Around a month after the South African government launched its new Gambling Amendment Bill, it continues to receive strong criticism from several analysts who are still in the process of going through all 49 pages of it.
One such critic who had no qualms about voicing his opinion is the respected gaming lawyer, Garron Whitesman who labeled it as “flawed”, “unrealistic” as well as being “full of nonsensical policies”.
Tabled by the country’s Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr.Rob Davies, the new bill lists a set of severe regulations which seek to control all forms of gambling within the country.
Here are just a few of the key points included in the Amendment BIll :
- The country’s main gambling regulator is now the National Gambling Board
- When it comes to bets on the national and foreign lotteries, and sports pools, regulation falls under the National Lotteries Commission
- Illegal gambling will be severely penalised by the government’s new efforts to clamp down on such activities.
- The National Gambling Regulator will forfeit any gambling winnings which are acquired in unlawful ways.
- Bets on dog racing, as well as the sport itself, are now illegal
- Horse racing will continue to be allowed with their activities overseen by NGR
- Harsher regulations will come into effect when it comes to casinos, bingo and limited payout machines
- The number of bingo machines and licenses granted will be limited
- Advertising for gambling operators will be subject to new restrictions.
- Licenses may be suspended or withdrawn completely if targets set by the authorities aren’t met by operators
South African gambling news has been full of references to the bill over the past month, which has stirred controversy among many. The new law will also affect online gambling, cracking down on players’ ability to access these products unless they are specifically provided by operators holding a local license. Meanwhile, financial institutions will also be penalised if they are found processing payments for gambling activities which are unlicensed under the the local gambling regulations.
Nevertheless, for all its good intentions, the Cape Town based Whitesman expressed his belief that the “bill is a complete mess and is based on very flawed, unrealistic and nonsensical policies that have been devised by the Department of Trade and Industry.”
The attorney also stated that he expected the bill to be passed as a law with more changes added further down the line:
“The biggest impact is on those bookmakers offering secondary lottery and betting on the outcome of lotteries type bets.These parties are licensed under provincial gambling legislation by the provincial gambling boards, but the oversight and licensing of such activities is sought under the bill to be transferred to the National Lotteries Commission,” he continued.
While the bill has been a work in progress since 2016, Whitesman also referred to the many “unknowns” which surround the implementation of its various proposals, predicting that any operators who would be affected by the changes brought about should the bill be introduced into parliament, would no doubt seek to challenge the matter in court.