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South Africa to Seize Illegal Online Casino Winnings

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South Africa is initiating a campaign to handle unauthorized online gambling. The initiative includes methods that will enable the government to confiscate illegal online gambling money.

The Department of Trade and Industry has published a new National Gambling Amendment Bill. The amendment aims to implement rigid stipulations on South Africa’s gambling industry. South Africa’s DTI is open to screen public commentary on the bill until mid-November

The South African DTI has launched plans to subdue illegal online casino operations since April. It has imposed fines on Internet Service Providers that allowed gamblers to access unregulated gambling portals. It has also sanctioned banks and financial institutions that were processing prohibited gambling-related transactions.

How the Amendment Works

The proposed amendments have reflected the DTI’s National Gambling Policy 2016 policy paper earlier this year. It includes repositioning the National Gambling Board as the National Gambling Regulator. This will allow the operation of electronic formats of bingo and revised monitoring of socio-economic patterns of gambling activities.

However, South Africa’s DTI intends to repeal the portion of the 2004 Gambling Act that obliges the government to apply to the High Court to confiscate illegal gambling winnings. The new proposal suggests that illegal winnings will be directly forfeited to the new National Gambling Regulator.

Such regulation will see banks blocking payments to their customers from online casino operators. Procedures are already place to prevent illegal online gambling transactions. Banks and customers are criminally liable once they fail to comply with regulations.

Is It Time for South Africa to Regulate Online Gambling?

The only types of legal online gambling in South Africa are state-licensed sports betting sites and online bingo sites. Other online gambling games such as online slots and poker are illegal. Such notion is seen as a reason that could force illegal gambling companies to withdraw from South Africa.

While the government intends to implement appropriate gambling rules and regulations, politics seems to get in the way of amendments. The DTI has the power to license online gambling sites under the 2008 National Gambling Act but refuses to do so for fear of an explosion of gambling addiction. Nationwide regulation also results to the omission of autonomy of South African province. The system works in such way that every state or province moderates its gambling activities.

What do you think of the current state of online gambling in South Africa? Should international gambling analysts be invited to administer a more collaborative approach regarding amendments?