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The KwaZulu-Natal Gaming and Betting Board has generated over R724 million in revenue for service delivery and has created more than 11,600 jobs for the province's citizens.

KwaZulu-Natal Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA) MEC Siboniso Duma revealed the revenue and job generation information during the 15th Gambling Regulators African Forum (GRAF) Conference held at Sibaya Casino in Durban on Wednesday.

The annual conference was attended by more than 500 international and national delegates. This event serves as a platform for regulators to share insights, work together on regulatory issues and influence the future of the African gambling sector.

This year's conference is being held from April 2 to 5 under the theme, "Fostering Unity Towards a Coordinated Gaming Regulatory Framework for Africa."

During the event, Duma spoke about the significance of the gaming sector in the province's economy, highlighting its investment of over R2 billion.

He pointed out that these funds have been allocated for various service delivery programs including roads construction, houses and ensuring the provision of quality education, health, welfare services, water and electricity.

"Companies that are involved in the gaming and betting sector have invested more than R2 billion towards the development of their facilities here in KZN. This has helped create jobs and stimulate other sectors of the economy such as tourism and construction," he said, SA News reported.

He added, "Importantly, through our entity, we regulate horseracing events such as the Durban July which is now called Hollywood Bet [which] has always been the country's biggest race for years with more than R4.5 million in prize money and turnover of R140 million."

He further emphasized that numerous sectors of the economy have benefited over the years, with thousands of temporary and permanent jobs created.

Duma also delved in to the horse racing industry that in general contributes around R3 billion to the country's GDP and about R800 million in taxes every year. The contribution of the industry to the local economy is R905 million.

The EDTEA regulates horseracing events such as the Durban July, which is now called Hollywood Bet, the country's biggest race for years with more than R4.5 million in prize money and turnover of R140 million.

Duma acknowledged the impact of COVID-19 on the industry, revealing that jockeys have collectively lost around R6.5 million monthly, which includes riding fees and winning stakes. Additionally, trainers have faced losses of approximately R3 million per month, with their business declining by 20%.

"We are also moving with speed to unleash talent in deep rural areas through traditional racing events, such as Dundee July and Umtelebhelo. These have become major events in the annual calendar which have attracted more than 70,000 tourists," Duma said.

Duma noted that firms such as Hollywood Sportsbook Group and Gold Circle have joined with government in supporting grooms within the horseracing industry.

"We want to see young people becoming horse owners, horse trainers, horse breeders, jockeys, veterinarians and grooms," Duma added.