The Gambling Authority has commissioned a study to establish the prevalence of gambling addiction in Botswana. This was revealed by Gambling Authority Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Thuli Johnson, who further explained that the survey will focus on providing evidence of gambling harm with the aim of developing an effective education, prevention and treatment programme for those affected.
He further said the study is in line with the Gambling Authority’s commitment to transforming Botswana’s economy through safe and responsible gaming. Although potentially addictive, Johnson said gambling is a global multi-billion-dollar industry that can contribute towards developing the national economy.
“We have a responsibility to raise awareness about the gambling harm. We must instil a sense of discipline among Batswana so that they become responsible gamblers. If conducted irresponsibly, gambling can cause serious financial problems and even mental ailments. That’s why we found it imperative to conduct this study,” said Johnson.
The research will determine the prevalence of gambling in Botswana as well as gambling harm and determine appropriate treatment and preventive measures. Findings of the research will be shared with key stakeholders like the Ministry of Health and health practitioners, the regulator and Government.
“This research will take the form of a national study. We have roped in Statistics Botswana to guide us on the research methodology and develop the terms of reference. We want to comply with the highest research standards because we want the findings to be credible,” said Johnson.
The research was commissioned by the Gambling Authority, which is established by the Gambling Act of 2012 and mandated with guiding and monitoring the development and implementation of programmes aimed at preventing addictive or compulsive gambling, as well as rehabilitating compulsive gamblers. The baseline study will be supervised by a Reference Group that is made up of members of the Excessive Gambling Prevention and Rehabilitation Committee and other stakeholders from Statistics Botswana, Ministry responsible for Lands and Housing, Ministry of Health and Wellness, United Nations
Development Programme (UNDP), Ministry of Local Government, University of Botswana (UB) and others. The Reference Group will provide inputs in the adaptation of the study tools to the local context, review the study protocol and assist in the dissemination of the study findings to relevant stakeholders.