After 16-year delay in enacting earlier act

South Africa's main opposition party introduces Remote Gambling Bill to regulate online gaming

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South Africa's main opposition, the Democratic Alliance (DA), has officially introduced its Remote Gambling Bill of 2024 in Parliament after more than two years of drafting and consultations with industry experts. The bill is sponsored by MP Dean Macpherson, the DA’s Shadow Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition.

“This initiative comes in response to the significant oversight by the ANC in failing to provide adequate protection and regulation within the online gambling industry,” the DA said in a press statement. The African National Congress (ANC) is South Africa’s ruling party.

DA said the National Gambling Amendment Act, assented to by the President in 2008 to regulate online gambling, has not been brought into operation yet, leaving a legal gap in the industry.

“It is highly concerning given the massive strides and advances online usage has increased and grown since then. By not regulating this gambling activity, the erosion of the rule of law and criminal activity is being encouraged, while the public is not as effectively protected as they are when using land-based gaming operations. At the same time, a lack of regulation is resulting in revenue worth billions of Rands and jobs being lost to other gambling jurisdictions,” the statement said.

The bill aims to regulate the issuing of licenses to be controlled by the relevant provincial authorities instead of the centralized national gambling board which the DA says now operates as "a shadow of itself." It would establish procedures to raise objections to licenses, regulate 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 29 May national and provincial elections, the ANC looks set to drop far below the 50% majority mark, which means that in the new Parliament, it will no longer have its majority to reject legislation on frivolous grounds only out of spite because it came from an opposition party. It is bills like the Remote Gambling Bill which are vital to protect the most vulnerable people and with the ANC below 50%, the DA can ensure that this will be the first of many bills introduced to rescue South Africa,” the statement added.

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