Latest South African Gambling Bill Receives More Negative Feedback

This bill has provoked an outcry from many people, business owners and gamblers alike.

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Online Poker. Aysezgicmeli / Shutterstock.com
Online Poker. Aysezgicmeli / Shutterstock.com

It seems that it is a grim time to operate an online casino in South Africa. With the new laws being installed, all people engaged in the online casino industry are much more vulnerable before the authorities that they used to be.

The new bill contains 49 pages and is still analyzed by the experts. Judging from the data they are able to share now, this law wreaks havoc on all types of gambling activities.

Online gambling is one of the most affected fields of business. Read more to know what are the new criticisms of the bill and how it affects your life as a gambler.

The situation before the bill

Gambling was already a controversial topic in South Africa before this bill was introduced. As many world governments, South African officials tried to control the gambling business as it deemed to have a negative effect on the population.

It wasn’t the worst country for a gambler, however. South Africa hosts almost 60 legal gambling facilities that include casinos and horseracing tracks.

Casinos are a true wonder of the South African tourism economy. There are whole theme parks and resorts built around them. The number of people who come to gamble on their vacation is huge.

Betting on sports also has a sizeable share of South Africa’s gambling revenue. This includes betting on horse races or on conventional sports at a licensed bookmaker’s.

Online gambling, however, was outlawed even before the bill. Perhaps the reason it was made illegal to gamble online is the same reason it is illegal to buy lottery tickets of another country.

Online, it is very hard for a government to track what entities are you giving money to, and whether they pay taxes to it. Despite the money you win while gambling is not taxed in South Africa, the authorities would lose a significant amount of money on taxes if you were to pay to, say, a Curacao-based casino.

Despite this fact, online casinos prospered in South Africa, even though they had to register elsewhere. It was quite safe to be a gambler as well, as the government focused mostly on fighting casinos.

What the bill changes

The situation is very different now. The Gambling Amendment Bill that took 2 years to write significantly cuts downs the rights of all players on the gambling market.

The bill introduces a whole series of amendments across the National Amendment Act of 2004. Some of these amendments are exceptionally hard on the participants of the market.

For instance, dog racing is now made illegal, alongside with betting on it. This move, even though deemed an ethical decision by some, leaves a lot of people unemployed.

The Gambling Amendment Bill centralizes the power of issuing licenses. While previously all licenses for casinos and low-payout machines were granted by local authorities, now it is the job of National Gambling Board.

Online casino concept. Maxx-Studio / Shutterstock.com
Online casino concept. Maxx-Studio / Shutterstock.com

The number of licenses is going to decrease, leaving many people out of business and other competing for the remaining licenses. The amount of harsh regulations on casinos and other gambling business is going to increase significantly.

Those companies that do not conform to the new norms will be punished or even get their gambling license withdrawn.

One of the decisions this bill undertakes that can harm your gambling is harsher punishments for online gambling as a part of the broader policy of cracking down on illegal gambling.

The government will now go out of its way to make it harder for South Africans to reach gambling sites online. Revenue obtained through illegal gambling is to be confiscated.

Earlier this year South African authorities confiscated over R1 million from different people. The reason for confiscation was that this money was tied to online gambling.

The recent criticisms of the bill

This bill has provoked an outcry from many people, business owners and gamblers alike. Many prominent South African attorneys remain critical of the bill as well.

Garron Whitesman, an attorney who specializes in gambling, named the bill unrealistic. He comments that it is significantly flawed and is full of nonsensical policies.

Whitesman also says that the single most affected branch of the industry is not going to be big businesses. It is the small bookmakers that resell lottery tickets who will take the biggest hit, many of them going out of business.

Many people in the higher ranks of the gambling industry will be able, the attorney points out, to try to sue for the losses they are going to suffer if the bill is passed.

The average Joe, however, if stripped of a license, will not be able to defend himself.

Stay in tune to get new updates on the issue.

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