It’s been just over a month since the South African government introduced its new Gambling Amendment Bill and it still continues to come under fire from several experts who are currently in the process of analysing the finer details of all 49 pages of it.
One of its strongest opponents is well-known gaming attorney, Garron Whitesman who didn’t hold back in his criticism, labelling the bill as “flawed”, “unrealistic” and “full of nonsensical policies”.
The new bill was tabled by Dr.Rob Davies, South Africa’s Minister of Trade and Industry, and includes a set of harsh regulations which aim to monitor all forms of gambling within the country.
These are just some of the main points listed in the Amendment BIll :
- The National Gambling Board is now the South Africa’s main gambling regulator
- Regulation for bets on lotteries, both national and foreign, and sports pools, falls under the National Lotteries Commission
- The local government will impose severe penalties in cases of Illegal gambling thanks to its new efforts to clamp down on these activities.
- Any gambling winnings acquired in unlawful ways will be forfeited to the National Gambling Regulator
- The sport of dog racing is now illegal as are any bets made on it
- The NGR will continue to oversee all horse racing activities
- When it comes to casinos, bingo and limited payout machines, harsher laws will be implemented
- There will only be a limited number of licensed bingo machines allowed
- Gambling operators will be made to abide by new advertising restrictions.
- If operators fail to meet the new standards set by authorities, licenses may be suspended or withdrawn completely
According to PlayCasino’s article, the bill has been met with strong controversy over the past month. Online gambling will also be affected since the bill restricts South African players’ ability to access certain products unless they are provided by a handful of operators who possess adequate local licensing,
Restrictions and penalties are also extended to financial institutions who are found processing payments for illegal gambling activities according to the new regulations.
Despite it’s good intentions, Whitesman, who is based in Cape Town, believes 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.”
He went on to state that the probability of the bill being passed as law would also lead to more changes 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,”
The draft proposal has been in the works since 2016, but Whitesman also highlighted the various “unknowns” which could arise if the bill is indeed passed into law, such as the challenges and court cases brought about by operators who would be affected by such changes.