South African legislators have decided to put controversial issues surrounding gambling – such as South African online gambling – on the back burner, and have opted to adopt a lighter, more streamlined version of the new Gambling Act. The South African government announced the adoption of the National Gambling Amendment Act 2018 this week, which now incorporates just three main issues.
According to a press release put out by Parliament, the Committee on Trade and Industry “had resolved to deal with three technical issues only to address existing governance challenges speedily.”
These issues are:
• The reconfiguration of the National Gambling Board to the National Gambling Regulator.
• Addressing governance challenges relating to the National Gambling Policy Council
• Broadening the National Central Electronic Monitoring System.
Other matters, such as horse racing, dog racing, electronic bingo terminals, betting on lottery results and online gambling will be referred for further consideration to the Sixth Parliament.
The press release quotes committee chair person, Joanmariae Fubbs saying: “Even though the committee considers these matters to be serious, the time available would not have allowed for the effective interrogation of these items. Therefore, the committee is of the view that these amendments, adopted today, will pave the way for more comprehensive and holistic amendments to the gambling regulatory framework.”
A more comprehensive gambling act seeks to impose harsher punishments on online gambling operators that don’t hold a local license and/or that offer online products such as online casino games and online poker, which are not part of the currently permitted pastimes of online sports betting and online race betting.
Although many efforts have been made to introduce a regulated online casino industry in South Africa, those efforts have been thwarted again and again, mainly due to campaigning by the country’s well-established land-based casino industry. Local regulators, however, believe that the legalization and regulation of the online industry is the only way to go since, according the Gauteng Gambling Board, prohibition has clearly failed.
“It might be time to consider regulation of interactive gambling,” said the Board.