Tuesday July 21,2015 : SOUTH AFRICA PLANS MORE RIGOROUS ENFORCEMENT AGAINST ONLINE GAMBLING
While the politicians continue to apparently endlessly debate the legalization of online gambling, officialdom plans a crackdown.
The issue of online gambling legalization in South Africa – on the table for the past decade – continues to generate media interest as politicians argue for and against regulation and licensing….and the authorities mull ways to curtail the activity.
In the latest development it seems that the National Gambling Board is taking action whilst politicians debate a new legalization bill filed by the official Opposition, the Democratic Alliance.
Speaking at a seminar on internet gambling in Pretoria recently, National Gambling Board manager, Estelle Jonkheid, told delegates that the Board was putting together a multi-disciplinary task force comprised of law enforcement agencies, gambling regulators and existing licence holders.
This task force would “…consider strategies, interventions and actions” against unlicensed operators accessing South African online punters, and then lobby to ensure that these were carried out.
The initiative was predictably welcomed by Casino Association of South Africa chief exec Themba Ngobese, a long-time opponent of online gambling due to his belief that it erodes brick and mortar revenues.
Whilst the ruling ANC government appears to have set its mind against legalization, there are officials who feel it may yet have a place in South African gambling.
One of them is the chair of the government's Trade and Industry Committee, Louise Fubbs, who says the regulation of online gambling would bring more control and safety to the pastime whilst generating additional revenues for government and the funding of problem gambling solutions.
Other advocates for online gambling warn that bricks and mortar executives ignore at their peril the preference of younger demographics for internet-accessed facilities, especially in a nation where traditional land casino clients are ageing and the majority of the population is young.