Gambling Authority (GA) has appointed four companies to provide counselling services towards rehabilitating excessive gamblers from becoming addicts.
The quartet is made up of Gaborone Rehabilitation and Emergency Centre, Thuso Psychotherapy, New Beginnings Counselling Centre and Psychologists Botswana.
GA chief executive officer, Thulisiswe Johnson said the psycho-social support offered by registered suppliers is open to all gamblers and their family members.
He added that they continue to refer gamblers to these professionals on a voluntary basis.
“Both gamblers and their family members are free to access these services, on a purely voluntary basis, at no cost to them (gamblers). The costs are borne by the Gambling Authority from the responsible gambling levy that the Authority collects from the industry,” Johnson said.
As the GA’s mandate is to promote responsible gambling, the Authority will also play its part and use the system to identify addicts and refer them for counselling. The GA will also be relying on experts to help identify and help them. Individuals with gambling addiction will not be allowed back into casinos until a professional confirms they are in a proper state of not relapsing.
Last year, GA issued a public invitation tender for the provision of counselling services for gambling addicts as part of the efforts to encourage responsible gambling.
The independent counsellors will work hand in hand with the Authority in rehabilitating the addicts.
Previously, the gambling regulator had planned to build a rehabilitation facility using the 15% monthly levy paid by the operators. But BusinessMonitor has learnt that the GA has since back-tracked on the issue after assessing the situation.
Over the last few years, the gambling industry has experienced relative growth.
“We continue to refer gamblers to these professionals on a voluntary basis. Any person who wish to access these services are encouraged to contact the Gambling Authority,” added Johnson.