South African Parliament Told Legislative Reform Required For Online Gambling

February 23, 2024
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The South African National Gambling Board has told parliament there is a need to reform gambling laws, in particular around online gambling.
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The South African National Gambling Board (NGB) has told parliament there is a need to reform gambling laws, in particular around online gambling.

The NGB briefed the Committee on Trade, Industry and Competition on Wednesday (February 21), providing an overview of its second-quarter performance for the 2023/24 financial year.

During the briefing, the committee noted that the NGB warned that “legislative reforms are required for, amongst others, online gambling, which is illegal in South Africa but is still rife”, according to a statement from parliament.

Another concern noted by the committee is the fact that the Gambling Policy Committee, which was established under the National Gambling Act, has not met since 2018.

The minister of trade and industry is the chairperson of the gambling committee council meetings and has the right to call a meeting of the council at any time, but "must convene at least two meetings in a financial year", according to the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition.

Committee chair Judy Hermans said she will request that the minister (of trade, industry and competition) "urgently convene a meeting of that [gambling policy] committee.”

The NGB also told parliament that gross gaming revenue (GGR) amounted to R28.2bn (€1.36bn) during the 2023/24 financial year, with 59 percent of GGR generated by betting and 30.5 percent generated by casinos.

Out of the provincial licensing authorities, the Western Cape and Gauteng accounted for the largest share of GGR; however, Gauteng did see its share drop “significantly”, while Mpumalanga’s share increased from 13.8 percent in the previous year to 20.8 percent, according to the press release.

Hermans added that the committee is pleased with the NGB’s overall performance after it passed its eighth audit in a row without any issues.

Online gambling in South Africa is prohibited, but online betting licences are available and are issued by the nine different provincial lottery authorities (PLAs). Live dealer casino games are also permitted in the Western Cape and Mpumalanga.

In September 2022, the Democratic Alliance (DA), the country’s second-largest political group, invited stakeholders to comment on the draft Remote Gambling Bill following its publication in the Government Gazette.

However, there has been no major update on the bill since then.

Caroline Kongwa, the chief strategic advisor for the NGB, told Vixio at SBC Barcelona on September 21, 2023 that the gambling industry is currently “waiting for a final draft” and dismissed the notion that the bill is dead.

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