It is nearly a month after the government unveiled its new South African Gambling Amendment Bill, and analysts are still studying the 49 page bill and giving their opinions. Among them is the well-known gaming lawyer, Garron Whitesman who came out strongly against the bill, calling it “flawed” and “unrealistic” and full of “nonsensical policies”.
The new bill, which was tabled by South Africa’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies, in July, sets out a series of harsh rules and regulations to govern gambling in the country.
Among the key points of the Amendment Bill:
• The National Gambling Board becomes the country’s main gambling regulator.
• The National Lotteries Commission assumes regulation of all bets on the national lottery, foreign lotteries, lottery results and sports pools.
• The government seeks to clamp down on illegal gambling.
• Unlawful gambling winnings will be forfeited to the National Gambling Regulator.
• Dog racing (and bets on the sport) becomes illegal.
• Tougher regulations on casinos, limited pay out machines and bingo.
• Plans to limit the number of bingo machines and licenses.
• New restrictions on gambling advertising.
However, after reading the Amendment Bill, the Cape Town based Whitesman said that his view was that the “bill is a complete mess and is based on very flawed, unrealistic and nonsensical policies that have been devised by the Department of Trade and Industry.”
Whitesman said that the believed that there was a good chance that the bill will be passed into law, and more amendments would be added.
“The biggest impact is on those bookmakers offering secondary lottery and betting on the outcome of lotteries type bets,” said the lawyer. “These parties are licensed under provincial gambling legislation by the provincial gambling boards, but the oversight and licensing of such activities is sought under the bill to be transferred to the National Lotteries Commission.”
Whitesman said that there were many “unknowns” when it came to the implementation of the DTI’s bill proposal. He predicted that should the bill become law, many operators who were affected by the changes would take the matter to court to challenge it.