South African parliament adopts abbreviated gambling bill
The South African Parliament has adopted legislation to update the country’s gambling law, though only after making significant changes to the amendment bill.
The National Gambling Amendment Bill has been adopted by the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry, but has been stripped down to focus on three technical issues.
The bill now provides for oversight of the country’s gambling industry to be transferred from the National Gambling Board to a new body, provisionally named the National Gambling Regulator.
It also allows for changes to be made to the governance structure of the National Gambling Policy Council, and establishes a National Central Electronic Monitoring System to log gambling activity throughout the country.
Committee chair Joanmariae Fubbs explained that this had been done to ensure the bill could be passed by the end of the current legislative session, with the current parliament’s five-year term ending in 2019.
As a result, a number of the other tenets of the bill, which was first drafted in 2016, then reintroduced by Minister for Trade and Industry Rob Davies in July this year, have been removed.
This means the bill no longer provides for new controls to have banks block payments to offshore iGaming sites, to regulate electronic bingo terminals, or to have the South African National Lotteries Commission regulate lottery betting.
It also pushes issues such as whether to ban dog racing and to create a self-regulatory body for the country’s horse racing industry to the next administration.
”Even though the committee considers these matters to be serious, the time available would not have allowed for an effective interrogation of these matters,” Fubbs explained.
“Therefore, the committee is of the view that these amendments, adopted today, will pave the way for more comprehensive and holistic amendments to the gambling regulatory framework.”
South Africa’s sixth post-Apartheid parliament is to be elected next year, with a general election due to take place by August 2019.