THE Mpumalanga economic development department has put the awarding of a fourth casino licence on hold.
MEC Jabu Mahlangu cited the present economic crisis as the reason for the move.
"We encourage responsible gambling and took this decision because we don't want to increase the temptation of gambling.
"That would put further strain on the people who are already squeezed by the recession," Mahlangu said.
"We will continue to carry out our mandate of ensuring that all gambling and betting activities comply with relevant regulations."
Mahlangu said his department was also encouraging responsible drinking, hence the provincial liquor board approved 683 liquor licence applications out of the 1107 applications submitted.
"With regard to business regulation, we envisage that about 1000 liquor licences will be approved this year," he said.
Mahlangu said this was based on the average yearly figures received and evaluated.
He said his department would educate and provide awareness to small to medium liquor licence industries regarding their sustainability and enforce compliance to licence conditions and legislation in partnership with the police.