Lotto scheme 'is pro-gambling'

2009-07-22 22:02

Johannesburg - A new lottery scheme launched on Wednesday makes it easier for people - particularly the youth - to gamble, the National Consumer Forum has charged.

It allows people to play the lottery using cellphones, ATMs or online banking, Gidani announced.

"It makes no sense for the national lottery to be rolling out easier ways for people to start gambling," National Consumer Forum (NCF) chairperson Thami Bolani said in a statement.

"South Africa has one of the lowest saving rates in the world, and government needs to be urgently addressing this problem with imaginative programmes and incentives."

Gidani said on Wednesday that although the scheme would initially be available to only FNB clients, other banks were expected to come on board later in the year. The use of banking channels would make it more convenient and accessible to individuals.

Spending not saving

Bolani charged that the scheme focused on spending rather than saving money during a recession.

He said that the NCF will take the matter up with the National Lotteries Board, which is part of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Too many consumers were spending money they did not have, instead of taking personal financial responsibility, Bolani said.

He urged to the DTI to focus on creating jobs and promoting small businesses, particularly as pressure from the recession mounted on employment and earnings.

It was ironic that the scheme was launched during National Savings month, Bolani said as it sent the wrong message to consumers.