On Friday, 12 October 2018, Miss Mpumalanga 2018, who is also MER Ambassador, Vanessa Hollenbach attended the destruction of 38 illegal gambling machines in Mbombela. The machines were confiscated from illegal operations throughout the Province in partnership with SAPS. This is an ongoing operation to eradicate illegal gambling in the Province.
The majority of machines confiscated are chinese roulettes; mostly known to the communities as 50c machines, were confiscated following a number of inspections conducted by the Mpumalanga Economic Regulator (“MER”), a new entity regulating gambling and liquor in the Mpumalanga Province, in collaboration with the Provincial Organized Crime Unit. These machines have not gone through laboratory testing and certification by the standards authority, and as a result, they cannot be allowed for public consumption, as they have a potential to cause health risks and to rob members of the public of their money.
It is devastating to see how these 50c machines expose minors to gambling at an early age, which cause harm through addictions. If any member of the society is found participating in illegal gambling activities, they may be convicted and held liable for a fine of up to R10 million or an imprisonment for a period of up to 10 years or both.
Other illegal gambling activities that the public need to be aware of and abstain from, is gambling on the internet, fahfee (umshaina)and any bettingin areas or venues without a licence.
We appeal to members of the public to stay alert from falling prey to illicit operators, selling illegal gambling machines or offering any form of gambling without a valid gambling licence, which must always be on display at licensed gambling venues. The illegal operators do not only deceive the public, but also undermine Government’s efforts on job creation, gambling taxes and prevention of problem gambling.
The machines destroyed on Friday, were those that had been evidence in court cases. They have no redeeming social value; therefore, they are subject to destruction. The MER will continue to monitor any locations that may be using these illegal devices. If anyone is still in possession of illegal gambling machines out there, they need to heed the call and remove such from public consumption.
We appeal to communities to support the MER in fighting illegal gambling activities by ascertaining the legality of gambling activities or gambling venues in their areas by reporting same to the MER on (013) 750 8000 or email email@example.com. Alternatively, to contact the nearest Police Station.