Online gambling regulations in SA

Summary: Parliament will conduct public hearings regarding the Gambling Review Commission Report starting mid-October 2011. Interactive gambling operators will not be licensed until this process is exhausted, the DTI explained.

Regulations that address the licensing of online gambling operators were held back to finalise deliberations on the Gambling Review Commission Report, Nkoatse Ernest Mashamaite, deputy director of regulated industries at the Department of Trade and Industry recently told MyBroadband.

The report is with the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee for Trade and Industry, Mashamaite said, for which the committee invited public hearings that will begin mid-October 2011.

Online gambling is illegal in South Africa at the moment, with the National Gambling Board warning that offenders may be fined up to R10 million, receive up to 10 years imprisonment, or both.

Piggs Peak Casino, a gambling site which is licensed in Swaziland, went all the way to the Supreme Court of Appeals in Bloemfontein to have the ban on online gambling lifted in SA, but their appeal was unsuccessful.

“Interactive gambling was unlawful even before the decision of the Supreme Court of Appeal,” Mashamaite said. “What we had were some operators from foreign jurisdictions trying to test our legal system.”

Gambling Review Commission recommendations

In its report, the Gambling Review Commission said that online gambling is here to stay and that government would do well to not take a prohibition stance, but rather regulate online or remote gambling holistically.

Among the recommendations is that the number of interactive gambling licenses currently proposed should be increased from 10. This is to accommodate the inclusion of betting exchanges, online bookmakers, and other intermediaries, the commission stated.

Mashamaite indicated that the report is still open to public comment and that interested parties are welcome to make submissions to the Portfolio Committee.

“There will be nothing about interactive gambling until the Parliamentary process, as far as the report is concerned, have been exhausted.”

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Online gambling regulations in SA