Fewer South Africans take to gambling

2011-10-28 17:30

Johannesburg - Fewer South Africans are gambling now compared to 2001, Professor Peter Collins, executive director of the National Responsible Gambling Programme, said on Friday.

The percentage of citizens who never gamble has risen from 30 in 2001 to over 50 this year, he told parliament's portfolio committee on trade and industry, according to a statement from the programme.

"The number of problem gamblers in the country has also declined from 3% in 2008 to 1% in 2011."

The committee is holding public hearings into gambling as part of a review of South African gambling legislation.

"This figure is similar to that found in European and other English speaking jurisdictions and considerably higher than the number in Asia," Collins said.

"However, in South Africa, poor people are disproportionately likely to gamble too much on cheaper forms of gambling such as the lottery and illegal games such as iFafi, dice and cards, which is commonly played in and around township shebeens."

Collins said South Africa's gambling laws and regulations were as good as those found anywhere in the world.

The committee held public hearings in response to a gambling review report written by a commission established by Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies in December 2009. The report was tabled in parliament in June.

  • Pieter - 2011-10-28 17:49

    Meantime the government is gambling nicely with our tax money.

      Thato - 2011-10-28 19:12

      Do South Africans ever have meaningful discussions without throwing in irrelevant political twaddle. It has become quite fashionable to be narrow minded in this country. People no longer stretch their minds to analyse issues because there's always one reason for every problem...Government! I guess there's a possibility that my comment may not sound as trendy because it doesn't touch on politics (I don't think this article was even meant to be political) but anyway, here it goes: Although detrimental to business, the positive side of the financial markets melt down and the credit crunch was how it continued to bite gambling patrons until they were forced to revaluate their discretionary spending. A 2% decline in problem gamblers over 3 years may not seem like much, but these are real people with families and children, and what it means to me is that at least some of those families who had become dysfunctional due to gambling are now beginning to enjoy the benefits of normal family lives.

  • Nic - 2011-10-28 17:59

    Its only illegal if the government cant tax it.

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