SOUTH AFRICA – Opposition party to introduce Online Gambling Bill

The Democratic Alliance (DA), in opposition in South Africa, has introduced a law to regulate online gambling in the country. Last week, the DA invited any person or organisation to provide comments and recommendations to its explanatory summary of the draft Remote Gambling Bill which will pave the way to regulate and legalise online gambling.

On 10 July 2008, the National Gambling Amendment Act, 2008 was assented to by the President. The purpose of the Amendment Act was to provide for the regulation of interactive gambling. However, to date, the Amendment Act has not been brought into operation by the President and as such, interactive/online gambling is currently not regulated in South Africa. By not regulating this gambling activity, the erosion of the rule of law and criminal activity is being encouraged, while the public is not effectively protected. Concurrently, a lack of regulation is resulting in revenue and jobs being lost to other gambling jurisdictions.

The purpose of the Remote Gambling Bill is to fill the gap in law relating to interactive gambling. The Bill addresses the issues faced by the Amendment Act which is one of the reasons why it was never brought into effect.

The Remote Gambling Bill also aims to provide for, inter alia, the following:

  • Regulating the issuing of licenses to be controlled by the relevant provincial authorities.
  • Provide for procedures relating to objections from issuing of licenses.
  • Regulating advertising of interactive/ online gambling entities.
  • Provide for the protection of minors and vulnerable persons; and
  • Ensure that there is compliance with FICA.

The DA calls on members of the public to provide their comments and recommendations to the proposed Bill within 30 days from date of the published Government Gazette. A final draft Bill will be made available, upon introduction into Parliament, after public comments have been made and considered.

Currently, South African law allows online gambling to be offered by any operator with a licence issued by a provincial authority. However, the country does not have a full legislative framework, as the National Gambling Amendment Act of 2008, intended to properly regulate the vertical gambling sector, never came into force.

Now, though, the Democratic Alliance is set to introduce a bill with many of the same goals as that 2008 act in the National Assembly of Parliament. Dean Macpherson MP – DA Shadow Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, said:

“As such, interactive/online gambling is currently not regulated in South Africa, and by not regulating this gambling activity, criminal activity is being encouraged, while the public is not effectively protected.”


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