South Africa’s Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry has adopted a shortened version of National Gambling Amendment Bill which will ban online gaming but allow online sports betting.
The Gambling Amendment Bill will centralise the issuing licenses taking it away from local authorities and giving that power to the newly formed National Gambling Board.
Committee Chairperson, Ms Joanmariae Fubbs, said although the Department of Trade and Industry had introduced a comprehensive Bill, the committee had resolved to deal with three technical issues only to address existing governance challenges speedily. These issues were the reconfiguration of the National Gambling Board to the National Gambling Regulator, addressing governance challenges relating to the National Gambling Policy Council and broadening the National Central Electronic Monitoring System.
Ms Fubbs further stated that other more substantive issues, such as horse racing, dog racing, electronic bingo terminals, betting on lottery results and online gaming, have been noted and is being referred for consideration in the sixth Parliament. ”Even though the committee considers these matters to be serious, the time available would not have allowed for an effective interrogation of these matters. 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,” said Ms Fubbs.
The bill, presented by Minister for Trade and Industry Rob Davies in July, no longer covers new controls to allow banks to block payments to offshore iGaming sites, to regulate electronic bingo terminals, or to have the South African National Lotteries Commission regulate lottery betting.
It does though place a ban on greyhound racing and form a self-regulatory body for horse racing.
The government has said it will crackdown on how South Africans are able to play on illegal gambling sites and withdraw any winnings they make from them.
South African casino association Casa has warned that an unregulated online gambling industry remains dangerous.
Casa CEO Themba Ngobese said: “We believe that there are two options available to government – either maintain the status quo with respect to online gambling being illegal, but then take decisive action against illegal operators, or legalise it and subject it to an effective and credible legislative and regulatory dispensation.”