Gambling Legalization in South Africa

The South African Parliament’s trade and industry committee discussed the pros and cons of internet gambling and the impact it has on its citizens. On Friday 2 March the last public hearing was held. The Business Day reported that before internet gambling is legalized in the country problem areas like the prevention of money laundering, under age gambling and illegal gambling establishments needs to be addressed first.

Current legislation prohibits internet gambling and poker sites. According to a recent court ruling South African citizens are not allowed to wager at foreign based sites. The gambling review commission proposed that internet gambling must be regulated and taxed. Hence the reason why the trade and industry committee is exploring all avenues on how its going to impose proper regulation and when.

Joan Fubbs committee chairman and Geordin Hill-Lewis said that internet gambling already exists in South Africa. If it’s swept under the carpet it will encourage rogue operators to flourish. Hill-Lewis also pointed out that it would be in the government’s best interest to legalize it since the economic benefits far out ways the cons.

SA Government Calls For Regulation

Pieter Smit of the Financial Intelligence Centre said that it encourages money laundering. He said that it’s easy for operators to transfer funds from one person to another and difficult to trace transactions of this nature. Smit stated that if  it is allowed, at least online betting exchanges and internet poker should be excluded from the menu.

Sites must adhere to strict regulatory measures promulgated by the Financial Intelligence Centre. He also said that the latest technology must be used to identify players and to prohibit unlicensed operators from entering the South African market.

The National Gambling Board representatives did not support the legalization of online gambling. They said that if it is legalized only a few licenses should be issued and it must be properly regulated. For the licenses they proposed a validity of eight years. They stressed that punters must be protected against dodgy operators. Under age and problem gambling must be addressed as well. The Board representatives said that it would be very difficult if not impossible to block unlicensed operators.

The Banking Association of South Africa said that it’s extremely difficult for banks to distinguish between legal and illegal transactions related to internet gambling. Since illicit establishments sometimes use front companies to hide their dodgy dealings.



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