Botswana Committed to Responsible Gambling

While ensuring the lucrative gaming industry is enabled to flourish in the country to generate income and jobs, government is also committed to ensuring responsible gambling to mitigate potential negative social effects of the trade.

President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi said this when delivering his keynote address at the official opening of the International Association of Gaming Regulators (IAGR) Conference in Gaborone on yesterday.

President Masisi said while a profitable business, gambling involved pursuit of immediate acquisition of material value, which frequently led the participant to ignore rational thought, often to their own detriment.

That being the case, Botswana Gambling Authority, a body corporate established by government to oversee, regulate and control the business of gambling in Botswana, would continue to learn from international best practice to ensure responsible gambling, he said.

“We are dedicated to conducting research in the area of gambling in Botswana in line with the Human and Social Development pillar of our National Vision 2036, primarily because we aim to be at the forefront of introducing interventions based on evidence and scientific data to ensure a healthy, safe, informed, and self-sustained gambler,” – Dr Masisi said.

Mokgweetsi Masisi

The President added that the findings of a baseline study conducted in 2020 on the prevalence of problem gambling in Botswana indicated a prevalence of five per cent, and that studies on Risk Factors for Problem Gambling in Botswana and Socio-Impacts of Gambling in Botswana had exposed the challenges of illegal gambling and underage gambling, the latter in particular taking place online.


“To deal with this situation, students are taught how to stand firm in the face of peer pressure, with an emphasis on resisting temptations to gamble. The youth programme has been given the name ‘Dices and Dreams’. Focus extends to parents as well and it pertains to identification of children who may require assistance. In addition, the Gambling Authority directs its efforts towards service providers by means of the Responsible Gambling First Aid Workshop,”  – he said.

Furthermore, the President said that gambling being a lucrative industry, government continued to look at unlocking value chains in the trade to allow Batswana to participate and gain essential support to run profitable gaming related business.

“In implementing our change mandate, the government introduced the Reset Agenda, which entails a set of priorities for government, which are meant to increase the pace of transitioning our country from middle-income to high-income status, amongst other things. In the gambling industry, we have developed and continue to disseminate opportunities that lie in this multibillion-dollar industry,” – Dr Masisi said.

For his part, IAGR president, Dr Jason Lane commended the Botswana Gambling Authority for the “meticulous organisation and excellent presentation of cultural welcome.”

He said well-constructed law, regulation and transparency, as well as open and competitive licence bidding could allow for gambling to provide economic development and social development in any jurisdiction.

Botswana Gambling Authority board chairperson, Mr Marvin Torto said as the industry continued to evolve in the country, with proper regulation, gaming and gambling could have a profound effect on communities and their livelihood.

He said IAGR Botswana 2023 Conference had a record-breaking attendance in the 30-year history of the organisation, with 275 delegates from over 30 countries and all continents attending. Twenty speakers from the gambling industry from across the world were expected to present at the conference.


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