SOUTH AFRICAN CASINO OWNERS STILL INSIST THAT ONLINE GAMBLING IS A THREAT
Despite government bans on online gambling, land casino owners continue to see it as a threat.
The latest annual report of the Casino Association of South Africa, a trade association for most of the country's land casino operators, continues to cite online gambling among its assessment of business threats to its members, despite the national government’s clearly strong opposition to online gambling and the growing enforcement of bans on the vertical.
Despite its perceived obstacles, which include online gambling, an underperforming national economy, the license approval of an additional land casino, the introduction of electronic bingo terminals, and government constraints on liquor and gambling advertising, the land industry continued to prosper over the last year, with CASA chief Jabu Mabuza reporting:
* GGR up 6.7 percent at SA Rands 18.2 billion (almost US$1.4 billion);
* Tax contributions to government of SA Rands 4.9 billion – 27 percent of operators' revenue;
* Gauteng, the most populous province, led the market with SA Rands 7.5 billion in GGR from seven land casinos;
* Marginally fewer gaming tables across the industry but better revenues at SA Rands 3.8 billion;
* Almost 2 percent rise in slot machine population with a consequent revenue improvement of SA Rands 14.3 billion
Mabuza claimed that government has not yet delivered on its promises to more strictly enforce anti-online gambling measures, and estimated that the government is losing out on some SA Rands 140 million in tax as a result of illegal gambling.
Our readers will recall that tough South African anti-online gambling measures include sanctions and penalties against both operators and players, and Mabuza encouraged government to apply these vigorously.
South African land casino owners clearly remain strongly opposed to online gambling despite international evidence that the genre complements rather than cannibalizes land gambling revenues.
The country's lawmakers have flirted with the concept of online gambling legalization for over a decade but in recent times the ruling African National Council party has turned its face against the vertical and taken a prohibitionist approach rather than a potentially lucrative licensing and regulatory route.