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Deputy minister warns politicians against promoting sports betting

Deputy health minister Ester Muinjangue has cautioned politicians against promoting sports betting, which she said can lead to addiction, fraud and poor mental health.

“Sports betting inherently brings up integrity issues and politicians are to be bound by a code of ethics,” she told The Namibian this week.
Muinjangue, a social worker by profession with over 20 years of experience, said people who partake in sports betting need strong will and discipline to limit their participation or plays.

She added that laws are needed to prevent exploitation, authorise operators and types of betting, and put age restrictions, among others.
Muinjangue also said lawmakers should consider crafting a legislation to regulate sports betting.

She said sports betting can lead to addiction, fraud and poor mental health, posing a risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviour.
One of the Popular Democratic Movement’s members of parliament, Hidipo Hamata, has faced allegations of promoting one of Namibia’s well-known sports betting companies.

Hamata has denied any wrongdoing and defended his ties to betting companies.

Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters lawmaker Kalimbo Iipumbu said regulating sports betting is not good because the betters do so to put bread on their tables.

According to him, people resort to betting because they cannot find employment and they are hungry.

“What does sports betting hinder? People are doing this because they don’t want to steal other people’s belongings. It’s very embarrassing to say that sports betting should be regulated. If you don’t want to play, don’t do it and allow those who want to play to do that,” Iipumbu said.