The Mpumalanga Gambling Board (“MGB”) introduced community awareness campaigns within the three district municipalities to educate communities about illegal and responsible gambling.
During the previous financial year the MGB educated the learners from grade 8 to 10, at more than 100 high schools, within the Mpumalanga Province, with regard to the dangers of illegal and irresponsible gambling, through a theatrical play, which made it easier for learners to understand.
In the past two years, 92 cases of prohibited gambling were registered with the MGB. From these cases, 138 illegal devices were confiscated.
As a result of the above mentioned statistics and the Board’s endeavours to promote responsible gambling within the communities, the MGB embarked on awareness campaigns in each district of the Province.
The message is well received and community members raise concerns that fahfee, dice and betting on cards is very rife in their areas. Community members appreciate these awareness campaigns and the interventions by the MGB to eradicate the prohibited gambling activities. Community members also confirm that they were not aware that some of the illegal gambling machines that were publicly displayed in most shops like Chinese Roulettes Machines were illegal. They also appreciate that they will now be able to differentiate these machines.
It should be noted that gambling at licensed establishments is strictly controlled and therefore harmless; however communities should regard gambling like any other form of entertainment. Never regard gambling as a means to enrich themselves. Furthermore, licensed establishments pay taxes and levies, and this money is transferred to government to render basic services for the people.
Most communities applauded the awareness campaigns as an eye opener especially for business people who would have allowed unscrupulous companies that operate or/ sell these machines to unsuspecting business and thus risking a fine or serving a jail sentence.
Any person who knowingly allows an illegal gambling activity on his/her premises or participate in an illegal gambling activity shall be guilty of an offence and on conviction, can be liable for a fine up to R10 million or to imprisonment for a period up to 10 years or to both.
A concern regarding community members who participates in illegal gambling, especially the aged as they use their pension grant in the hope of getting more money but end up in financial woes, is noted. We are informed that there are places where people have made stokvels to play cards games even playing the whole night with the hope of earning more money not realising that they are getting themselves addicted to a prohibited type of gambling.
Some community members admit openly that they are addicted to gambling and undertakes to take the necessary steps to ensure that they get help in curbing the habit. The National Responsible Gambling Programme (“NRGP”) is available to assist with professional counseling and treatment to anyone at no cost.
If you would like to be counselled on problem gambling you can call the NRGP on 0800 006 008 and to report illegal gambling activities, you may call the Mpumalanga Gambling Board “MGB” on 013 750 8000.
More campaigns are planned for the current year. Kindly check the MGB website www.mgb.org.za, Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/mgbresponsiblegambling , email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the MGB offices on 013 750 8000
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