—Tourism and Arts Minister, Sylvia Masebo, says government will not let Zambia become a gambling nation in the wake of unprecedented proliferation of gambling houses in the country.
Ms Masebo said government is concerned with the springing up of unregulated casinos and other gambling outlets in the country especially in Lusaka and along the line of rail.
Speaking at a consultative meeting with casino operators and stakeholders in Lusaka today, Ms Masebo said government intends to regulate the industry in order to align it to international best practices.
Ms Masebo said the absence of legislation in the casino industry has resulted in government losing colossal sums of money through non-payment of taxes.
The minister wondered how many of the casinos springing up were licensed and assured that her ministry and all concerned will be made accountable.
The minister said she will incorporate views from casino operators and stakeholders into a statutory instrument she will issue at the end of the month that will enforce regulation of casinos, which have been associated with money laundering and other social vices.
Ms Masebo also said that her ministry will soon launch the New Tourism Policy and Strategic Plan for the period 2013 to 2016 that is aimed at giving direction to the Tourism industry so that it can contribute to wealth and job creation.
And Casino operators have formed an association called the Casino Association of Zambia that will represent interests of operators and address problems that have besieged the industry.
Interim Chairperson, Nixon Nzowa, commended the Ministry of Tourism and Arts for organizing the operators and pledged to collaborate with the ministry in cleaning up and regulating the media.