Gambling Bill to Tighten Regulations in South Africa

A proposed bill in South Africa is set to impose stricter regulations on both of the country’s online and offline gambling industries.

On July 20, Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies published a notice of intention to present in front of the parliament the National Gambling Amendment Bill of 2018. The proposed bill contains a number of omissions and insertions into the country’s National Gambling Act of 2004.

Once passed and enacted, the bill would prohibit operators from organizing and accepting wagers on dog racing. In addition, the responsibility of regulating state and foreign lotteries, including sports pools, would lie in the hands of the Board of the National Lotteries Commission. The suggested bill would also mandate gambling facilities and outlets inside general public places like shopping malls and arcades to construct entrances that are separate from the aforementioned public places.

The gambling amendments continued:

“All participants in the gambling industry must achieve the broad-based black economic empowerment targets in the gambling industry to advance the objectives of the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act of 2003, as contemplated in the said Act. Provincial licensing authorities must impose the broad-based black economic targets as license conditions.”

Moreover, amendments would strengthen the current regulatory policies regarding casinos, limited payout machines, and bingo. The bill would also determine the maximum number of licenses the authorities can hand to bingo operators in the country.

Furthermore, the bill would reposition the current National Gambling Board as a National Gambling Regulator.

Suggested Revisions

The proposed amendments grant South Africa’s gambling regulator more powers to perform its duty. One such power is confiscation and forfeiture of all winnings from illegal gambling operators and games.

The office of the National Gambling Regulator would also be mandated by the bill to inform financial institutions and internet service providers to cease and to avoid business transactions with a gambling operator involved in illegal gambling.

In addition, the bill would prohibit financial institutions to process transactions for illegal gambling and activities banned by the Financial Intelligence Centre Act of 2001. An inspector for South Africa’s national inspectorate would be given permission to investigate illegal gambling activities in the region.

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Online Gambling Still Banned

The proposed amendments by the Minister of Trade and Industry does not include anything regarding online gambling, meaning that the sector will remain banned from South African citizens.

There was once a bill proposed to legalize online gambling in 2008, but lobbying from land-based casinos ensured that the bill from a decade ago would not be legislated.

Caroline Kongwa, part of National Gambling Board, said last 2017:

“The public is hereby cautioned to be wary of online gambling offerings, as online gambling is illegal in South Africa, and thus anyone participating in any illegal online gambling activity would be unable to receive any winnings and would expose themselves to criminal prosecution.”

She warned South Africans that citizens caught by authorities engaging in illegal gambling activities can face criminal charges or a heavy penalty that can reach as much as ZAR10 million. In that same year, a number of bettors in Cape Town received an order from the local courts to pay a fine of ZAF1 million because of illegal gambling.

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