South Africans are waiting for a new gambling bill but the wait could be long and arduous. Public comments for the new bill are currently being considered while the previous bill is no longer fully operational. The Western Cape High Court noted that certain clauses found in the current gambling bill will not be taken into account while we wait for the new bill to become law.
Tsogo Holdings sought an amendment to two of its casino licenses in order to move operations to the Cape Metropole. The Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board noted that it could not allow the operator to amend licensing as far as location is concerned. The Board expressed concern as to how a change such as this might impact the GrandWest Casino which is already situated in the Cape Metropole.
With regards to the High Court issue, Premier Winde noted that the matter would not go to appeal. He explained:
“I take note in the matter on 2 July 2021, and that the judgement has declared the old Western Cape Gambling and Racing Policy Determinations invalid, but which declaration of invalidity has suspended for a year so that a new regulatory policy for gambling can be put in place.”
Winde further noted that it is likely that the current judgement will also be taken into account before the bill is finalised.
Last year there was a hearing open to the public which looked at the Western Cape 19th Gambling and Racing Amendment Bill. At the hearing it was noted that the Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board has undergone financial difficulties. These difficulties took place because there was a shortfall in funding the Board for this year. The board no longer receives exclusivity fees from casinos and gambling operators. Because of this, the Board needed help to make up the financial shortfall and came to rely on various payments from the Provincial Treasury. The Treasury has had huge spending cuts making it difficult to fund the Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board.
At the public hearing last year, it was noted:
“The amendments aimed to make sure that the regulator had an independent source of income to ensure that it was self-sufficient and that gambling was regulated appropriately.”
As for online gambling, the lack of regulation of the industry creates a number of missed opportunities. This includes both economic losses along with lost jobs. There would be a number of new employment opportunities if South Africa regulated and legalised online gambling. Players already gamble online however the money leaves the country rather than taxes staying at home. Other countries, such as the United Kingdom have successfully regulated online gambling. A move such as this could eliminate illegally operated gambling sites and make way for better and safer gaming opportunities.