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South Africa opposition introduces remote gambling bill

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In South Africa the Democratic Alliance (the official opposition party to the African National Congress, or ANC), has brought forward a bill to regulate online gambling.

In South Africa, the Remote Gambling Bill B11-2024 lays out many rules. This includes a proposed licensing system for operators, as well as protection measures that help to prevent harm related to gambling.

South Africa has no regulation for online gambling despite having a bill on the table from 2008. President Zuma signed the National Gambling Amendment Act 16 years ago, which regulates online gambling. The bill has not been signed.

The Democratic Alliance claims that by introducing this new bill it will close a legal gap within the gaming industry. It took the party two years to create the bill, which strikes the perfect balance between regulation, protection and administration.

The Democratic Alliance stated that “by not regulating these gambling activities, criminal activity and the erosion of rule of law are encouraged while the public’s protection is less effective than when they use land-based casino operations.”

The lack of regulations is also causing revenue in the billions and job losses to other jurisdictions.

The ANC has demonstrated over the past 16 years that they have no intention to protect players or industry against criminal elements. This is why we have taken the initiative to introduce this Private Member’s Bill in order to provide adequate protection.

What is the Remote Gambling Bill?

The bill outlines three different types of licenses. The bill includes a licence for a remote gaming operator, as well as a licence to manufacture, provide maintenance, and hire employees.

You can send all license applications to the provincial licensing authorities. The National Gambling Board has the final word on licensing. The provincial authorities will support the National Gambling Board by monitoring activities and taking actions against any illegal operations.

All parties will have access to licences, even those that already possess other gambling licenses in South Africa. Before any decisions are made, all applications will undergo a thorough review.

In the bill, it is also noted that licenses may be suspended or withdrawn in cases where holders violate their licensing requirements. The holder can request to transfer or surrender the licence. These requests are at the Board’s discretion.

The cost of licences was not disclosed. Tax rates on online gambling were not mentioned in the bill.

In terms of other regulations, South Africa’s remote gambling laws will only allow those 18 years or older to play.

Operators will not be allowed to offer credit to their players. Consumers can opt-out of gambling through a self exclusion program. Licensees must also offer other tools for responsible gambling, such as deposit limits.

The advertising industry would be subject to a set of strict rules. Online gambling ads must be truthful and include messages about responsible gambling.

How likely is the bill to pass?

The ANC is the dominant political force in South Africa since the 1994 end to apartheid. The ANC is in charge of the National Legislature and eight out of nine provinces. Western Cape is under the Democratic Alliance.

The situation may change, however, during the forthcoming national and province elections scheduled for 29 May.

According to polls, the ANC may fall under the 50% threshold. This means that it won’t hold a majority at parliament. It will not be able pass legislation or refuse it at will. The new Remote Gambling Bill could be more likely to pass.

The Democratic Alliance stated that bills such as the Remote Gambling Act are crucial to protecting the most vulnerable. The ANC is below 50% so we know that this bill will be one of many to save South Africa.

South Africa: Supporting Growth

Caroline Kongwa spoke to iGB earlier this year about the current situation in South Africa. She is the chief strategist for the National Gambling Board.

Kongwa referred to growth opportunities on the South African emerging market. During the interview, she also discussed technology and the management of problem gambling in South Africa.

Click here to view the entire interview.

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