June 13, 2024 3 min read


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South Africa’s Elections Could Impact Gambling Reforms

The proposed legislation’s success likely depends on whether the DA party secures a place in the upcoming coalition government

The conclusion of South Africa’s most recent parliamentary elections could mark a turning point for the country’s gambling sector. A complicated political situation creates significant uncertainty in the gambling sector as the makeup of South Africa’s new parliament will likely determine whether the iGaming regulation bill, proposed by the then-opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party, will gain any traction.

The Proposed Legislation Promises Significant Improvements

DA’s gambling reform seeks to modernize current regulations, which only encompass land-based casinos and online sportsbooks. The Remote Gambling Bill aims to address the current system’s deficiencies, proposing robust rules and regulations for the online gambling sector. This bill follows years of inaction by the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party, which did not treat gambling regulation as a priority.

The DA bill aims to emulate other successful regulatory frameworks, adapting them to South Africa’s unique situation. Some notable features of this proposed legislation include imposing a minimum gambling age of 18 years or older and combating illegal gambling activities. The bill also includes rules for operator licensing, ensuring transparency and accountability.

A newly established regulator will oversee the iGaming sector, fighting against black market entities and prioritizing player safety. The bill seeks to safeguard the industry from criminal activities like fraud or money laundering. Imposing stricter regulations should also allow for improved taxation, giving the government an additional revenue stream.

Political Instability May Jeopardize the Bill

While the DA’s proposed bill could significantly benefit South Africa, its success hinges on whether the party will enter the new government. ANC still holds 40% of the seats in parliament and needs to collaborate with just one or two other parties to form a majority. ANC leader Cyrill Ramaphosa proposed a broad multiparty coalition, but the DA’s inclusion is far from certain.

Industry insiders generally agree that any DA participation in the new government will likely be enough for the gambling bill to become law. Speaking for gambling news outlet NEXT.io, Garron Whitesman, founder of South African gambling law firm Whitesmans Attorneys, remained cautiously optimistic. However, he did not exclude the possibility of the ANC excluding the DA from the government and dooming the bill to failure.

The draft bill likely has a greater chance of ultimately becoming law in some shape or form if the ANC enters into a coalition government with the DA.

Garron Whitesman

While South Africa’s upcoming government must resolve pressing issues like poverty, unemployment, corruption, and power cuts, gambling regulation presents unique challenges. Without a proactive regulator, illegal operators can take advantage of vulnerable groups, perpetuating the country’s inequality problems. Gambling industry stakeholders will closely monitor South Africa’s political situation, hoping the nation finds the will to advance the landmark bill.

Deyan is an experienced writer, analyst, and seeker of forbidden lore. He has approximate knowledge about many things, which he is always willing to apply when researching and preparing his articles. With a degree in Copy-editing and Proofreading, Deyan is able to ensure that his work writing for GamblingNews is always up to scratch.

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