The Gambling Authority is in the process of licencing Botswana’s first-ever National Lottery, which it expects to have completed before the end of the year.
Speaking during a national Pitso held in Francistown recently, the authority’s CEO, Thulisizwe Johnson was optimistic the scheme will contribute significantly to the country’s economic growth and development.
“Submissions have been made by five bidders – these submissions are being evaluated as we speak. We will announce a program in due course with regard to the completion phase of the award of this particular licence,” he explained, adding there had been a slight delay due to disputes by one of the potential bidders – disputes which have since been resolved.
However, Johnson would not divulge the value of the inaugural lottery and whether the bidders were foreign nationals or locals.
“Only after it has been independently evaluated will we know what we are awarding and to whom. I can’t tell you about the bidders,” he said.
Johnson further revealed some of the proceeds from the National Lottery would go towards the creation of a National Lottery Distribution Fund.
“A certain percentage of the income made in the lottery will be used for charitable expenditure, development of sports and recreation, arts, culture and youth empowerment.
“This is one important part that the national lottery does. It will support the economic development of Botswana,” highlighted the CEO, adding with a wry smile, “The gambling habits of people will benefit the growth of the economy!
“Firstly it’s time we open up the gambling space, where people can gamble via Internet in the comfort of their personal spaces. Secondly, to support the development of the horse racing industry through gambling revenues.”
Focusing on horse racing, Johnson noted that in countries such as Australia and France, the industry employed over 70, 000 people.
“The world is growing in gambling, especially Africa. A lot of opportunities exist in Botswana for the gambling industry.”
Meanwhile, the Authority has approved the issuing of casino licences in Gaborone, Kasane, Maun and Palapye. It is also expected to put out further expressions of interest in licencing Sports Betting and Bingo.