May 20, 2011, 2:31 PM
With effect from today, lotteries, casinos and all forms of gambling in The Gambia are to cease operations, according to a statement from the Office of the President.
The full presidential release stated: “The Government of The Gambia hereby announces that it has banned lotteries, casinos and all forms of gambling in The Gambia with effect from Monday, 2nd March 2015. All operators of these services and establishments are hereby instructed to cease operations from the effective date.
“Gambian society has been built on the foundations of promoting positive social values like thrift and integrity rather than negative ones like greed and avarice. Therefore, it is the duty of the Gambia Government to safeguard and promote the public welfare of our citizens.
“Of recent, sports betting and gambling dens have mushroomed all over the country. One often sees pupils as young as seven years of age lining at kiosks during school hours and spending their ‘lunch money’ on purchasing sports betting tickets. Also, families often go hungry because household incomes are wagered in gambling dens.
“While proponents argue that gambling and lotteries could be effective ways to raise taxes, it is clearly evident that these vices often hurt those who are poor and disadvantaged. The social and economic costs are enormous and show up in the shattered lives of individuals and their families.
“Gambians are predominantly followers of Islam and Christianity and both religions explicitly or implicitly strictly forbid adherents from engaging in gambling.
“The Gambia Government will not allow such unethical and exploitative businesses to operate in The Gambia and will vigorously take all actions to prevent the young of The Gambia from becoming a generation of compulsive and addicted gamblers.”