The current stance from government to limit gambling licences through a moratorium since 1996 has left the potential of the gaming industry untapped.
The potential government tax revenue loss as a result of this moratorium can literally be measured into the billions of Namibian dollars. The current situation has resulted in the proliferation of illegal gambling activity which neither can be measured in value nor volume terms considering that there is no official register of how many illegal gambling machines are operating in the market today.
This is both an unfortunate problem that the government has allowed to fester over so many years but from a different angle also represents a great opportunity for the industry and the nation as a whole.
An opportunity in the sense that the potential tax revenue of the industry has increased such that the industry could become self sustaining if the right control measures are put in place and harnessed to the benefit of all stakeholders.
In Germany, for example, gambling activities both large and small are controlled by way of central monitoring, which if applied to Namibia could result in a controlled high earning tax revenue base for the government regulators.
Of course, not wishing to compare apples with oranges, I take this comparison to only highlight the fact that if the Namibian legislators continue to ignore potential untapped revenue sources then the continued trend of budget deficits may never cease.
Dr Erich Wolfgang
Director: Gaming Centre Investments (PTY) LTD