No jackpot for Gambling Authority executives

24 Feb 2019

Botswana Gambling Authority has not sweetened the pot for its executive staff and board members whose travel imprest is believed to be the lowest among Botswana’s parastatals.

It was revealed in Parliament last week that the gambling authority’s Chief Executive Officer, Executive Committee members and board members received less that P 40 000 a head as pedium on their external trips for the 12 months between April 2017 and March 2018.

The total pedium paid to the board and Exco members during their benchmarking overseas trips for the period added up to a paltry P125 925.80

Answering questions from Selibe Phikwe West Member of Parliament, Dithapelo Koorapetse, the Assistant Minister of investment Trade and Industry, Master Goya disclosed that in the 12 months they spent in their benchmarking exercise, the Chief Executive Officer was paid a pedium of P39 677.98, the Chief Operation Officer was also paid a pedium of P 39,697.98 the Chief Legal Officer was paid P24 872.11 and the Chief of Staff P6187.79.

Keorapetse’s queries are believed to be the tip of an iceberg and the frugal Gambling Authority faces being projected as an organisation making bets in a burning house as it faces off with aggrieved workers and bitter investors.

The Gambling authority is on the cusp of a resistance from some staff members following its decision to embark on an organisational realignment exercise. The Authority is also expected to endure a strong push back from bitter business interests as it sets out to award the coveted lucrative national lottery licence and casino licences.

Chief Executive Officer, Thuli Johnson confirmed this week that, “the Authority has been regulating gaming for three years now and has realised that the structure needs to be aligned with the requirements for effective regulation.

The Authority has a licensing plan that will result in more monitoring and compliance work; the incidence of illegal gaming will result in more enforcement; the need to strengthen anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing (AML/CTF) capability means we need to resource each of these areas more appropriately.

The gaming industry is innovating at a fast pace and whilst there are significant opportunities these need to be taken full advantage of by having the right skills and the right people in the right positions.

The Authority hopes to complete this exercise in the very near future. The Authority’s staff were informed of the exercise at its inception and will be taken through the results of the project and the proposed structure will be shared with them.

Johnson further revealed that, “the licensing of the National Lottery is a priority and we can say that the licensing is imminent.” The Gambling Authority also recently received applications for Casino’s. “The applications are presently undergoing the necessary processes as mandated by the Gambling Act 2012 and Gambling Regulations 2016. We hope to conclude this process in 3rd quarter of 2019”, said Johnson.

Explaining the restructuring exercise, Johnson told Sunday Standard that they aim “to propose a functional and management structure that is best aligned to Gambling Authority’s mandate, business model and strategic imperatives. Johnson told Sunday Standard that “the recommendation should address the following:

Role clarity; Appropriate nomenclature for positions; Staffing levels and requirements ; Interdependencies and project based or team roles; Agility to respond to the market; Develop job profiles for new positions if any; Review the current remuneration packages to ensure competitiveness and alignment with industry practice and make appropriate recommendations; Develop performance-based remuneration policy; Conduct skills audit and gap analysis and develop competency matrix/profile for all levels within the organisation;   Develop a framework for succession planning and talent management; Develop an effective, robust and competitive Retention Strategy for Gambling Authority;

Propose a Change Management Strategy and Plan for the implementation of the recommendations; Propose Implementation Plan and budget for the implementation of recommendations; Propose an efficient structure taking into consideration budgetary limitations; The consultant shall be expected to perform any other tasks and render advise as may be requested from the Gambling Authority to ensure that the objectives of the Gambling Authority in executing this project are fully met.”