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Gambling Authority prepares regulations

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The Gambling Authority Chief Executive Officer Thuli Johnson said they are yet to finalise the regulations for promotional competitions, which were suspended last year April.

Operators were supposed to exclude people aged under 21 years from participating in virtual lotteries and gambling activities which advice mobile operators and SMS-based lottery providers strongly rejected. “We have finalised drafting the new promotional competition regulations and have given them to the attorney general for assessment. Anybody under the age of 21 is not allowed to gamble even on an online medium, which includes SMS. Advertising gambling must always be directed to age compliant potential gamblers,” said Johnson.

The Gambling Authority exists to regulate and control the development of gambling establishment in Botswana, to help define areas in which gambling establishments may be established and operated, to receive and consider applications for licences and to verify information contained in or submitted with the application, and to issue, refuse, suspend, or revoke licences.

Currently there are nine casinos in Botswana, which are licensed. Johnson said they are yet to conduct a study to find out the number of compulsive gamblers and the associated impacts. Internationally, the figure for compulsive gamblers is averaged at five percent of all gamblers. “We consider the creation of knowledge and understanding, prevention and provision of treatment services on the incidence of problem gambling- related harm as our key responsibility,” he said.

The authority has already set in motion plans to commission research to broaden public understanding of gambling-related harm. “Our solemn commitment is to stop people getting into problems with their gambling and ensure that those that do develop problems, receive fast, effective and ongoing psychosocial treatment and support,” said Johnson.He said the authority continues to collaborate with the government and other stakeholders such as Botswana Police Services and other regulators to remain vigilant.

The Authority is currently inviting the public to apply for licences through the request for Application (RFA) process, which will set out the requirements for each of the license types and locations of the licences. A statement from the Authority says the detailed RFA will be available for a nominal fee beginning February. 

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OLOPENG HEAPS PRAISE ON BSE FINANCE CHALLENGE

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Minister Thapelo Olopeng

Botswana Stock Exchange’s annual finance and investment competition for secondary school students has been applauded by the Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology, Thapelo Olopeng.

The initiative, a capital market awareness tool that has been running for the past seven years, is increasing financial literacy and a culture of investment among young people. The initiative will see the country raise future billionaires through the stock markets. “It is a breath of fresh air to have tertiary students who are financially literate, who can manage their finances,” said the minister.

He urged students to invest even the smallest allowances they earn and have a hassle-free life after university. “Investing on the stock exchange is not only preserved for the rich, but for anyone with a bank account,” said Olopeng.

The minister said the secondary schools finance and investment competition is participation of the private sector in bridging the knowledge divide.Olopeng said the private sector participation augments his ministry’s efforts of providing and building knowledge and innovation through the development and implementation of the policy on tertiary education, research, science and technology to transform the economy from a resource based to a knowledge based.

“In this connection, we will continue to empower our students in order for them to lead better and successful lives which can propel them into the innovation ecosystem,” said Olopeng. BSE Chief Executive Officer, Thapelo Tsheole said the Senior Secondary Schools Finance and Investment Competition, first established in 2013 aims to sensitise and educate the student community about capital markets, with the strategic aim to increase financial literacy and promote a culture of investing at a young age.

The competition is open to all senior secondary schools across the country, including private and public senior secondary schools.

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WE ARE NOT USING DIAMONDS TO KILL ELEPHANTS, THAT’S HOGWASH! – BOTSWANA MINISTER

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Orapa Mine, part of Debswana

Botswana is not using diamonds to kill elephants as alleged by some conservationists after the southern African country announced plans to lift a ban on elephant hunting to address growing conflict between humans and wildlife, a government official has said.

Minister of mineral resources, Green technology and energy security Eric Molale told a mining conference in Gaborone on Monday that the activists were tarnishing the image of Botswana. “That’s hogwash because we as Botswana are [good] conservationists and it is us who worked hard to make sure these elephants [are] brought to the numbers that we do have now,” he said.

“When conflicts arise, it is through consultation, [that we] find out how we can best manage our resources. The people have spoken and we are going to be managing the elephants in the best way that we can.

“We are not culling, we have re-introduced the trophy hunting and if you take 400 elephants per annum for trophy hunting against the 3-5% annual growth rate of the elephant herd that we have…[we are] just barely scratching on the surface.”

Botswana has about 130 000 elephants, the world’s largest population.Molale said Botswana will remain focused on things that are beneficial to the country and will not be distracted by issues spread by people that are not even privy to how things are done in the country.

“We have, however, invited them to come and learn more about what we are doing so they can better understand those important aspects of flora and fauna…”The conflict between humans and elephants had gone up since the ban was introduced in 2014.

Tourism is the second source of foreign income in Botswana after diamonds and conservationists fear that the former will be affected is the government cull elephant.
[Rough and Polished]

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