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SOUTH AFRICAN-REGULATED ONLINE GAMBLING STILL A WAY OFF

Thursday June 30, 2011 : Legal experts say it will take up to 2 years to implement a licensing regime
 
Following yesterday's news that the South African Gambling Review Commission has recommended that online wagering be made legal in the country, the local publication ITWeb ran an assessment of the situation Thursday.
 
After years of investigations and parliamentary and public debate, the government has yet to move decisively on the issue, with the ministry for trade and industry commenting that internet gambling remains illegal until the appropriate legislation is agreed upon and promulgated.
 
The Commission has recommended legalisation and the issue or more than 10 licenses to operators, but even assuming that its suggestions are followed by political and legislative action, it could be up to two years before any implementation is completed, say gambling law experts.
 
Physical gambling was legalised in SA in 1996 and has since soared into a multibillion-rand industry, reports ITWeb. Revenue earned by brick-and-mortar outlets doubled between 2001 and 2009.
 
In the year to March 2010, the latest available figures, punters waged Rands 215.8 billion (around GBP 19.63 billion), which earned the state R1.6 billion in taxes.
 
These numbers do not include money wagered online, which is currently illegal after a High Court judgement in Gauteng last year which is currently under appeal by Casino Enterprises in neighbouring Swaziland.
 
Online gambling has the potential to add R110 million to the fiscus every year, as international figures show that Internet-based gaming accounts for about 7 percent of the bricks-and-mortar industry. As much as R15 billion could be bet in the virtual realm annually, ITWeb estimates.
 
The Gambling Review Commission, in its report released yesterday, acknowledges that there is already demand for online gambling, including online poker, online casino games and online betting and wagering. “The exact extent of the demand has not been accurately established,” it notes.
 
Eighteen months after the latest Commission was established, the process does not appear to be any further forward, and further delays are likely as another round of consultations and public hearings are held before the issue can again be presented to parliament.
 
Trade and industry minister Rob Davies said yesterday, “It's not tomorrow or the next day, it is going to take a period of time, but it's essential to do this.”
 
Four years ago it looked as if online gambling would be legalised, opening the door for South Africa to become a licensing jurisdiction and creating both income and jobs.
 
The legislation was approved in 2007 but no licenses issued and when regulations were framed and submitted two years later the Parliamentary Trade and Industry Portfolio Committee had objections, stalling the process although familiarisation and fact finding missions to jurisdictions like Antigua continued.
 
The Gambling Review Commission's report notes that government's approach to online gambling is at present fragmentary, saying that there are certain categories of operator who can offer internet gambling under current law, including totes, and that some unlicensed operators advertise, creating an impression that the pastime is presently legal. This inconsistent approach requires urgent attention in the Commission's opinion.
 
Other findings by the Commission include:
 
* Internet gambling is by its very nature hard to regulate and control, and South Africans have access to offshore operators
 
* In a world driven by technology, online gambling is unlikely to disappear
 
* Jurisdictions like the US and Australia are reviewing their prohibitionary stances on internet gambling
 
* Prohibition does little to extinguish demand, creating instead opportunities for unsavoury operators to thrive
 
* As recommended in the 2007 review, more than ten licenses should be issued, thus catering for legal tote and bookies already operating
 
* The level of taxation will be influential in persuading operators to license in South Africa
 
* Strict enforcement against unlicensed operators, and in particular their access to advertising opportunities, will be important
 
Challenges unique to South Africa should an internet gambling regulatory jurisdiction eventually emerge will include national laws on affirmative action, the national government's commitment to job creation and Black Empowerment requirements.

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Gambling News :

Interwetten 2016 Earnings Results - Privately-owned online sports betting operator Interwetten delivered robust full year results for the 2016 fiscal period, in which the company has almost achieved doubling its revenues over the past four years, success it attributes to its in-house developed platform

EU Online Gambling Tax Harmoney Dead - Tax expert says European Court of Justice Attorney General's opinion on UK-Gibraltar litigation signals that EU courts are happy for individual member states to impose their own laws on online gambling.

Jack Lam Facing Big Fines in the Philippines - It's going to be costly for Macau online gambling and junket tycoon Jack Lam to return to the Philippines following his rather hurried departure last year with allegations of economic sabotage, bribery and tax evasion swirling around him.

Walter Merricks Term As Gambing Commissioner Extended - The UK Government has extended Walter Merricks’ term as Commissioner of the Gambling Commission for a further year, ending December 31, 2017.

Loot’enKhamun Pays $3.8 Million Jackpot - A London-based construction worker’s year got off to a great start when he hit the Loot’enKhamun jackpot at bwin casino.

PlaySugarHouse To Carry Konami Content - Content provider Konami will provide its Gypsy Fire and Fortune Stacks slot games to Rush Street Interactive-operated PlaySugarHouse.com on an exclusive basis in the New Jersey real-money online and mobile wagering market.

ITF TERMINATES BETWAY SPONSORSHIP DEAL - The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has reportedly terminated Betway’s three-year sponsorship partnership as an extension to their anti-match fixing and sports integrity policy.

GSA To Launch European division - The expansion enables the GSA to better focus on the regional needs of its members outside of North America and underscores its recognition and commitment to growing European membership.

Paddy Power Trading Update - Company prevails despite adverse sports and US election results; Trump success cost the group GBP 5 million, whilst punter successes took another GBP 40 million in Q4-2016.

Tabcorp SunBets project - The details were revealed this week in an IT News article quoting Tabcorp's chief information officer, Kim Wenn, who described the SunBets project as Tabcorp's biggest global venture yet.

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