Law governing slot gaming machines under review

Gamblers play on slot machines at a Fortebet betting shop at Kisimenti in Kigali. Craish Bahizi.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry is reviewing the law that governs the operations of slot gaming machine business.

The review, which is already underway, comes in the wake of complaints from some citizens who have raised concerns that the gaming machines could fuel crime.

This is partly what has prompted the ministry to swing in with fresh regulatory measures largely aimed to designate the time during which such businesses should operate.

“The ministry is currently working on a new regulation that will govern the slot gaming business,” Olivier Gasore, Service Industry Development Policy Specialist at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, told The New Times without divulging details.

Slot gaming machines are increasingly becoming lucrative for some business operators, especially those who operate bars and shops.

Noel Hategekimana, a resident of Kacyiru Sector in Gasabo District, said that although the slot gaming machine business is booming, there’s need to impose restrictions on when they should operate.

He added that some people tend to gamble during normal working hours

Stephen Rwamurangwa, the Mayor of Gasabo District, said that operating slot gaming machines in the morning hours is prohibited. He added that the machines are designated to operate in specific places such as bars and hotels but not in small shops.

“The gaming machines have to operate during evening time because if they start in the morning they jeopardise work and they have to operate in designated places like big bars, hotels and other well organised places, but not small shops,” he said.

Rwamurangwa added that entrepreneurs are required to display their operating license in the premises where they operate from.

However, one operator in Kacyiru who declined to be named said that the proposed regulations should focus on punishing people who allow minors to gamble other than introducing restrictions on working hours. 

This is not the first time government will be taking strict measures on such businesses.

In 2018, in partnership with Rwanda Development Board and the Rwanda National Police, the Ministry of Trade and Industry carried out an inspection of operations of such businesses that saw a  number of them close shop because they were found to be short of minimum standards.

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