It has been a lengthy and complicated road so far, for South Africa’s online betting. It was supposed to get legalised in September 2014, but took a back sit due to corruption allegation involving the National Gambling Board, the authority that is responsible for South Africa’s gambling industry. The due bill was suspended by the Government till the investigations got over.
The Present Scenario
Gambling of all sorts such as bingo, casino and poker is restricted in South Africa. Playing in a casino with a foreign based server can also lead to dangerous consequences such as 10 years imprisonment and up to R10 million in fines.
Although sports betting is legal in certain provinces, it has its complications too. There have been many endeavours in correcting the sorry state of affairs involving the online betting scene. But a strong resistance has been put up from land-based casino owners and compliance agencies.
The Present Version of The Bill
Geordin Hill-Lewis, Minister, Trade and Industry from the Democratic Alliance has re-gazetted the Remote Gambling bill and is very hopeful that this time the bill will be passed with an overwhelming majority.
It should be noted that the Minister tried to push the same as private member’s bill late last year, but couldn’t see it through. This time the ministry is confident that the bill will see daylight even though it is not one of the priority issues for the South African government at the moment.
The Next Step
According to the Parliamentary procedures of South Africa, the bill will now move to the Portfolio Committee of Trade and Industry from the Parliament forcing it to be debated at least. The Ministry says it is sure that positive results are on the cards due to some amendments that were made to the previous bill.
The Changes Made
As part of the amendment, the Bill has been proposed in a way where both the province as well as the National Gambling Board can benefit. This will make sure that the Centre has the final say over any major issue and giving provinces the authority to accept or reject any gambling related issues in their province.
Also, the present bill is in line with the Financial Intelligence Centre Act, which overseas money laundering and fraudulent activities. Sticking to this compliance will make sure that the bill gets an overwhelming nod not only from the ruling party, but also the opposition.