By Cedric Swanka
Stakeholders in Botswana`s maturing gambling industry were provided with the technical knowledge, to become active players during the Gambling Authority`s Stakeholder Pitso in Gaborone recently.
The Gambling Authority`s Stakeholder Pitso was the first of its kind and was held in certain parts of the country, were the authority invited, interacted and imparted knowledge on the etiquette of the industry
Giving a presentation on Probity investigation on license application, license services manager Mompati Rammekwa- Gambling Authority said “In regulating the industry, the Gambling Authority is guided by the Gambling Act and its Regulations. Taking into account the provisions in the Act and Regulations the Authority developed a fit and proper policy which is used to test if directors or shareholders and key employees of license applicants are fit and proper.”
“The Authority has to ensure that persons who benefit from the gambling industry do not have any convictions and also the gambling industry is not used as a platform for crime,” Rammekwa said.
Explaining the purpose of the Fit and Proper test and why it is directed to an applicant`s directors, shareholders and key employees, Rammekwa said “the purpose of the Fit and Proper test is to ensure that the directors, shareholders and key employees of the applicant have a good character and reputation and have never committed any crime or have never been involved in any malpractice. The Authority also has to ensure they have the required competencies to operate a gambling business.”
“The Gambling Authority is supervisory authority under the Financial Intelligence Act. The Authority therefore, has to ensure that the applicants has also never committed any financial crimes such as money laundering,” Rammekwa continued.
Explaining the legal framework of the Authority in Botswana, chief legal officer Chandida Masomosomo said “the Gambling Act as per section five states the Powers and Functions of the Authority as to regulate and control the development of the gambling industry. The Authority also has the right to define areas for operating a gambling establishment and issue, refuse, suspend or revoke licenses.”
“The Authority also has to ensure standards set out in the Act are maintained by the licensees, consider applications for the transfer of licenses and ensure monies due are paid by licensees,” Masomosomo said.
Types of licenses that the Gambling Authority can issue range from casino license, gambling establishment license, betting license and racing license to name a few. Describing how many gambling licenses are in operation in Botswana, Masomosomo said “Currently the Gambling Authority has issued nine gambling licenses in Botswana, with casino licenses being the most common.”
However applications for gambling licenses in Botswana are only made in response to a notice. Masomosomo said “authority issues a notice inviting persons to apply. All applications must be accompanied by a prescribed fee and applications can only be submitted in response to such a notice.”
When sharing the offences under the Gambling Act, senior legal officer Onneile Kealotswe said “The Gambling Act has made it mandatory for a person to obtain a license to own, possess or maintain a gambling machine or device. A person may not operate any gambling or gambling related business without a valid licence issued by the Authority to operate such a business. Offences under the gambling act include fines, imprisonment or both.”
“A person shall not engage in any work within the gambling Industry unless that person is licensed. Any holder of a license shall not employ any person who is not licensed. A person who contravenes these provisions commits an offence and is liable to a fine not exceeding P30 000, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 18 months, or to both,” Kealotswe said.