South Africa’s gambling industry has taken a lot of heat this month after Rob Davies, the trade and industry minister decided to increase the number of land based casino licenses in the country. The number of licenses was capped at 40 in the country but Davies decided to make an exception by awarding the North West an extra casino license.
Now the Limpopo Gambling Board has announced that it has decided to approve two new online gambling licenses to the Musina and Senwabarana towns. The gambling operator issued two bingo licenses to gambling operators in an effort to create more jobs for the community and give the local economy a much needed boost.
The provincial licensing board has plans to issue a total of seven online gambling licenses. The two licenses that were issued were given to operators who intend to operate in areas where there is hardly any gambling facilities or casinos in the region.
In a statement, Serobi Maja, the chief executive of the Limpopo Gambling Board said “The introduction of two Bingo gambling facilities will help boost revenue and create further jobs.”
The South African government has considered the possibility of lifting the restriction it has on the online gambling industry and opening up the market to new online gambling providers. Freedom Party MP Jan Esterhuizen has pushed for the government to increase the number of online gambling licenses stating that the industry would create hundreds of jobs and provide significant gambling tax returns for the local government.
Esterhuizen also highlighted the fact that there were a large number of illegal gambling websites offering their services in South Africa even though they were aware of the stiff penalties attached to illegal gambling. South African law requires any gambling operator or individual found guilty of illegal gambling to face up to 10 years in prison. They will also be required to pay funds amounting to R10 million ($6.3 million). The South African National Assembly has not accepted this proposal as legislators believe that the industry could cause more harm than good.
Davies decision to increase the number of brick and mortar casinos to 41 has angered a number of land based casinos as the cap was fixed based on a number of surveys which stated anymore than 40 casinos would saturate the market and also increase the chances of problem gambling.
Online gambling operators might use this exception to push for additional gambling licenses in South Africa.