SA casinos sign ‘social contract’

16 November 2005

South Africa’s casino sector has signed a gambling industry code of conduct, becoming one of the first countries outside the United States to so do.

Making the announcement in Cape Town on Sunday, Casino Association of South Africa (Casa) chairman Peter Bacon said the code of conduct would bind all casinos in South Africa to “demanding protocols” designed to promote a culture of responsible gambling in the country.

Issues addressed by the new code include advertising standards, measures to prevent under-age gambling, policies on the sale of alcohol, and funding for and co-operation with the National Responsible Gambling Programme.

“Casa’s members are employers, property owners and taxpayers and place the highest priority on the obligations of corporate citizenship and social responsibility,” Bacon said.

“This code of conduct is a social contract with the people of South Africa, and it binds our members to a number of far-reaching measures that underpin our already stringent responsible gambling policies.”

Casino industry
In the space of eight years, according to Casa’s figures, South Africa’s licensed casino industry has been responsible for more than R12-billion in new investment in the country’s nine provinces, adding more than R36-billion to SA’s gross domestic product in terms of economic multipliers.

The industry says it has created almost 100 000 direct and indirect jobs, while helping to advance transformation in the tourism and leisure sector.

Responsible gambling
Casa chief executive Derek Auret said says that in 2004 the association’s members had invested more than R87-million in corporate social investment and contributed about R6-million to efforts promoting responsible gambling.

“In terms of transformation, 60% of voting control in our sector on average is now in empowerment hands, and an effective 38% economic interest. This substantially exceeds other comparable industries.”

Gambling industry analyst and academic Peter Collins says the code will enhance the international credibility of South Africa’s casino industry.

“South Africa has been at the forefront of new thinking in the global gambling industry on key social issues such as problem gambling,” Collins says.

“Both regulators and industry in this country recognise that the sustainability of good public policy, and equally the industry’s commercial prospects, depend on being trusted to meet society’s expectations.”

Southafrica.info reporter

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