BY CEDRIC SWANKA
As part of it’s reviewed strategic plan which intends to transform Botswana’s economy through safe gaming ÔÇô the Gambling Authority has embarked on a research on excessive gambling.
Chief of staff at Gambling Authority Solomon Moremong said that the output from the Baseline research will assist the Excessive Gambling Prevention and Rehabilitation Committee in meeting its objectives which are engaging industry players and key stakeholders to support gaming harm reduction.
Amongst other tasks, the committee also undertake comprehensive public education and awareness programmes on excessive and problem gaming.
“Initially Baseline Research tender was issued in September 2017; and subsequent to the adjudication and appointment, the contract with the service provider was cancelled by mutual consent. The Gambling Authority Board decided to re-tender; of which the Authority is now undergoing the re-tender process,” Moremong said.
At a very high level, the research is concerned with providing the evidence base to ensure that effective education/prevention and treatment programs can be delivered to those affected individuals throughout the country,”
“It is expected that the research will provide the Authority with the ability to develop a sound evidence base upon which policy makers, regulators, treatment and education providers and other relevant professionals can develop effective interventions and services,” Moremong said.
“Establish how familiar Batswana are with different forms of gambling, how much they participate in them and what their attitudes are towards gambling, the prevalence of problem and pathological or compulsive gambling in Botswana. Providing a baseline against which to measure and track future changes,” Moremong highlighted.
“They will also develop evidence-based prevention, treatment and rehabilitation intervention models. Create knowledge and understanding of gaming industry harm reduction and its management; and institute sound governance structures for the optimal utilization of resources,”
As per Section 13 (2) (b) of the Gambling Act, the Gambling Authority has a sub ÔÇô committee of the board, which Moremong described it as the Excessive Gambling Prevention and Rehabilitation Committee. Moremong said “the main purpose of the committee is to guide and monitor the development and implementation of programmes and strategies aimed at preventing addictive or compulsive gambling and rehabilitating compulsive gamblers. Currently evaluation of the expression of interest to be included in the counselling services panel are underway. ”
“The Counselling panel will be required to provide counselling services to those who require them to deal with gambling related problems. There has been no academic research done in the past, on prevalence of excessive and problem gambling in Botswana, hence the need for this Baseline research to be undertaken,” the chief of staff said.
“Additionally, the Committee is mandated to monitor the social- economic effects of gambling by counselling addictive or compulsive gamblers as well as public education programmes. The scope of the responsible gambling agenda exceeds the rehabilitation of individual gamblers but also demands the engagement of, and adoption of responsible gambling by all relevant stakeholders ÔÇô operators, service providers from both government and non-government agencies as well as the general public,” Moremong highlighted.
The chief of staff said the “Gambling Authority has recently reviewed its strategic plan for the planning period 2019 ÔÇô 2024. Where the Authority’s’ Vision is; transform Botswana’s economy through safe gaming and its Mission is to effectively regulate and promote responsible gambling, and contribute to the socio ÔÇô economic development of Botswana.”
“This demonstrates the importance that the Authority places on responsible gambling as it continues to grow and diversify the gaming industry in order to support Botswana’s transformation agenda,” Moremong said.