Palapye-based Letsatsi Casino has lost with costs a case in which they took the Gambling Authority (GA) together with the Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry to the High Court for rejecting to renew its trading licence.
This follows after the Letsatsi Casino failed to renew its 10-year licence, which expired in February 2006. According to Justice Isaac Lesetedi, Letsatsi of the High Court, the casino should have applied for the licence renewal six months before the expiry date as per the Authority’s regulations. However, they only applied three months before the expiry date.
The founding affidavit and the record placed before the court show that in its September 2015 letter and a subsequent ones of October 15, 2015 and February 5, 2016, the Casino Control Board (CCB) repeatedly advised the applicant of the statutory requirements to be followed in applying for a renewal of the licence.
“In its letter dated 17th November 2015 addressed to the CCB, it is evident that the applicant was at that time still in the process of preparing the Regulation 3 memorandum which had to be part of the renewal application. By then there was less than three months left before the expiry of the licence yet Regulation 2 (2) required the renewal of the licence to have been made not later than six months before the expiry of the licence,” he said.
Lesetedi further indicated that in the circumstances of this case, the applicant clearly was not entitled to a remedy of renewal of its licence as none of the circumstances existed. On the other hand, he said it appeared on the regulations to have had no case at all. He further said that the licence having lapsed on February 6, 2016, it could not be renewed more than a year later noting that to constitute a renewal, the replacement of the old legal relationship must take place immediately upon the expiry of the previous legal relationship.
Following the expiry of its trading licence, Letsatsi Casino on August 27, 2015 through its general manager, Botswana Operations, Derick van der Nest wrote a letter to the CCB purporting to be an application for renewal of its casino licence. On September 7 the same year, the CCB wrote back advising Letsatsi Casino of the procedure to be adopted. After various steps were taken by Letsatsi Casino and which were considered by the CCB, it was found not to be in compliance with the Casino Control Regulations and the directions contained.
Acceptable procedural steps were finally followed by Letsatsi Casino, but it was by then too late for it to meet the time lines set out in the regulations to ripen the application for consideration before its license expired.
Dissatisfied with the decision of the CCB, Letsatsi Casino appealed to the minister. In a tense letter the minister informed Letsatsi Casino that having considered the appeal, he rejected it. Aggrieved by the minister’s decision, Letsatsi Casino launched a review application in the High Court.