Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta has warned irresponsible gamblers to refrain from gambling, saying it should be a game for people who have a surplus income rather than those that gamble money intended for home usage.
Shifeta said such irresponsible gambling behaviour affects more than just gamblers, as it also affects their dependents and he urged consideration of families before people decide to gamble. He noted that many gamblers who spend as much as N$10 000 in casinos have families at home where there is no food and instead of first buying food and then using the remaining amount, these gambling addicts rather spend everything.
“When such people go back home they even fail to talk to their children because they are now ashamed and stressed. However, gambling is a business and another way of making money so those with a surplus income can and are encouraged to play as they entertain themselves through the various gaming machines,” stated Shifeta.
Shifeta made these remarks on Wednesday evening when he officially inaugurated the Plaza Casino at the Hilton Hotel. Here he acknowledged that casinos provide games and entertainment but cautioned that they should not be taken too seriously, particularly to an extent where individuals gamble with the main aim of winning, as this results in major stress when losing.
“We are in the process of amending the existing law, so that we can protect vulnerable members of society who are affected by gambling. So once the new law takes effect, we will have stricter provisions to protect these people,” said Shifeta.
Plaza Casino is wholly Namibian owned and is managed by the United Africa Group, a Namibian company with diverse business portfolio such as hospitality, property development, renewable energy and travel service.
Haddis Tilahun, founder and executive director of United Africa Group, said obtaining the casino licence was not easy and it was a lengthy process dating as far back as 2008 when the Hilton Hotel was first established.
“We venture into this business, as it is an emerging international business that is done all over the world and it is for that reason that Namibia cannot be left out. We are bringing new entertainment to the people,” said Tilahun.
Chairperson of the Plaza Casino, Martha Namundjebo, also attended Wednesday’s official opening.