Wits students are playing black jack on campus grounds.
A GROUP of about 20 Wits students are involved in a daily illegal gambling syndicate on the West Campus Law lawns as a form of entertainment and making money.
The black jack game was started at the Matrix on East Campus by four friends during Orientation Week in January, but has since grown to involve at least 16 more students.
Black jack is a game of cards where one or more players go up against a dealer. The first player to reach 21 points wins the money that was put forward.
The National Gambling Act (2004) in section 8 states that “unlicensed gambling activities are unlawful” and that “a person must not engage in, conduct or make available gambling activity”.
Section 8b and c say that social gambling needs to be licensed and that informal betting is only allowed when there is no exchange of real money.
According to Lucky Khumela, a Wits security and liaison officer, his office “[had] not received reports about student gambling” and this is the first time something like this had happened at Wits.
He said that the Student Code of Conduct “promotes ethical, respectful and responsible behaviour and values”, and that students found violating this code of conduct would be referred to the legal office and face disciplinary action.
According to a fourth-year student, *David Carter, who plays black jack on campus, “Bets start as low as 50c and can reach up to anywhere between R80 and R400.”
Carter told Wits Vuvuzela that he knew that they were violating the Wits Code of Conduct by holding games and participating in them. He said the game was mostly played by first-year students but was not limited to them, and “anyone who has the money can join”.
First-year BCom Accounting Sciences student, *Richard Campbell, told the Wits Vuvuzela that “If you lose it’s bad and it can make you depressed.”
He added that on one occasion, he went to play with R2 and left with R663 five hours later. During this time, he missed classes and said that these games do affect players’ lecture attendance.
*Thabo Sibanyoni, another player on campus, said students gamble on campus not just to make money but for social reasons and it allows for social interaction and brings about a feeling of excitement when players win money.
*Names have been changed.