The Director of Gambling Law and Policy at the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti), Nkoatse Mashamaite urged the community of Hammanskraal to use alcohol wisely and observe responsible behaviour when gambling.
Mashamaite was addressing residents who attended the dti’s national education and awareness campaign on pieces of legislation administered by the department and its agencies. These included the Liquor, Gambling, Lotteries Amendment, National Credit, Consumer Protection, Copyright, Performers Protection, and Companies Acts. The purpose of the campaign is to educate communities across the country on the rights and responsibilities afforded to them by various legislation with the aim of empowering them.
“For a majority of people, gambling is a harmless, fun recreational activity. For most gambling is a form of leisure and entertainment. This includes the fact that there are both legal and illegal forms of gambling, however, continuous, excessive and irresponsible gambling is addictive and will have a negative impact on your life. A critical issue is the lack of education and awareness which prevents people from acting in their own interests,” said Mashamaite.
Mashamaite warned that someone who spends more time on gambling, diverts spending from essentials to fund gambling, borrows to fund gambling, gamble with bigger amounts, misses work or other commitments to go to gambling or has relationships breaking down because of debt and dishonesty, is already showing worrying signs of being a problem gambler who is on a path to gambling addiction and destruction.
He reiterated to the community that gambling was not a way to get rich quickly or to pay off one’s debts, and advised them to be vigilant and look out for signs of problem gambling.
The Director of Liquor Law and Policy at the dti, Ms Clementine Makaepea said that just like with excessive gambling, communities rarely understand the dangers of and health risks associated with drinking and the abuse of liquor as well as the laws regulating the liquor industry.
“There is some link between excessive alcohol use and irresponsible gambling. That is why you will always find a bar at the casino, and more often than not, a small slot machine at alcohol outlets because the more alcohol you drink, the less one feels responsible for the money used at gambling,” said Makaepea.
She said that it is important for communities to know that government has put in place redress platforms to address the increasing scourge in number of social ills perpetuated by alcohol abuse, disregard of the Liquor Act by vendors and excessive, irresponsible gambling.
“It is always our duty as government to consider and respond to issues that affect society in a negative way. Therefore, we need to involve members of our communities and capacitate them to deal with social issues created by alcohol abuse in people that they are close to in order to assist them before the problem gets out of hand,” she added.