|According to a piece in The Times newspaper of South Africa, online gambling may soon be legalised in the nation, enabling players to operate in a protected environment.|
Online gambling is currently illegal in South Africa even if the service provider is based in another nation or jurisdiction and players face prison and massive fines if caught. As there are no licenses to operate, players are not protected and anyone with a claim against an online gaming site would have no recourse and may even be arrested for engaging in an illegal activity.
However, a bill relating to Internet gambling went to the Select Committee of National Provinces earlier this week and will soon be tabled in the National Assembly for final approval.
“The new law will enable people to licence Internet gambling and South African citizens will be able to operate within a protected environment,” said Themba Marasha, Chief Operations Officer for the National Gambling Board.
If online gambling becomes legal in South Africa, Marasha stated that providers of gambling services and Internet service providers may apply for licences but current offenders had little chance of obtaining a licence.
“Acts of wrongdoing will disqualify them should they want to apply for a licence in the new South African gambling environment,” said Marasha.
Marasha said he had approached numerous bodies contravening the nation’s current restrictions on advertising, promoting and marketing online gambling organisations to little or no avail.
Evelyn Masotja, Director for Regulated Industries at the Department of Trade and Industry, stated the intention behind regulating online gambling was to protect consumers rather than punishing them and to put proper control and monitoring systems in place.
“Players involved in interactive gambling currently play at their own risk and there’s no regulatory environment to protect them,” said Masotja.