Namibia: MP Proposes Minimum Gambling Age

A National Council member has proposed a minimum gambling age of 21 as part of measures to deal with the negative impacts of gambling. Contributing to the debate on the Gaming and Entertainment Control Amendment Bill, which is currently under review in the National Council, said Namibia should learn best practices from successful nations to deal with the negative impacts of gambling.

Kavhura, who is Ndonga Linena constituency councillor in Kavango East, made the remarks in the National Council last week.

“I think it is also good to learn good practices from others, like in Singapore, they put limitations on casino visits and on individuals with poor credit records or who are vulnerable to financial harm due to gambling. Secondly, persons under the age of 21 are prohibited from entering a casino premises,” – he submitted.

The Bill, once passed into law, aims to regulate the gambling industry, which currently has about 20 000 illegal slot machines across the country. It would also effectively turn the directorate of tourism and gaming into a new state-owned enterprise to be called the Gambling Board.

The Gambling Board will have eight board members and a chief executive. Equally, the Bill aims to provide for continuation of gambling business of a licence holder by an executor, trustee, liquidator or curator upon death, insolvency or incapacity of the licence holder. And once the amendments become law, it will pave a way for the establishment of a Responsible Gambling Awareness Programme of Namibia. He said gambling and entertainment business activities have its good and bad sides.

The benefits, according to the councillor, include the revenue generated by the country from these activities, income generated by the owners, and the employment creation of these activities. The business also turns out to be harmful to society.

“The facts are that gambling can be addictive and harmful. If a member of the family falls victim of irresponsible gambling, the family in return suffers as a result of neglect, unable to care and provide for the family as expected. Addicted people of our society turn to lose out on their valuable belongings such as personal items, cars, cattle, pensioner pay-outs, and houses,”

– Kavhura noted. As a result, he said the heavily addictive member of the society becomes depressed.

“One thing that we should take in mind is that when we want to regulate society through law and order, we should not only stop at the impact of the adult user, but go further than that as to how this legislation impact innocent people’s lives, in this regard, for instance the innocent children of the heavily addicted gambler.”

Source:neweralive.na

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