South Africa Slow to Enact Online Gambling Law Reform

Published Friday, February 12, 2010 -

South Africa is in still in legal limbo when it come to online gambling legislation and it looks like it will remain that way until a commission has concluded its findings and presented them to Parliament. South Africa's Department of Trade and Industry's chief director of policy and legislation, Nomfundo Maseti, explains, “online gambling is not allowed in S.A .at the moment”. There are an estimated half a million online gamblers in the country and the department does not have any information on how much money is being won or lost illegally in S.A. Maseti, also said, that there are no regulations in place to regulate the industry and that South Africans gambling online are doing so illegally and could forfeit their winnings. “It's a risk that they take... you've engaged in an illegal activity.”

President Jacob Zuma has yet to sign into law the National Gambling Amendment Bill which is expected to clamp down on illegal online gambling operators that target South African punters. People gambling illegally on internet sites from outside the country face stiff penalties should they be caught they could be punished with a R10 million fine or 10 years in jail. The department called the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry has requested a delay in implementation so that the proposed laws could be reviewed. An industry wide Gambling Review Commission, is reviewing all aspects of gambling, with the report is due to be tabled sometime in 2010 with anticipated debate insuring another wait before both levels of the parliament make conclusions and vote on changes. Online gambling has the potential to be a revenue generator for the government. Should the government decide to regulate and licence online gambling, the National Gambling Board has considered issuing only 10 licences. Gambling operators would be required to prove they have a physical presence in South Africa and their financial transactions would have to be located within the country's borders. Maseti explained there have been a number applications for licences in South Africa and with delay after delay the concerned companies are getting frustrated. Maseti said, “They can't wait forever.” The government is dithering and in the mean time with an absence of clear responsible rules laid out punters are basically just doing whatever they want.










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