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South Africa Plans to Implement Fresh Gambling Industry Restrictions

The South African Minister of Trade and Industry introduced last Friday a bill aiming to implement significant restrictions to both the country’s regulated and unregulated gambling markets, local news outlets report.

The bill has been in the making since 2016 and several versions have previously been discussed before its introduction last week. If adopted, the legislative piece, titled the National Gambling Amendment Bill, will add reforms that will have a far-reaching consequences for different segments in the industry.

Under the newly introduced bill, a new regulatory body will replace the National Gambling Board. The National Gambling Regulator will be assigned the task to oversee the nation’s gambling industry. A newly established National Lotteries Commission will be responsible for the regulation and monitoring of betting on national lottery, foreign lottery, and sports pools products.

The legislation, sponsored by South African Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies, will further place a ban on dog racing and betting on dog racing in the country. In addition, the country’s horse racing industry will be overseen by an independent regulatory body.

Pending Reforms in the Land-Based Casino Sector

The National Gambling Amendment Bill also includes provisions concerned with the regulation of the country’s brick-and-mortar casino and gaming machines sectors. The piece of legislation aims to introduce stricter controls in the regulation of casino facilities, the regulation of electronic forms of bingo, and changes in the maximum of bingo and gaming machine licenses that can be issued by local regulators.

The number of gambling facilities and automated teller locations will, too, be restricted, if the new gambling legislation survives all pending legislative hurdles. Provisions include curbs on “separate” and “hidden” entrances for gambling floors inside shopping malls, arcades, and other places easily accessed by the general public.

The promotion and advertising of gambling products and services will, too, be targeted by the new reforms. In addition, it became known that the National Gambling Regulator, once created under the new regime, will be authorized to forfeit unlawfully obtained gambling winnings.

Similarly to other African countries, gambling services are particularly popular with South African population. Young males represent the largest gambling group in the nation, just as in other countries across the continent.

While online sports betting is legal in South Africa, the provision of online casino games and poker are still prohibited. However, the widespread penetration of smartphones and the easy access to the Internet have made it easy for unregulated companies to target players from the country. Aside from the provision of online casinos services, engaging in activities of this type is, too, considered illegal in South Africa. As mentioned above, violators will have their winnings forfeited by the new regulator that is to be created under the proposed amendments to the gambling law.

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