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13 November 2009

Fewer South Africans gamble

Fewer South Africans are spending their money on gambling, the National Gambling Board (NGB) said on Thursday.

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Fewer South Africans are spending their money on gambling, the National Gambling Board (NGB) said on Thursday.

In the ten years of legal gambling in the country, the gambling market had matured, according to the NGB study released on Thursday.

The study found that fewer people were involved in serious gambling than in 2002 and 2005, when similar studies on the impact of gambling on the South African community were conducted.

Stable gambling community
"This may point towards a more stable gambling community regarding their involvement in gambling as a regular entertainment event," NGB acting chief executive officer Thebi Moja said in a statement.

"Novelty and irregular gamblers will always be present, but they seem to be on the decline after almost a decade of legalised gambling in South Africa."

The study was conducted by Professor André Ligthelm of the University of South Africa's bureau of market research. It was aimed at gauging the socio-economic and gambling behaviour of South Africans, identifying trends in gambling conduct and informing the NGB on its regulatory responsibilities of advising on gambling policy, said Moja.

Lotto not included in study
The NGB focused on all gambling except the national lottery, which falls under the jurisdiction of the National Lotteries Board.

The study found the frequency of casino gambling by South African adults was 6.3% in 2009, significantly lower than the 19.3% recorded in 2003 and also down on the 7.1% in 2005.

It found that South Africans spent 1.34% of their household expenditure on gambling, down from 1.7% 2005 and up slightly on the 1,3% recorded in 2002. These figures included spending on lotto and scratch cards.

Most gambling in casinos
The study found that gambling overwhelmingly took place in casinos, which accounted for 76.1% of gambling expenditure, followed by horse and sports betting at nine percent and Limited Payout Machines at 3.7%.

The average South African gambler was between 26 and 45 years old (49%), employed full- or part-time (49.7%), and with a secondary education certificate (62.6%).

Most gamblers were female (63.7%) and black (72.8%).

The study found that the gambling sector contributed 0.93% to the GDP and accounted for 0.9% of total formal employment in South Africa. – (Sapa, November 2009)

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