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South Africa to Legalise Online Gambling?

Earlier this week, Rob Davies, South Africa’s Minister of Trade and Industry, warned that online gambling remains illegal in the country and that banks may question winnings from online sites under the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (Fica).

“If you’re a South African and you participate in online gambling and you win, your winnings are the proceeds of an illegal activity,” Davies said.

However online gambling in South Africa could soon be legalised, despite the Supreme Court of Appeal ruling only last month that it remains illegal.

Speaking at the International Association of Gaming Regulators’ annual conference in Cape Town, Davies explained that the Gambling Review Commission had proposed the licensing of online operators.

South Africa has also received proposals from local companies pushing for an open market. Regulations had been developed, said Davis, but Parliament held them back over concerns of an increase in money laundering and problem gambling.

Davies, who highlighted that the gambling industry has been growing at approximately double South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP), said Parliament is now expected to hold public hearings on the Gambling Review Commission’s report, which includes online gambling.

“We know that a number of jurisdictions prohibit interactive gambling, but also that the trend is towards licensing and regulation,” Davis said.

“The commission made a recommendation that I know will be the subject of much debate, namely that legislation should cater for all forms of online gambling, including person-to-person betting and participation in offshore operations.”

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