South Africa – The Long Road To Regulating Remote Gambling

south-africa-gamblingIt has taken a long time to get this off the ground, but apparently South Africa’s Parliament will be taking a look at a revised bill for legalizing remote gambling in this country. D-Day is sometime in February 2015, when a review, revival and expansion of this industry will go to the powers that be. Geordin Hill Lewis was due to examine this bill in late 2014, but corruption allegations around the National Gambling Board put a stop to the review.

Hill Lewis is a Democratic Alliance Member of Parliament, and is relatively optimistic that the revision of his bill will be viewed favorably. At the moment only sports betting is allowed to take place online, but if this bill is approved than the range of gaming available could expand, and South Africa can move forward into the 21st Century.

This market will have to be strictly monitored and regulated to comply with exchange controls, and to ensure no money laundering takes place, however, Hill Lewis believes it is high time that the government engages with this argument seriously. So far any engagement has not been considered important, and the bill has only been looked at superficially. This is a complicated policy that requires 100% support.

Illegal South African players are apparently being tracked by CASA (Casino Association of South Africa), according to their CEO – ThembaNgobese. There is great concern that the growth in operations as well as use of remote, unregulated gambling facilities might become a problem. At this point in time there is no protection for these players, and unsuspecting gamers are being targeted by unscrupulous operators.

Poker, bingo, slots, and other monetized casino games are highly restricted, however land gambling operations are available throughout South Africa. Presently when a server is used that is outside of South African borders, up to a R10 million fine as well as 10 years in prison can be imposed. There are definitely entrenched interests at risk where live gambling operations oppose the online form of this gaming. Then there is a certain amount of paranoia amongst Government officials who feel that gambling online might provide a conduit for illegal money laundering.

The Casino Association recently launched a new campaign pointing to the dangers of gambling illegally online. They represent thirty-five of the thirty-six casinos in this country comprised of Tsogo Sun, Peermont Global, Sun International, and London Clubs International, where most casinos are affiliated to resorts.