Chairman of the only casino in Maputo wants to maintain monopoly

7 March 2007

Maputo, Mozambique, 7 March – The Polana Casino, the only gaming and gambling venue in the Mozambican capital of Maputo, wants to keep his monopoly in the Mozambican capital, the chairman of the casino’s board, Jacinto Veloso said Tuesday in Maputo.

On Tuesday, the members of the commission on Economic Activities and Services of the Mozambican parliament, visited the casino in order to get suggestions for changes to revise the 1994 law.

According to a statement issued later by the parliament, Veloso made it clear to the commission members that he did not want to see another casino in Maputo.

Under the terms of the 1994 law, there are two types of casino in Mozambique – those with an open door policy, such as the one in Namaacha next to the border with Swaziland, which has a monopoly within a 75 kilometer radius, and those with a special license, such as the Polana.

The latter are, theoretically, private clubs with access limited to members, although it is in fact extremely easy for any adult to get a membership card.

At his meeting with the commission members, Veloso proposed that special license casinos, of which the one he runs is the only one in Mozambique, have a monopoly within a 50 kilometer radius.

Veloso also said he was opposed to a clause in the law that stipulates that casinos, even if they are built from scratch by the investor – as is the case with the Polana’s facilities – will one day be nationalized, arguing that this should only happen if there is a very serious problem caused by the investor.

The Polana casino has been operating since 1996 and, according to Veloso, pays taxes of some US$1.8 million per year. (macauhub)