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South Africa to Consider Online Gambling Legislation

A new bill that aims to repeal the 2008 National Gambling Act and legalize online gambling will be introduced to South Africa’s parliament.

Up until now, the only regulated online wagering allowed in the country has been that of sporting contests. But a new bill proposed by South African MP Geordin Hill-Lewis seeks to include Internet casino gambling, eGR reported.

South African lawmakers have been under pressure recently from commercial interests who are against the proliferation of unregulated gaming sites. Similar to the voices of online gambling proponents in the U.S., consumer protection and taxation have also been cited as reasons to consider approving the regulation of Internet wagering.

“This is eight years overdue now and we’ve fallen behind international standards,” said Wayne Lurie, director of a South African law firm that specializes in gaming.

The bill is similar to those found in Australia and Europe that allow licensing to be overseen by national and provincial governments. Online gaming license applicants would apply through one of South Africa’s ten provinces much the same way that Australia has parceled its regulatory procedures.

Existing gaming license holders in the country, such as Krugerbets and Sportingbet, would be required to re-apply for permission to operate online via a remote gaming license. Categories of license holders would be established, such as those of operators, as well as manufacturers and suppliers.

The proposal calls for taxation to be determined by each individual province. However, standards and levels would be established to eliminate provincial competition.

“With this regulation, we can look to satisfy consumer demand and offer our customers a full suite of gambling products in a safe and secure online environment that abides to local regulatory controls and consumer protections,” said Sportingbet SA managing director Tyrone Dubbin.

Following its introduction in parliament in coming months, establishing standards will likely take another six months. It is estimated that licenses may not be issued for about 18 months if applicants must wait to apply during that initial six-month period.



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Charles Rettmuller

Charles has been an avid poker player for a number of years, both live and online. He holds a degree in journalism and previously worked as a reporter for a Chicago-based newspaper. Charles joined the PokerUpdate team in early 2012 and writes daily news articles for the site.