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Knockout Punch for South African Regulation HopesPublished April 16, 2016 by Lee R
Online operators are reminded by a huge African market that you can´t win them all.
South African online gambling regulation hopes took a huge blow last week when the Department of Trade released its final version of South Africa´s National Gambling Policy for 2016.
The Big Blow
Already hosting a prominent land-based casino market, the knockout punch in the policy paper proved to be the statement that “no new forms of gambling will be allowed at this point.” This final blow ended the faint but optimistic glimmer of hope that operators maintained for liberalizing the online gambling market of one of emerging Africa´s strongest economies.
The doubting South African government´s rationale for the objection lay with its contention that online gambling is “not inherently labor intensive,” and thus if legalized would not “produce significant jobs compared to other regulated activities like casinos.” The government also believes it’s important to “protect gambling activities that create jobs from unwarranted competition.” These statements of course clearly favor land-based casinos and the existing land-based market at this point in time.
More Than Poker Online?
The only online play currently permitted in South Africa is online sports betting, with online casino, poker and other verticals still not allowed. While online sports betting is popular, the government reiterated previous concerns about the ability of the country´s infrastructure to take on more gambling activities in a different form, maintaining that “the capacity to regulate online gambling currently is not adequate, but can be streamlined to prevent illegal operations.”
The streamlines then represent the changes in policy suggested for the year, actually seeking to adapt the national infrastructure to block attempts at online gambling more thoroughly. Changes include amending the National Gambling Act to prohibit internet service providers from allowing access to illegal gambling sites. Banks and other financial institutions would be prohibited from processing online gambling payments in kind.
At this point there is not much to say, or speculate on. It is another telling example of the range of policy stances out there in the global environment that online gaming operates within.