• Over a period of time, many of the operators were non-compliant.
• Follow the rules and regulations and operate from designated trading places.
• Government must consider reducing license fees for slot business operators as K175, 000 is too high.
Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development has called on Slot Business Machine Operators to comply with the law as they conduct their operations.
Speaking during the launch of the new Executive Members of the Zambia Gaming Association (ZGA), Ministry’s Permanent Secretary Mambo Hamaundu said the operators must ensure that they operate from designated places to avoid being in conflict with the law.
Mr. Hamaundu assured that government will in due course address issues of charges and taxes that Slot Machine Operators pay.
He stated that there is always an opportunity for the Association to present proposals to the Ministry of Finance and National Planning of what they hope to see in the national budget with regards to this sector.
“Over a period of time, many of us were non-compliant and that is one of the biggest challenges that is why you ended up a cat and mouse game with the Council and other relevant authorities. I am making this plea to you to say let us be compliant, let is follow the rules and regulations, let is ensure that we operate from designated trading places and ensure that we operate within the confines of the law.”
“It’s very important that we really work together and the only way we can do that is that we all act responsibly. Do not imagine that government is your enemy, government will only look like your enemy when you offend the law,” Mr. Hamaundu said.
Mr. Hamaundu further expressed concern over the issue of allowing underage patronage in areas where slot machines are placed, stating that making money should not be at the expense of limiting the prospects of young children.
He urged the operators to set a good legacy as a business, as government is receptive and wants people to do business, make money, and improve their lives.
And ZGA Chairman Noah Malungila called on Ministry of Finance to consider reducing license fees for slot business operators because the revised fee of K175, 000 is too high for its members most of whom are youth operators who have created employment opportunities for others.
He noted that Councils also get a good share of trading permit fees collected from various shop segments across the country.
“I would like to admit that both the Council and the Association have faced challenges as regard compliance and some machines have found themselves in the market, something which is against the guidelines of Slot Machines Operations. We promise under this new Executive to uphold the guidelines and also encourage our members to pay the trading permits and other statutory fees as per the law of the land,” Mr. Malungila said.
Mr. Malungila also stressed the need for Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) to reduce taxes for slot businesses from the current K500 to K250 for the authority to collect taxes effectively from the over 10,000 slot machines countrywide.
“We promise to be part of you on tax collection so that we equally contribute for you to meet the target and other changes in the tax legislation process by sensitizing other stakeholders. We are more than ready to be part of this task so that your institution contributes more on social sector economic development, through Ministry of Finance.
“We feel left out because in the past, it is us the Zambia Gaming Association who brought out the issue of other taxes from Slot Machine Operators. There are a lot of lapses in your tax collection from the Slot Machines by your staff. The Inventory register that you have on Slot and Route Machines, we feel is not correct because there are more than 10, 000 Slot Machines across the country. We lobby for your office to engage us the Association on this matter so that we help to provide awareness on changes on Gaming and Betting Businesses because we understand, know the operators well and their places of operations countrywide.”