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ICE Africa keynote Q&A: Nkoatse Mashamaite

| By iGB Editorial Team | Reading Time: 2 minutes
Ahead of his keynote address at ICE Africa Digital later this week, the South African Department of Trade, Industry and Competition's (dtic) director of gambling law and policy Nkoatse Mashamaite shares his thoughts on recent regulatory developments in the country.
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What sort of progress do you hope to see on the National Gaming Amendment bill in the short-term, considering it is still yet to be enacted? 

The National Gambling Amendment Bill has been adopted by the Portfolio Committee under the National Assembly. As a Bill that falls within the concurrent competence of national and provincial government, it has been sent to the Select Committee under the National Council of Provinces to also consider and vote on it.

The public hearings were considered and the Select Committee is yet to make a decision on voting mandates from Provinces. It is difficult for me to advise on how long that process will take.

Do you feel that the recent support for legal igaming from the likes of Tsogo Sun and Sun International will prompt lawmakers to make the bill a priority?

The current government position is that igaming is illegal in the country and there is currently no policy to allow it. 

Once government resolve to allow igaming, that will be done through a policy development process and all stakeholders will be consulted during that process.

How much of a concern is illegal gambling – online or offline – in the wake of the national lockdown?

the dtic is working with law enforcement and regulators to ensure that illegal online gambling is deterred in the country. It is our major concern because the continued operation of illegal online gambling undermines the regulation of gambling in the country. Especially licensed operators. 

But it gets worse as it remains the unchecked source of irresponsible gambling which comes with severe socio-economic problems the country has to deal with.

Is dtic taking an active interest in Phumelela’s business rescue deal? Do you see it as a concern that the business may be broken up, or as an opportunity to expand the South African horse racing industry?

We are monitoring how the process unfolds as we believe that the survival of Phumelela has an impact on the entire value chain of horseracing wherever Phumelela has a footprint. But the dtic is not actively involved as you will remember that the industry is self-regulated.

At a time when online gambling is expanding across Africa, do you see South Africa as an example for other markets to follow, in terms of regulation?

Other African countries have the sovereignty to decide on what policy position to adopt in their respective jurisdictions.  Even during the day such policy will be adopted in South Africa it will be on how to best legislate for South Africans.

ICE Africa Digital begins tomorrow (27 October) and runs until 29 October. Register here for the opportunity to hear from some of the leading regulators, operators and suppliers on the continent.

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