|South Africa is to adopt a more flexible approach to gambling, with Trade and Industry Minister Alec Erwin being empowered to decide on the number of casino licenses to be issued per province. |
The minister will now decide on the number of licenses to be granted, which is a move away from the current system where provinces are allocated a fixed maximum number of licenses.
The granting of licenses will be determined by factors such as market competition, black economic empowerment and 'the incidence and consequences of overstimulation of gambling', according to the new National Gambling Bill, introduced in Parliament yesterday.
The bill broadens the scope of illegal gambling activities to include all unlicensed gambling activities, unauthorised interactive gambling on the internet and credit for gambling. Unlicensed activities will be prohibited on a uniform basis nationally for the first time.
The bill will also require registration of all gambling machines, and introduces a system of voluntary and court-ordered exclusion from gambling of problem gamblers.
The bill proposes a system of registration of gambling machines to deal with illegal gambling, as well as a system of national licenses.
Restrictions will also be placed on advertising and no automated teller machines (ATMs) will be allowed in licensed premises.
In addition, the bill proposes to establish norms and standards for provinces and standards for gambling premises. It clarifies the relative jurisdictions of national and provincial governments with respect to gambling law.
The bill assigns legislative functions to national government, which will issue national licenses, while the monitoring and enforcement functions are assigned to provincial governments.
The bill also proposes the establishment of a new body, the National Gambling Policy Council, in addition to the National Gambling Board, which will oversee the issuing of licenses by provincial bodies. The policy council will also be responsible for dispute resolution.