MEC ‘will curb mini casinos’

2014-09-12 00:00

The province’s finance boss yesterday assured concerned organisations that she would curb the roll-out of mini casinos.

On Wednesday The Witness reported Pastor Mervin Reddy’s emotional plea to stop the KZN Gaming and Betting Board from approving 13 licences that would see the rolling out of mini casinos in malls.

Reddy’s emotional appeal was the most personal of the objections presented at the hearing at Westville Country Club.

Tuesday was the first of 13 public hearings on allowing electronic bingo terminals in shopping malls in KZN.

Four operators have applied for licences at 13 malls, including the Pavilion and Amanzimtoti’s Galleria.

KwaZulu-Natal Finance MEC Belinda Scott has reassured several organisations around the province that she intends amending regulations that aim to allow mini casinos in malls.

This she said in a letter sent to attorney, Stephen Franke, who filed an objection against the mini casinos in malls around the province on behalf of 21 organisations.

The Witness has a copy of the letter, dated September 9, which reads, “I intend to amend both the KwaZulu-Natal Gaming and Betting Regulations, 2012 and the KwaZulu-Natal gaming and Betting Board Tax Act 2010 in the near future,” and is signed by Scott.

Scott said amendments will include measures to curb the proliferation of electronic bingo terminals in public areas in close proximity to children and disadvantaged communities.

Durban businessman Vivian Reddy welcomed the statement, saying that Scott “recognised that gambling in KZN was over saturated”.

Reddy said, “This shows that she cares about the masses … The exciting reaction of applause from the hundreds of people at the Phoenix hearing yesterday showed appreciation of the MEC’s statements.”

The hearings are expected to be held in Richards Bay and Empangeni today.

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