The DA’s proposed law to regulate online gambling was rejected in the National Assembly on Thursday.
The “remote gambling bill”, introduced by the DA, was criticised as an attempt to take food away from families. It would increase white-collar crime, one MP argued.
DA MP Geordin Hill-Lewis said the House was making a mistake and would find in time that regulating online gambling was inevitable.
He said the amendments, in 2007, to the National Gambling Act were never enacted, adding to the long history of confusion regarding the rules around online gambling.
“Regulation of the industry is the best way to protect the public,” he argued, as the House deliberated whether to accept a trade and industry committee report rejecting the proposal.
The proposed bill contained ways of protecting the vulnerable and securing revenue currently lost to the fiscus.
The lone voice of support came from the IFP MP Jan Esterhuizen, who said there were at least 2 000 illegal gambling operators and it made sense to legalise them.
“Once regulated it can be better controlled and restricted with appropriate safety measures,” he said.
National Freedom Party MP Shaik Emam however said gambling caused misery for the poorest of the poor.
Wagging a finger at the DA, he accused them of not caring for the poor.
“People’s careers are destroyed as they resort to white collar crime to cover their losses. Children go to bed hungry,” he shouted, to applause from the ANC, which also rejected the bill.