South African Online Gambling Proposals Still Creating Uncertainty

Published Sunday, March 11, 2012 -

South African punters are getting confused as the government keeps sending messages that indicate they want to regulate online gambling but not just yet. The vacillating officials of the country just don’t seem to have a handle on the situation.
The Gambling Review Commission has come out with a recommendation that a policy regulating online gambling should be implemented and recently the National Assembly’s Trade and Industry Oversight Committee continued to push the Department of Trade and Industry to propose some kind of legislation that recognizes the fact that prohibiting online betting in South Africa has little effect on the number of punters using offshore web services for gambling and that the delay in policy revisions is costing the country large in terms of lost revenues that could be had by taxation and regulation.

The Oversight Committee recommended that specific forms of online gambling, including slots, casino games, bingo, sports betting and the Tote be regulated and taxed. Not included in the recommendations were poker, exchange wagering, and two peer-to-peer forms of betting that the Financial Intelligence Centre has identified as potential vehicles for money laundering. A consultant for the South African government has recommended a manageable “four or five” licenses be issued “under very strict compliance methods, ” for a maximum period of eight years.  

There is an interesting parallel stance observed in the USA where some states are passionately attempting to keep their laws governing online gambling to themselves. Speaking to a parliamentary committee recently Deputy Director Zodwa Ntuli of the Department of Trade and Industry was voicing the same observations that American Gaming Association Chairperson Frank Fahrenkopf stated, “There isn’t any alignment … If we have laws in different provinces which are completely diverse, it also has the potential to increase the cost of compliance for operators … [which]actually results in uncertainty.” Yes it sounds familiar even to Europeans who see Germany and other diverse views on the issue of regulation colliding with dire consequences. 


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