Department of Trade and Industry (dti) has published its national gambling
policy review, proposing a major overhaul of industry regulations and
the introduction of new controls to stamp out unlicensed online gambling.
It argues in favour of
restructuring the National Gambling Board (NGB) as a strategic
trading entity of the dti, creating the National Gambling Regulator (NGR).
The NGR would be
responsible for regulatory oversight, policy coordination, research,
education and awareness. It would also be tasked with developing and
implementing measures to combat illegal gambling, operating the Central
Electronic Monitoring System (CEMS), and helping to combat problem gambling by
providing treatment for those in need.
programme will be funded by the industry through a levy, the rate of which
has yet to be determined.
The dti also proposes
that Limited pay-out machines (LPMs) be licensed by the NGR to ensure effective
national regulation, rather than remaining the preserve of provincial
governments. And while a review of stakes and betting limits for these machines
was also discussed, further developments on the issue are to be brought up at a
A national framework
to regulate electronic bingo terminals (EBTs) should also be devised, the
dti said, including limits on the overall number of bingo licences and seats,
and operating times. Venues hosting the terminals would also be required to
have separate entrances from public spaces such as malls.
With regard to betting
on horse racing, the dti recommends that the current self-regulatory model be
recognised under new legislation, with future assessment of the system to
determine whether the self-regulatory model should continue or be
replaced by a national framework.
“At this point a case
for full regulation [of horse race betting] has not been made in the various
consultative processes and the industry seems to have its processes in order,”
the dti said. “However, based on the challenges raised around failure to
recognise certain stakeholders, entrenched barriers to entry, proper governance
and fair play imperatives, limited oversight by the state is recommended.”
The dti has also
proposed measures to combat illegal gambling, such as the tightening of
'unlawful winnings' provisions to eliminate the
need for forfeiture orders from the South African High Court
before unlawful winnings can be seized. Unlawful winnings that have been seized
would automatically be forfeited to the NGR and used to
finance responsible gambling programmes.
illegal online gambling should also be strengthened by giving the regulator
powers to block unlicensed gaming sites, said the dti. This should be
achieved without the need to involve the country’s police, it added,
although education and training of police and prosecutors should be
improved to ensure that cases are successfully prosecuted.
While introducing a
range of new controls, the review also acknowledges the significant
contribution made by the gambling industry to South Africa’s economy in
terms of taxes and jobs. Despite this, no new form of gambling will be allowed.
“The capacity to
regulate online gambling currently is not adequate, but can be streamlined to
prevent illegal operations,” the dti noted. “Provisions must be included to
prohibit illegal winnings, with amendments to prohibit Internet Service
Providers, banks and other payment facilitators from facilitating illegal
gambling, transferring, paying or facilitating payment of illegal winnings to
persons in South Africa.
“The prohibition will
require the NGR to be vigilant in terms of alerting the institutions above of
such illegal operators,” it says. “If the notification by NGR is not
implemented the affected institution or facilitating body should be criminally
liable in terms of the act.”
The dti believes that
the policy harmonisation must be emphasised to ensure provinces amend their
legislation to complement its new policy stance, with provincial governments
urged to work closely with municipalities to achieve this.
are to be accepted into the final National Gambling Policy Document to be
discussed by the South African Cabinet, and ultimately passed into law via
publication in the Government Gazette.