Namibian Jackpot Winner Shot in Fight over Winnings

  • Jackpot winner got into a fight and attacked two men with a broken bottle
  • One of the men then shot winner Petrus Fillipus and has been charged with attempted murder
  • The other man is pressing assault charges against Fillipus
  • The Namibian government is ready to make sweeping changes to the country's gambling laws
Henties Bay welcome sign
Namibian police arrested a man at a popular bar in Henties Bay after he shot a man who won the jackpot on a slot machine.

Shot three times

A Namibian jackpot winner ended up in the emergency room after a fight over his winnings. Petrus Fillipus, aged 22, was shot three times in the upper body and a leg. The shooting occurred at 1.30am on Saturday, July 6, according to a report in The Namibian.

Fillipus had won an undisclosed sum on a slot machine in a bar in Henties Bay. The Yamunyoko Cool Bar No. 2 is a popular hangout in the small resort town on the coast of central Namibia, some 350km from the capital, Windhoek. In addition to gambling machines, the bar offers pool tables and a DJ.

According to police detective Erastus Iikuyu, Fillipus got into an argument with an unnamed 29-year-old man about his jackpot winning.

Fillipus allegedly stabbed the man and his friend with a broken bottle. The man then shot at Fillipus with a licensed gun.

The jackpot winner was rushed to the local medical clinic, where doctors removed three bullets from his leg and torso. He was then transferred to a hospital and then to another hospital for further treatment.

Iikuyu said the victim was lucky to be alive. He did not disclose what had happened to the winnings.

Arrests follow

Law enforcement officers have arrested the shooter and have confiscated his gun. Police are still investigating, but have charged the man with attempted murder. He is expected to appear in court in nearby Swakopmund on July 8.

His friend, whom Fillipus stabbed in the head with a broken bottle, has pressed charges of assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm. Fillipus remains in hospital receiving treatment.

Gambling to be legalized

Most slot machines, such as the one Fillipus hit the jackpot on, are illegal in Namibia. It is estimated that the country has 100,000 unlicensed slot machines currently in operation in roughly 3,000 unlicensed premises.

Most gamblers in Namibia are on low incomes and the internet is rife with ads from people offering to cast spells that will enable a gambler to hit the jackpot.

Namibia has six licensed casinos that have a total of 1,145 licensed slots as well as table games. Another 254 licensed gambling houses have 1,700 registered slot machines.

Legal gambling generates around US$1.57m (£1.25m) annually in revenues for the government and is regulated under the 1994 Casinos and Gambling Houses Act.

The Namibian government imposed a moratorium on the issuance of gambling licenses in 1999. This is due to be lifted shortly with the new Gambling and Entertainment Control Act of 2018.

Forthcoming changes

Pohamba Shifeta, minister for tourism, said the new law would regulate all gambling properly and provide consumer protections to gamblers. Licensed operators would have obligations to assist problem gamblers, but no detail was forthcoming on this.

He added that none of the illegal slots would be confiscated; instead, owners could apply to register their premises. The new regulator would have wide-ranging powers, including the monitoring of premises, the power to seize assets and make arrests.

Shifeta announced the changes at a meeting to consult gambling industry stakeholders.

He said: “We are also trying to ensure that the issuing of licenses in respect of gambling and gambling activities is transparent, fair, and equitable.”

However, Tomas Jindji, chairman of the Namibia Chamber of Commerce, was critical of the proposed processes to legalize currently unlicensed gambling premises. He described them as “bloated with bureaucracy.”

He said: “The industry wants to operate legally and we need to be licensed. The process should be straightforward, not cumbersome.”