TOURISM Minister, Pohamba Shifeta on Thursday said that all gambling machines will be legalized and no machine will be confiscated by his ministry.
He made these remarks during a stakeholder’s consultative meeting held in Oshakati on gambling machine operations.
Shifeta said there are too many gambling machines in the country, and majority of gamblers are local people from the lower income sectors of our society.
According to Shifeta, the country has 260 licensed slot machine operators, of which six are casinos while 254 are gambling houses. There was a total of 2 845 registered slot machines (1 145 in casinos and 1 700 in gambling houses), which contribute N$22 million to government coffers annually.
According to the minister, the government estimates that there are roughly 20 000 unlicensed gambling machines in about 2 600 illegal gambling houses countrywide.
“We are also trying to ensure that the issuing of licenses in respect of gambling and gambling activities is transparent, fair and equitable,” he explained.
Shifeta stated that the legislation will not only ensure strict regulation of the gambling activities but it has new provisions to protect members of the public who participate in these activities, the society and the national economy at large.
Chairperson of Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI), Tomas Iindji, said business people are buying the gambling machines legally, but the process of legalization the gambling operations is bloated with bureaucracy and unclear procedures.
“We want to operate legally and access the licenses as urgently as yesterday,” said Iindji.
Iindji noted that the process of securing licenses should not be cumbersome. It should rather be easy and straightforward.
Despite wanting to legalize all gambling machine, Iindji stated that the Chamber is deeply concerned about the manner in which the exercise to round up illegal gambling machine operation is being emphasized.