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MBABANE – Did government have a hand in the closing down of Swazi Lotto?

Swazi Lotto was a gambling company which came about around 1990 but eventually ceased operations.
According to the Prime Minister, Sibusiso Barnabas Dlamini, in his book Inspiration:

The Personal Journey of the Prime Minister of Swaziland, the company stopped operations after government ceased to allow it to advertise in the media. Dlamini says the exclusion damaged the company’s marketing strategy and it soon folded.

Explaining why government decided not to allow the company to advertise in its media, Dlamini says, “This was called Swazi Lotto and would have been entirely acceptable but for it starting to use and target children in its promotional activities.”

The premier describes the company’s gambling form as socially regressive. He explains that the odds against winning a major prize were huge and the cost of a ticket to the poor, with only a tiny chance of winning anything, was greater than that for a rich person.

In his book, Dlamini says gambling is an addiction which spells financial disaster. He speaks of gambling as addictive and says many personal lives and relationships have been damaged by the addiction. He says over a long-term of consistent and regular gambling, the odds are routinely stacked against the gambler.

“Whether it is reviving the thrill of potentially winning a huge sum of money, or a compulsion to regain past losses, this is an addiction that can grab hold of an individual’s personality to the extent that all he thinks about is gambling,” the book reads.

Although not certain, Dlamini assumes that civil servants were banned from frequenting casinos in the 1990s because they were being protected from addiction. He says local casinos were only promoted to tourists, the rich and the high-spending. He added that local casinos lost their popularity in the mid-1990s after South Africa legalised this form of commercial activity.

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