South African Parliament to Again Review Online GamblingPublished January 18, 2015 by Arthur M
The legality of online gambling in South Africa is due to be brought before Parliament one more time this year
The road to legalising online gambling in South Africa has been a long one, but the revised Remote Gambling Bill is due to be put before Parliament in February.
The Story So Far
Online gambling in South Africa is highly restricted, with casino, Poker and Bingo wagers illegal. Even playing at casinos using servers outside the country could lead to a R10 million fine and 10 years in prison, although sports betting is permitted to a certain extent. Several Bills, and court decisions have aimed to change this situation, but entrenched interests from the land-based casino operators, and anti-money laundering agencies have led to the current situation.
The Next Steps
The Remote Gambling Bill is being re-gazetted to Parliament by Geordin Hill-Lewis, shadow minister of trade and industry for the Democratic Alliance. Having previously treid to get the Bill through as a private members bill, Hill-Lewis is more hopeful that it will succeed this time around, even though online gambling is not regarded as a priority for the South African government.
Under South African procedures, the bill will move from Parliament to the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry, which will force the issue to at least be debated. Due to some amendments to how the bill is intended to work, Hill-Lewis is more confident that this time around it will pass.
''This time, we are proposing to split the licensing responsibility between the provinces and the National Gambling Board.'' This would keep overall responsibility at a national level, but allow each province within South Africa to decide whether or not to issue remote gambling licenses.
The changes are also designed to ensure compliance with existing legislation, namely the Financial Intelligence Centre Act which covers fraud and money laundering activities.
With the potential of millions in extra revenue for the government if the act is passed, Hill-Lewis is sure that all parties will benefit from the changes.