CASINOS AND CLUBS UNDER MAILE’S MICROSCOPE

6 November 2017

Gauteng Economic Development MEC Comrade Lebogang Maile has reassured and urged those involved in the alcoholic beverages and gambling industries to stick to the law. This comes as the South Gauteng High Court made a ruling allowing shebeen permit holders to trade for the next coming two years on their existing permits.

Comrade Maile has committed to making sure that shebeens are part of the formal economy. “This judgement has placed a mammoth task to the Gauteng Liquor Board (GLB) to review some aspects of our regulations, thus not undermining our overall objectives of mainstreaming and integrating shebeens into the mainstream liquor industry.”

Another issue that has garnered the attention of the department is the trading hours of establishments that sell alcohol as well as their compliance with licence conditions. Cubana Fourways will be the subject of a preliminary investigation, about whether it violated its licensing condition. “We have set strict timeframes within which the Liquor Board must report back on this matter, before necessary action can be taken,” said MEC Maile.

In the coming weeks the department will work closely with law enforcement agencies, particularly the SA Police Services (SAPS), including Metro Police to raid and act swiftly against liquor traders or outlets who sell liquor to consumers or patrons in violation of their trading license.

The Gauteng Liquor Board is responsible for compliance and SAPS for enforcement. Compliance is mainly about where the outlet is licensed but also looks into whether the license holder contravenes any of the conditions imposed, such as trading beyond the trading hours, selling liquor to minors etc.

Gauteng Gambling Board

Comrade Maile has also turned his attention to the Gauteng Gambling Board, which through taxes and levies it collected, contributed R986 million to the fiscus in the year 2016/2017. In the previous financial year, the GGB managed to collect R974 million.

The ANC-led government in Gauteng has published a set of proposed gambling regulations intended to differentiate between big and smaller casino operators. Currently all casino operators are paying a flat rate of 9 percent, but according to the proposed regulations, big casinos will pay a bigger amount while the fees for the small players will go down.

“Tax revenue from gambling activities is critical for our province as it enables us to execute our mandate to deliver quality health services, education and many other important services for our people,” said Comrade Maile.

The ownership of casinos and gambling outlets is also under the microscope with the Gauteng Gambling Board aiming to increase opportunities for black ownership in the industry. In 2016, the GGB issued 34 new bookmaker licenses to applicants who were required to meet strict BBBEE shareholding requirements.

Applicants for the new bookmaker licenses were required to have 51% shareholding by previously disadvantaged individuals of which 60% is held by locals. Other requirements included the ring fencing of 30% of the 60% shareholding held by locals for the benefit of black women and youth.