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No Levy Fund for gambling activities - Johnson.

Gambling Authority chief executive officer, Mr Thuli Johnson has told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that while the authority had already started collecting the gambling levy from players in the gambling industry, a Fund Levy for holding the funds was yet to be established.

During a brief appearance before the committee on October 15, Mr Johnson said as a result of the status quo, the Gambling Authority had taken a decision to keep the funds in a separate bank account to ensure that it did not get used for the authority's operations.

He assured the committee that the funds would be transferred into the Fund Levy as soon as it was established.

On whether it was improper for the authority to have started collecting in the absence of the Fund Levy, the CEO said their interpretation of the Act through which the Gambling Authority was established was that licensees were obliged to continue paying a certain amount of their gross gambling revenue as per the provisions of the Act.

It was on that basis that the Gambling Authority began to collect funds even before a Fund Levy could be put in place, he stated.

He noted that in their efforts to protect the funds from mismanagement as has been the case with other levies, they have in addition to keeping the money in a different bank account, had the account audited to further ensure the safety of the funds.

Mr Johnson also told the PAC that in addition to collecting the gambling levy, the Gambling Authority also collected the Responsible Gambling Levy.

Funds from the Responsible Gambling Levy, he pointed out, was used for activities aimed at promoting responsible gambling.

On what responsible gambling activities they had so far performed, Mr Johnson indicated that they were currently initiating research on the problem of irresponsible gambling.

The PAC chairperson Mr Samson Guma highlighted why it was necessary for the Gambling Authority to have Fund Orders for the levies it was collecting.

He said at the moment, what the Gambling Authority was doing was not supported by law, hence the need for things to be normalised.

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Publication:Botswana Daily News (Gaborone, Botswana)
Date:Oct 16, 2018
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