WINDHOEK, 13 APR – The registered casinos and gambling sector contributed N.dollars 34 million to the state in the last financial year, which ended on 31 March.
The Minister of Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta announced this while responding to questions by Members of Parliament on the Gaming and Entertainment Control Bill after it was tabled in Parliament on Tuesday.
Shifeta said those who own unregistered or illegal gambling machines are stealing from State revenue as per the new bill and therefore reduces economic welfare.
The Bill stipulates the requirements for owning casinos and gambling machines.
“Registered gambling operators are required to contribute to State revenue in the form of tax and levies,” he explained.
He stressed that gambling houses have become a source of revenue for many Namibians and that the government cannot afford to prohibit people from gambling. However, machines need to be registered and tax and levies thus need to be paid as per the new bill’s requirements.
“However, it is the Government’s principle decision to have more gambling houses as it serves as an economic transformation for many Namibians. Through owning gambling houses, many Namibians have become businessmen and women in the entertainment industry,” Shifeta said.
He explained that owning a gambling house contributes to the Harambee Prosperity Plan as it is a way of meeting the government halfway in fighting unemployment.
It is stated in the Harambee Prosperity Plan that by 2030, the government wants to improve the life of the Namibian people, he said, adding that the government is still confident that it will eradicate poverty and reduce inequality by 2025 as one of the plan’s objectives in achieving Vision 2030.