New law would suspend addicted gamblers

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Windhoek

The proposed gaming and lotteries law, which could come into effect this year, will allow the families of gambling addicts to approach the court to suspend such gamblers from gambling for a specific period of time.

This was revealed by Environment and Tourism Minister Pohamba Shifeta in an interview with New Era yesterday.
The minister said the Gaming Bill, whose aim is to regulate and control the gaming industry, is currently with legal drafters.

“Family members suffer when there is somebody addicted to gambling, and houses, property and assets get repossessed,” he said.

The Bill will allow dependants of gamblers to apply for a court order that the breadwinner be suspended from gambling for a year or two, he added.

Shifeta said that lotteries were currently unlawful under common law.
He explained that in the absence of any legislation it was difficult to arrest anybody. “Once a law is in place, lotteries will be regulated,” he said.

The minister said that people taking part in lotteries cannot be protected if they complain, for example, of a prize that they did not receive.

The minster was also unhappy about schoolchildren being used to sell raffles.
“It is unlawful for people under the age of 18 to sell raffles, but as it is not a criminal offence we don’t arrest anybody,” he said.

On the tourism front, he said that last year was a good year as “locals have conceded to calls of domestic tourism”.
He said that Namibia fared well in the Travel and Tourism Competitive Report 2015, in which the country was ranked fourth.

Shifeta said that in terms of growth “we are the fastest growing, with a growth of 20 percent”.

Fighting poaching
The minister said that the country continues to protect its animals and that half of the world’s black rhinos are in Namibia. “We have international agreements to combat poaching,” he said, adding that that if the poachers finished in a different country, they may come to Namibia.

According to him Namibia has made breakthroughs in anti-poaching. “We have reduced the rate of the killing of animals.”

“I would like to thank the police, intelligence services and the defence force, although the defence force has not yet joined the fight as in other countries.”

Shifeta said that after people who were arrested for poaching were given bail they seemingly joined poaching syndicates “to recover their bail money”.

The minister explained that Palmwag in the Kunene Region was a new poaching area. The area is communal land and very rocky, hence it is difficult to monitor people’s moments.

Of Namibia’s land mass 42 percent is under protection, which includes conservancies and national parks such as Etosha and Bwabwata.

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