Saturday August 3,2013 : SOUTH AFRICA TO TIGHTEN ANTI-PROBLEM GAMBLING MEASURES
Online gambling seen as a cause for concern
The South African government's Trade and Industry Minister, Rob Davies intends to submit proposals to tighten the laws governing the gambling industry.
The proposals include measures to guard against problem gambling that include tightening legalization and reviewing advertising guidelines. Steps to ensure the proper funding and coordination of education and awareness programmes on problem gambling, and a central exclusion registry are also mooted.
Legal gambling in South Africa is largely confined to the land industry, although some online sports betting is permitted.
The legalization of online gambling in the country has been dragging on for over a decade, despite political overseas fact-finding missions and extensive research and reviews, but Minister Davies now apparently wants to see a single national regulator overseeing online gambling, betting exchanges, the national lottery and sports pools.
That suggests that there is a possibility that some sort of online gambling legalization, regulation and licensing may finally be emerging.
Zodwa Ntuli, the deputy director-general for corporate and consumer regulation at the Department of Trade and Industry, said the government regarded problem gambling as "a serious matter".
Ntuli said online gambling was a concern and was "unlikely to disappear" as it was driven by constantly improved technology.
Timeslive reports that according to the National Responsible Gambling Programme, 326,000 calls from potential problem gamblers were logged between 1999 and February this year.
About 15,000 callers had been referred for free treatment (100 a month on average) and 128 had received in-patient treatment for pathological gambling.
Nana Magomola, executive director of the National Responsible Gambling Programme, said that the incidence of pathological gambling was about 1 percent of the population.
The South African legal gambling industry currently generates almost Rands 258-billion a year.