ew technologies and gaming could lead to an increase in the revenue base for the Eastern Cape province, Economic Development MEC (member of executive council) Mlungisi Mvoko said on Monday. He believes gambling, in all its forms, needs to be made legal in South Africa to increase tax revenue and create jobs.
“It is still our fervent belief that through the infusion of new technologies in the 4th Industrial Revolution and optimal regulation, gaming could lead to an increase in the revenue base of the province,” Mvoko said while speaking at the 15th Gaming Regulators Africa Forum taking place at The Boardwalk Hotel in Port Elizabeth, as reported by the African News Agency.
“It comes as no surprise that technology has had a remarkable impact on the gaming industry. So, if you are wondering how technology is impacting the gaming industry then you need to look no further than how a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin has revolutionized the realm of online users,” he remarked.
This year's conference, themed ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution and its Impact on Gaming in Africa’, brings together representatives from countries which include Angola, Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Seychelles, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The conference is focusing on global economy shifts and the impact of this on the global gaming industry. Mvoko told delegates the shift to legalize gambling and the growth in the sector has benefited provincial treasury.
He said the industry had given consumers an additional choice of recreation, generated considerable tax revenue and increased employment. Mvoko said the provincial economy grew by an estimated R985 million (USD 64.7 million) over the last five years as a result of the gambling industry.
He said the Eastern Cape economy was predominantly driven by car manufacturing and tourism industries. But an ongoing global economic crisis has brought about an indirect decline in both industries. “Obviously, in a province where these industries are major job creators and key contributors to the Gross Domestic Product, the effects are more raving. It is critical that alternative industries like legalized gaming are enhanced to diversify our economic base.”
Mvoko said the gaming and gambling industry must be boosted in a manner that supported and facilitated economic development.
Gambling is mostly legal in South Africa and in 1994, when the new democratic government came to power, all gambling was officially legalized. However, the 1996 National Gambling Act instituted provisions for regulation of the gambling sector, specifically horse racing, and a system where prospective casinos would need to apply for a license.
Online gambling, on the other hand, is heavily regulated and remains completely illegal to anyone accessing a gambling website from an IP address originating from South Africa unless they are accessing a site that is licensed by a provincial gambling board. Even then, only sports betting websites will be considered for a license. No other form of online gambling is tolerated in South Africa and this is where Mvoko is hoping the rules will be relaxed.