Later this month, South Africa’s Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies will receive a final report from the Gambling Review Commission that will provide insight into the country’s gambling industry, and will act as a guideline for any upcoming changes to South African gambling laws.
The report was ordered by Davies late last year. Headed by Astrid Ludin, the Gambling Review Commission has been examining how South Africa’s gambling industry has changed over the past decade. Based on these investigations, the report is supposed to provide an outline for regulating the industry.
According to Stephen Louw, one of the Commissioners working on the project, the report will be handed over to Davies within a couple of weeks.
The last time South Africa’s gambling laws were amended was 2004. Since then, much has changed, especially with regards to internet gambling in South Africa. A dramatic increase in the popularity and availability of online gambling sites has created regulatory challenges and responsibilities that did not exist a decade ago.
“Countries continue to grapple with online gaming, irrespective of whether they decided to ban or legalize it,” says Louw. “Few countries have fully understood the implications of online gambling.”
It’s too soon to say what the future holds for online gambling sites in South Africa. The fact that internet gambling defies national boundaries is a central issue being looked at. Foreign-based gambling sites can easily offer their services to South African players, and the government can’t do much about it.
The goal is to provide local alternatives that are not only popular with players, but are also able to compete with these offshore gambling sites, which often operate in places where lower taxes allow them more leverage over the industry.
Minister Davies has his work cut out for him, and South African gamblers are keeping their fingers crossed.