FSRGB clamps down on illegal gambling

The Free State Gambling and Liquor Authority (FSGRB) has lashed out at the use of illegal gambling machinery in taverns and other liquor outlets in the province.

The GRB said the gambling machines lure pensioners and unemployed who gamble their old-age grants and the little they have money away in the false hope of making a fortune.

According to FSGRB spokesperson, Banzi Tollie, the illegal gambling machines are imported by Chinese business people and brought into the country disguised as computer equipment and then later re-assembled in the country.

The machines are then installed in taverns and internet cafés which use them for illegal gambling purposes. Tollie said the gambling machines are programmed in such a way that the players lose more money than they win.

“This allows the person using the machinery to keep installing 50cent coins in the machinery with an expectation to win,” said Tollie.

The FSGRB, which is the agency of the Free State provincial government, plans to recycle the illegal gambling machines it has repossesses from liquor establishments across the province.

A private company, Niewco Recycling, has been appointed by the gambling and liquor authority to demolish and recycle the repossessed illegal gambling machines. The machines are made with wood and easy to demolish.

Police spokesperson Brigadier, Solly Lesia, said police are working hand in hand with the authority to shut down illegal gambling outlets, confiscating the goods and arresting suspects involved in illegal gambling.

“We have shut down quite a number of internet cafés which had been operating the illegal gambling machinery, I do not have the statistics with me but we have a pending case in Parys, it’s still in court,” said Lesia.

Lesia said police are still pursuing the Chinese syndicate behind the importing of the illegal gambling machines but conceded that this is proving to be a toll order.

“It’s very rare that we catch the Chinese together with the runners or the equipment and so, we haven’t arrested any of them as yet. These Chinese are dealing in our police officers are investigating their syndicates.

“The problem with the operations is that the syndicate imports the machinery into the country as computer equipment and can easily access the wood to assemble it; so it’s difficult to arrest someone in possession of an incomplete product that cannot be connected to the gambling.”