The Namibian government’s move to update the country’s gambling laws has left the industry reeling, with many operators buckling under the resulting financial pressure. The government announced its intention to amend the Casinos and Gambling Houses Act of 1994, section 54 and to force casinos and other gambling institutions to pay more. Casinos will need to pay an annual gambling license fee, as well as a flat rate for each gambling machine on their premises. They would also see a 5% increase on the monthly levy on income generated from gambling machines and tables.
The Namibian published information provided by sources that casinos have not paid annual license fees since 1996. The only levy they are obliged to pay is a 5% income tax on gambling machines. The increase in rates mean that casinos need to pay $1,000 per machine, no matter how many machines they have on their premises. This is in contrast to earlier clauses of the law that the permit fees’ amount depended on how many machines the casino operated. The law originally stated that casinos paid N$250 per machine if they had up to five machines, followed by N$500 per machine if they had more than five machines, and $1,000 per machine if they had 10 or more.
Servasius Kapinga, the deputy director for gaming control at Namibia’s environment ministry, said that there was a big need for change. “Nothing was done for 20 years,” he said. “Nothing changed, but rates and prices changed and were adopted by all around us, so it was decided that it was time for a change.” Kapinga said that the impact of the new levies “should not be too great.”
“Obviously it is for someone who is making money to share some of it,” he said, “but for so long, it has been so low.”
As a member of the Gaming Regulators Africa Forum, Namibia needs to review its levels on its gambling industry on a regular basis.
Other big changes expected for the country’s gambling industry when the new Gaming and Entertainment Control Act, which has been under review since 2011, will finally be implemented before the end of 2017. Casinos will see even stricter regulation of their operations, such the registration of all gambling machines.