ZIMSUN Leisure group chief executive officer Shingi Munyeza says they are pushing for the setting up of a watchdog in preparation for a casino project rollout.
Zimsun has applied to the government for a licence to operate casino projects. Government requires those who want to start casino projects to first set up a watchdog to monitor clients.
The watchdog would monitor problems of casinos such as chronic gambling.
“We would like to put a watchdog to manage problem gambling. The establishment of a casino watchdog is a total package to explore the lucrative casino business,” he said.
Munyeza, who is also president of the Zimbabwe Council for Tourism, said Zimsun had written a proposal to the Gaming Board and the Ministry of Home Affairs on how casinos should operate.
Munyeza said the idea of a casino watchdog was borrowed from South Africa, which has a full-fledged regulator.
Known as the National Responsible Gambling Programme (NRGP), the body makes people aware of the negative effects of gambling and preserves the entertainment aspect of casinos.
The NRPG is a private/public sector initiative and is the only one of its kind in Africa. Founded in June 2000, the body is acknowledged to be among the most comprehensive in the world.
It reports to the SA Responsible Gambling Trust, a public/private sector partnership accountable to the SA Advisory Council on Responsible Gambling.
The advisory council was created by the National Gambling Board in 2001 as a national forum and policy advisory body, and comprises representatives of industry, government and civil society.
South Africa’s NRGP is represented in Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland, Lesotho and Angola.
Munyeza said he had used last week’s meeting in South Africa to look for strategic partners in the lucrative casino business.
The second Annual Conference Gaming & Casinos World Africa 2004 in Johannesburg last week drew participants from African countries that have casino operations.
The conference delved into the business of casinos, regulation and overcoming the challenges of operating casinos in Africa.
Countries that attended the convention include Mozambique, South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe.
“The framework is much more attractive in Zimbabwe than in South Africa and opportunities are plenty because casino business is still growing,” said Munyeza.
“We do not have as many problems with casino authorities in Zimbabwe as they have in Mozambique where growing casino business is difficult.”
In Zimbabwe there are no more than five casino operators.
Munyeza said Zimsun used the opportunity to seek strategic partners in its bid to enter the lucrative casino business.