South Africa to Clamp Down on Illegal Online Gambling

Published July 22, 2015 by Lee R

South Africa to Clamp Down on Illegal Online Gambling

Licensing could be widened in South Africa as a result of a task force set to battle illegal online gambling in the country.

In a region where online gambling laws remain complicated and nebulous, a task force has been created to tackle illegal gambling in South Africa.

Current Conditions

South Africa's National Gambling Act of 2008 permits online gambling solely with an operator licensed by the country's Department for Trade and Industry (DTI).

Land-based casinos responded by launching a legal challenge to the Act, whose outcome is still pending. At this point, no online casino or online poker licenses have been issued, and the only legal online action now taking place in South Africa is through a limited number of licensed sports books.

The nebulous nature of the situation only increases with the stance of DTI Chief Director of Policy and Legislation MacDonald Netshitenzhe, who believes that gambling is immoral and is unwilling to issue any further licenses due to the negative social consequences.

Online Gambling Now

Nonetheless, as is the case in so many unregulated regions, online gambling continues to thrive in South Africa, albeit predominantly in an illegal form.

If the activity were brought under the wing of government regulation, the DTI estimates that the taxation and license fees could generate up to R110 million each year in tax revenues.

Netshitenzhe ignores the impact that government could have on reducing illegal activity and addiction if regulated, instead focusing his dissatisfaction on the National Gambling Board's policing of the extant gambling sector in its current predominantly illegal form online.

The Task Force

National Gambling Senior Manager Estelle Jonkheid announced the new multi-disciplinary task force at a Pretoria seminar to raise awareness about illegal online gambling.

Law enforcement agencies, gambling regulators, and existing license holders will combine forces in South Africa to “consider strategies, interventions and actions” against unlicensed operators, of which Ms Jonkheid estimates as many as 2,000 in South Africa alone, with 250,000 South Africans thought to be playing.

Legal Models Exist

Not all online casinos are illegal: the task force would do well to heed the model of an online South African casino such as Yebo Casino, where players in South Africa are safely playing online games of chance on a regular basis already.



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