Casino industry is training staff to manage problem gamblers

07 December 2016 - 18:16 By Nomahlubi Jordaan

The Casino Association of South Africa (CASA) on Wednesday signalled it is helping mitigate the risk of problem gambling through allocating a percentage of profits to awareness programmes and training.

CASA advocates "responsible gambling" and offers support to the South African Responsible Gambling Foundation (SARGF).

CASA's chief executive‚ Advocate Themba Ngobese‚ told a news briefing the foundation is funded by the association and focuses on prevention‚ treatment‚ counselling and research with regards to problem gambling.

"During 2015/16‚ the amount invested into the SARGF by CASA members is R17‚1 million‚ which is 0‚09% of gross gambling revenue.

“A large part of the foundation’s programme is directed into driving awareness about gambling in schools through the National Schools Programme and into other vulnerable communities‚” Ngobese said.

He said the foundation also trains casino employees on responsible gambling‚ sensitising them to the dangers associated with problem gambling and how to manage crisis situations should they arise.

In July‚ a man believed to have had a gambling problem killed himself at Montecasino. The man set himself alight at the entrance‚ before the security checkpoint. He had apparently swallowed petrol after losing R800‚000 by gambling‚ according to reports.

By the time they seek help‚ about 22% of problem gamblers have attempted suicide and 52% are thinking of committing suicide‚ the South African Responsible Gambling Foundation said.

Meanwhile‚ Ngobese noted that with the country experiencing tough economic times‚ people will have less disposable income to spend on gambling.

“When people don’t have money‚ they don’t gamble. They don’t have an obligation to gamble. If they don’t want to‚ they don’t‚” he said.