The new South African Gambling Amendment Bill is receiving strong criticism from left, right and center. The 49 pages of the bill are still being studied by several analysts after one month of introduction. The bill received a lot of criticism from Garron Whitesman, a revered gaming lawyer who called the billed “flawed,” “unrealistic” and “full of nonsensical policies.”
The bill was introduced by Dr. Rob Davies, the minister of Trade and Industry in South Africa. The new bill comes with a set of severe regulations that will strictly control gambling within the country. The bill will make the National Gambling Board the new regulating authority in the country. Lotteries, both national and foreign and sports pools will now be under the regulation of National Lotteries Commission.
The bill also seeks to clamp down illegal gambling in the country. The National Gambling Regulator will have the power to forfeit the winnings of any gambler who acquired the funds in unlawful ways. Sports betting and dog race wagering will also be considered illegal in the country now. The NGR will oversee gambling in horse racing.
Bingo, limited payout machines, and casinos will not be as lucky. The bill will bring harsh regulations for this sectors, drastically limiting the number of bingo machines and licenses granted. New restrictions will be imposed on gambling advertising. If gambling operators fail to meet the targets set by the authorities, their licenses could be suspended or completely withdrawn.
The new law doesn’t just affect casinos and bingo machines; it will be equally harsh on online gambling activities. It will be a crackdown on online gambling activities and limit users’ access to online products unless they are provided by locally licensed operators. This could severely hurt the prospects of foreign online gambling operators, outlawing their activities.
The past one month has seen some scathing criticism of the law, creating a controversy over the way the government intends to maintain strict control over the country’s gambling industry. The law will even order penalties on financial institutions that process payments for unlicensed gambling activities. Whitesman continued his assault on the bill saying that it is a complete mess and that more changes will be added to the bill before it finally becomes a law.
The gambling bill has been a work in progress for the past two years, and Whitesman believes that there are several “unknowns” in the industry who could be negatively affected by the bill and will eventually seek to challenge it in court.