Monday, May 16, 2022

Existing casinos oppose award of license to Masa Casino

Lobatse High Court judge Isaac Lesetedi has reserved judgment in a case in which a group of existing casino operators has approached the courts to block a new entrant into market, Workmans Holdings, which will operate as Masa Casino at the Gaborone CBD.

The existing casinos that are challenging Masa Casino are Sun International Botswana, trading as Gaborone Sun, Peermont Global, trading as Grand Palm, and Moonlite Casino, trading as Gaborone Hotel Casino.

The group is against the decision of the Casino Control Board to give a trading license to Masa, which will be known as Masa Casino.

Among the major submissions made by applicants’ lawyers before Lesetedi are that the Board, on giving out the new license, did not consider a report they had placed before the Board which intended to demonstrate that the market in Gaborone was saturated for another casino to be established.

To counter that submission, Masa Casino lawyers had furnished a report by a certain Dr Lucas supporting the opposite view and submitted that the Board had considered both reports and preferred that of Dr Lucas.

Besides that, applicants’ lawyers also submitted the Casino Control Board had, in granting a license to Workman Holdings or Masa Casino, failed to take into consideration provisions of the National Gaming and Gambling Policy of Botswana government.

On the other hand, the Attorney General lawyers, on behalf of the Casino Board and lawyers representing Masa Casino, deny that there is a National Gaming and Gambling Policy for Botswana or that it has any binding effect.

They further said the purpose of a document on the issue was just to inform the legislature in regard to the promulgation of a new Gaming and Gambling Act, which has not yet occurred.

Adding on this point Peermont lawyers said that the said document is a document intended to inform new legislation to be passed by Parliament but has no legal force or effect on its own.

The applicants, however, in their response, describe the document as a government white paper setting out the policy of the Government of Botswana and binding on the Government. They further submitted that the White paper was a term used to describe a government policy document in many Commonwealth countries.

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