SWAKOPMUND: A lack of understanding of the Lotteries’ Act, Act No 15 of 2002 might have caused the disappointingly low turnout at Tuesday’s public consultation meeting held here.
The Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) has revised the Lotteries’ Act, Act No 15 of 2002, and public consultations on the Bill commenced in Swakopmund on Tuesday.
When Nampa arrived at the Swakopmund Hotel and Entertainment Centre, where the meeting was held, on Tuesday morning, only four people had turned up.
The low attendance could be a result of members of the public not comprehending what the Bill is about, or it could also have been caused by a lack of interest, the Director of Tourism and Gaming in the MET, Sem Shikongo stated during the discussions.
“The public is given the platform at the consultation meetings to join the relevant parties involved and offer their input. Those that were not present should however not complain when the regulations are put into place,” Shikongo said.
He told Nampa in an interview on Monday that it is essential that schools, churches, charities, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and individuals attend the consultations.
“This law covers all types of lotteries, scratch cards, short message services (SMS), lottos, private lotteries and the national lotteries,” he stressed.
Shikongo further stated that many people may not be aware of the importance of the Bill and its relevance to society, as the profits to be generated by this law are to go for social welfare in the interests of society.
“It is crucial to consult with the public before the Bill is formalised by Cabinet, as it will be difficult to bring about changes once the Bill has been formalised,” he noted on Tuesday.
The Bill makes provision for the establishment of a Lotteries’ Board to monitor, regulate and control lotteries that are incidental to exempt entertainment, private lotteries, benevolent lotteries as well as any sports pools and promotional competitions as contemplated in the draft Bill.
Exempt entertainment lotteries, according to the draft Bill, are bazaars, sales, fetes, dinners, dances, sporting events or other entertainment of a similar character in so far as all the proceeds of entertainment, including the proceeds of the lottery after deducting certain expenses as prescribed in the draft Bill, are utilised for the benefit of any deserving section of the public.
Private lotteries, as per the draft, are to be conducted for members of a benevolent society established and conducted for purposes not connected with lotteries.
Promotional competitions are defined as any participation of a person who enters, competes in or is otherwise eligible to win a promotional competition to stand a chance to win a prize, including rewards, gifts, free goods or services, price reductions or concessions, the enhancement of the quantity or quality of goods or services, or other discounted or free items.
Shikongo further said that another meeting is scheduled for Keetmanshoop on 10 August, while a meeting is scheduled for the capital for 14 August 2012.