The search for the operator of the envisaged National Lottery has begun as the Gambling Authority opens bidding process. The search process is expected to be concluded by November 17 when the chosen operator will be announced. Addressing the media on Tuesday, the Gambling Authority Chief Executive Officer Thuli Johnson said the National Lottery is expected to be up and running by 2018. Johnson said the lottery is expected to among others help advance government’s economic diversification drive and the socio-economic development of the citizens of Botswana. He said through the lottery there will be improved tax revenue for government, employment creation as well as availability of funds for good causes. “The lottery is mainly for benefits of Batswana and to raise money for the good causes. Through the National Lottery Distribution money will be disbursed for good causes mainly sports, charities, arts and disaster relieves,” he said. Johnson said it is the Authority’s vision to see the lottery run by Batswana as the years go by. He, therefore, revealed that the operator that will be awarded the tender will be required to educate locals on the running of the lottery. He acknowledged that even though the lottery is also meant to provide some form entertainment to people, some may get carried away and misuse their money on gambling. For this reason that, he said, they are looking to put up a rigorous public education campaign concerning gambling. “We want to ensure responsible gambling by all people. We do not want to have instances where people are said to be using all their money on gambling,” he said. Johnson revealed that they want the authority to be a reputable entity trusted locally and internationally. As a result, he pointed out that a thorough assessment process will be done on all companies that bid for the National lottery because no failure is wanted on the lottery. He said transparency should be key in the running of the lottery hence they need an experienced operator for the tender. Though the lottery remains the property of Botswana government the selected operator will be contracted for the period of 10 years to run it. The final date of applications for the operators is June 4, 2017. An application fee of P1 million is required to be paid by all interested operators. A draft Request for Application (RFA) has already been published for the public scrutiny. Johnson said this is for the public to comment on the draft on how the authority could make the lottery better.