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Tighter Regulation of Gambling on the Cards

June 4, 2015

Department of Trade and Industry

The trade and industry department holds the view that existing forms of gambling should be better regulated rather than increasing the number of modes available to gamblers in South Africa.

The department expressed this sentiment while briefing the trade and industry committee on the recently released Draft National Gambling Policy.

The draft policy was published in Government Gazette 38791 in May 2015 for comment.

The document contains the policy proposals designed to review the current gambling sector in South Africa.

Policy proposals deal with regulatory structures and framework, casinos, limited pay out machines, bingo, horseracing and betting, social impact minimisation, enforcement and new forms of gambling.

It is proposed that, should consecutive meetings of the national gambling policy council be hindered by a lack of a quorum, then the trade and industry minister together with MECs in attendance will be able to take binding decisions.

Another proposal is that national and provincial departments should enhance consultation to ensure that national and provincial legislation pertaining to gambling is aligned.

The strategy and mandate of the National Gambling Board also needs to be reviewed. The department also wants the board to transform into the National Gambling Regulator.

The policy also calls for the entrances of casinos to be kept separate from other entrances of surrounding infrastructure such as malls.

Electronic bingo terminals (EBT) would also be allowed with a number of provisos such as the limiting of licences, combining of both forms of bingo on one licence and changing the aesthetics of EBT away from the casino slot machine style.

Bush racing, trotting and hamess racing would be recognised under the horse racing umbrella while greyhound racing would remain illegal.

The policy is also adamant that online gambling remain illegal and that measures be taken to close down existing operations and prosecute offenders.

The department holds the view that the benefits of legalising online gambling were unlikely to outweigh the harm.