South Africa Introduces National Gambling Amendment Act of 2018
The South African national parliament introduced a new bill to overhaul the country’s gambling laws and regulatory bodies. The National Gambling Amendment Act of 2018 passed on November 21, creating a top national gambling regulator.
The new law is not as comprehensive as some of its proponents would have wanted. Provisions to ban dog racing and crack down on unlicensed online gambling operators were scratched from the final version of the bill.
On the other hand, a National Central Electronic Monitoring System (NCEMS) was given more funding. The NCEMS technology monitors all gambling activity in South Africa, which in turn creates market data to better understand gambling in South Africa.
National Central Electronic Monitoring System
The National Central Electronic Monitoring System’s data should be a great help to South Africa. The parliament created a 30% tax on gambling a couple of years ago, then voted to repeal the high taxes when it became apparent they were too high. But lawmakers cannot agree on a set tax rate.
The monitoring system is intended to compile data that can be used to gauge the proper tax level. That would be a major accomplishment, due to a decided lack of information on the gambling activities of South Africans in the past 15 years.
Once, South Africa had an established regulatory framework for gambling that served the people and generated tax revenues. A government which took power in the 1990s banned most forms of gambling. Since then, the government has gone back and forth on the issue, based upon the administration in power. Over the past 5 to 10 years, South Africa’s national government worked to shore up the laws and modernize their gaming industry. Many forms of gambling have remained banned, though.
National Gambling Regulator
The main goal pf the 2018 update is to create a new, streamlined regulatory agency for South Africa. To that end, the Gambling Amendment Act creates the National Gambling Regulator, which replaces National Gambling Policy Council as the chief regulatory agency for gambling in the country.
Instead of having a panel or committee that meets sporadically, South Africa now will have an agency tasked with everyday oversight. That should improve the efficiency and professionalism of gambling oversight. It also should standardize vetting and licensing of international gaming operators.
That should pave the way for more coordination at the national and state levels. Gaming companies which are allowed in certain regions can get licensing from the National Gambling Regulator.
National Gambling Amendment Act of 2018
The Gambling Amendment Act of 2018 did not include oversight of many activities. Though much discussion focused on such activities, the bill eventually left out “horse racing, dog racing, electronic bingo terminals, betting on lottery results, and online gaming.”
Ms. Joanmariae Fubbs, the Department of Trade and Industry committee chairperson for the National Gambling Amendment Act, explained why so many activities were eliminated from consideration. Fubbs said, “Even though the committee considers these matters to be serious, the time available would not have allowed for an effective interrogation of these matters.”
“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 African Gambling Laws 2018
Slowly but surely, South Africa has been fine-tuning its gambling laws in the past few years. A couple of South African states have legalized certain forms of gambling and created their own regulatory agencies. International gaming sites have been active in the country, but now there is a regulatory framework taking shape to direct and standardize that activity.
South Africa’s lawmakers realized the original version of the bill would have been counterproductive. Instead of encouraging investment and growth, it would have gone dampened the industry and stalled growth. The 2018 law shows compromise, negotiation, and limited gains.