South Africa’s opposition party proposes remote gambling bill

Lea Hogg 1 month ago
South Africa’s opposition party proposes remote gambling bill

South Africa’s primary opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), has taken a significant step towards regulating online gaming. After over two years of meticulous drafting and expert consultations, the DA has formally introduced the Remote Gambling Bill of 2024 to Parliament. The bill is championed by MP Dean Macpherson, the DA’s Shadow Minister of Trade, Industry, and Competition.

The DA’s initiative is a response to the African National Congress (ANC)’s significant oversight in failing to provide adequate protection and regulation within the online gambling industry. The ANC, South Africa’s ruling party, has left a legal gap in the industry, as the National Gambling Amendment Act, assented to by the President in 2008 to regulate online gambling, has not yet been implemented.

The lack of regulation is concerning, given the substantial growth and advances in online usage since then. The absence of regulation not only encourages the erosion of the rule of law and criminal activity but also leaves the public unprotected compared to land-based gaming operations. Furthermore, it results in the loss of billions of Rands in revenue and jobs to other gambling jurisdictions.

Bill will also regulate advertising

The Remote Gambling Bill aims to regulate the issuance of licenses, which will be controlled by the relevant provincial authorities instead of the centralized national gambling board. The DA argues that the national gambling board is now merely “a shadow of itself.” The bill will establish procedures to raise objections to licenses, regulate the advertising of interactive and online gambling entities, provide protection for minors and vulnerable persons, and ensure compliance with the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA).

With the upcoming national and provincial elections on 29 May, the ANC is projected to fall significantly below the 50 percent majority mark. This means that in the new Parliament, the ANC will no longer have the majority to reject legislation on frivolous grounds simply because it originates from an opposition party. Bills like the Remote Gambling Bill are crucial to protect the most vulnerable people. With the ANC below 50 percent, the DA can ensure that this will be the first of many bills introduced to rescue South Africa. This development marks a new era in the regulation of online gambling in South Africa.

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