province in the next 14 years. 

At the moment, Nkangala district has The Ridge Casino outside Emalahleni, Ehlanzeni district has the Emnotweni Casino at the Riverside Mall in Mbombela, while the Gert Sibande district has the Graceland Casino in Secunda. 

The three licenses were issued between October 1997 and July 1998. 

Gambling is a lucrative business in Mpumalanga and brings in gross gambling revenues of R603m a year for casino bosses – a big leap from the R63m gross gambling revenue that was recorded in 1997 when casinos first opened. 

The R2.6bn was spent at the province’s 1 104 slot machines, helping casino bosses pocket R168m in gross gambling revenue. 

Last year, the Mpumalanga provincial government collected R36m in levies from the three casinos in the province. 

No feasibility studies have been done so far to see where a fourth casino would be best situated. 

Tyawa warned that a typical problem gambler continues to believe that he or she can control or moderate the gambling activities at will, at any time. 

"However, our experience confirms that the gambler cannot do any of these things. Gambling remains a game of chance," she said.

The national board is working closely with gambling establishments to promote responsible gambling as well as with the National Responsible Gambling Programme (NRGP). 

Tyawa advised those experiencing problems to contact the National Responsible Gambling Toll-Free Helpline on 0800 006 008.

 

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