A shortened version of the new South African National Gambling Amendment Bill has been approved by the country's Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry.
Unfortunately, the new piece of legislation will still impose a ban on online gaming, although wagering on sports online will be allowed.
Resolving Certain Issues
Also, the new Bill will allow the creation of the National Gambling Board, whose task will be to issue gaming licenses. Until now, this was done by local authorities.
The Chairperson of the Committee, Joanmariae Fubbs, stated this body had to address three technical issues, before the Bill introduced by the Department of Trade and Industry, could be given the green light.
According to Fubbs, these issues are the recomposition of the National Gambling Board, as well as certain challenges related to the governance of the National Gambling Policy Council, and the expansion of the National Central Electronic Monitoring System.
She also pointed out that certain items, such as horse racing, dog racing, electronic bingo terminals, betting on lottery results and online gaming, were still under consideration in the Parliament.
Commenting on the Committee's decision, she said that Even though the committee considered these matters to be serious, the time available hadn't allowed for an effective interrogation of matters in question.
Unregulated Online Gambling – a Big Problem
Fubbs stated that had been the reason why the committee was of the view that these amendments would pave the way for more comprehensive and holistic amendments to the gambling regulatory framework.
The bill was presented in July by Minister for Trade and Industry Rob Davies, and interestingly enough, it doesn't cover a number of topics, such as controls that allow banks to block payments to online gaming sites operating offshore, the regulation of electronic bingo terminals and lottery betting.
However, the new Bill will ban greyhound racing and will form a new self-regulatory agency, tasked with overseeing horse racing.
South African casino association Casa has repeated on several occasions that unregulated iGambling industry remains a huge problem. Themba Ngobese, Chief Executive Officer at Casa said the organisation believed that there were two options available to government – either to maintain the status quo with respect to online gambling being illegal, but then take decisive action against illegal operators or legalise it and subject it to an effective and credible legislative and regulatory dispensation.