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South African gambling bill stalls
The South African draft National Gambling Amendment Bill appears to be going nowhere for the time being.
On Wednesday the Casino Association of South Africa (CASA), which represents land-based casinos in the country, urged further research and consultation in regard to the gambling bill.
The bill would legalize and regulate online gambling in South Africa. Currently the industry is banned while the nation works on legislation and standards to subject it to.
The National Assembly is holding public hearings on the bill and CASA has voiced support in principle for the legislation. There are still some problems with the bill. CASA chairman Jabu Mabuza has publicly stated that the advantages of legalizing interactive gambling must outweigh the disadvantages.
Mabuza wants to see that new online gambling operators are subject to the same requirements as the existing bricks-and-mortar gambling industry in South Africa. Those requirements cover regulation, taxation, empowerment, probity, financial credibility, skills development, measures to prevent underage gambling and the promotion of responsible gaming.
The politicians themselves have reservations about the bill. Several MPs have spoken against it but none were more vocal than Ben Turok, who said the only reason to legislate online gambling would be to abolish it or curb it.
Supporters of the bill have argued it isn't meant to encourage online gambling but to regulate it.
According to Mabuza some of the key issues that needed more clarification and research pertain to:
- Personal licenses
- Equal access to communications platforms
- Duplication of inspections
- Establishing guarantees to cover debts to players
Because of these and other concerns CASA believes the bill should be given another look and potentially reworked.
If the bill is passed it would make South Africa one of the few countries to legally permit and regulate online gambling.