|Members of South Africa’s parliament have appealed for tighter gambling controls and for limited pay-out machines to be scrapped, following the release of new research on the impact of the industry on South Africans.|
Research commissioned by the National Gambling Board and presented to parliament's trade and industry portfolio committee on Wednesday paints a grim picture, finding a disproportionately high incidence of gambling among the unemployed and poor households. The research found that 27% of people without jobs played the lottery and 22% visited casinos.
African National Congress MP Desmond Lockey said it was a tragedy that it was in sections of society where poverty was the highest that gambling was the most prevalent.
'I seriously propose we re-look at the roll-out of the limited pay-out machines in the light of this research,' he said.
Provinces are shortly expected to license more than 20,000 such machines in entertainment venues, such as pubs and clubs, across the country.
Gaming regulations stipulate that slot machines can pay out a maximum of R500 ($62.48), with a maximum wager of R5 ($0.62).
African Christian Democratic Party MP Mighty Madasa said the government needed to urgently review all gambling in the country.
'Gambling is obviously hitting those who can least afford it the hardest,' he said.
National Gambling Board chairman Chris Fismer said it was obvious that the proportion of gambling by the unemployed had negative implications for the country.
Fismer added that the study’s findings support Trade and Industry Minister Alec Erwin's decision to stop the proposed daily lottery game, Keno