Thursday, November 10, 2011 : Opposition mounts to Gambling Review Commission proposal to ban casino advertising which may be unconstitutional.
The South African government's Department of Trade and Industry parliamentary hearings on the Gambling Review Commission's report on gambling reform, which includes provisions for online gambling legalization, continued this week.
The Commission's suggestion that land casinos are circumventing provisions of the National Gambling Act relating to advertising came under particularly heavy fire, with the Casino Association of South Africa claiming it was "disturbing.”
CASA chairman Jabu Mabuza, opposed the Commission's recommendation that more regulation was needed.
"The remarks in the report relating to casino advertising are disturbing inasmuch as they suggest that licensed casinos are luring the elderly to gamble at licensed venues by providing chips as a component of junket-type packages.… There is no concerted action or any other action for that matter by any casino that attempts to lure the elderly to its facilities with the objective of getting them to gamble," Mabuza stressed.
The gambling executive went on to argue against any further restrictions on casino advertising, and suggested that any attempt to introduce this sort of legalization could be met with legal action as being unconstitutional.
He questioned why the Commission felt that further restrictions were necessary when, on the its own findings, casinos were not primarily responsible for problem gambling or gambling by the poor.
There were also inconsistencies, Mabuza claimed, pointing out that it was not acceptable to his Association that the Commission favoured national lottery advertising, but not casino advertising.
Mabuza said that further restricting the number of slots and tables allowed at land casinos would result in significant job losses and the possible curtailment of the upgrading and expansion of existing facilities, which would impact the generation of gambling tax revenue for provinces.
However, he was supportive of the Commission's recommendation suggesting restrictions on growth in the number of casinos.
On internet gambling, Mabuza said his Association believed that existing [land] casinos should be given preference in bids for licences for online gambling.