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Online Gambling on the radar of the Government

The Times recently reported that the companies will be allowed to apply for online gambling licences when the National Gambling Amendment Act is promulgated. This means that Online Gambling in South Africa will soon be a regulated industry and taxable.

The regulatory framework is intended to attract "reputable" operators and at the same time offering "legitimate" channels of gambling to South African punters, it was said. It is not known whether the proposed legislation will limit the number of gambling licences that will be issued however, it is anticipated that applications for such licences may be possible as soon as next year. Before this can happen a tax bill has to be enacted by the Minister of Trade and Industry. Meanwhile the process regulations and industry standards are being finalised.

Several warnings have been made to remind online gaming companies that they are operating illegally even though online gamblers are accessing gaming abroad. In terms of the current National Gambling Act, the provision of South African Online Gambling sites and the engagement in gambling online using such sites is unlawful.

The proposed Amendment Act will also make advertising of international online gaming sites in South Africa extremely difficult.The purpose for regulating the South African Online Gambling industry is said to be for the protection of the punters. Currently the online gambling industry leaves the punter with no recourse in the event of a dispute furthermore, the fairness and honesty of the environment is questionable. We will have to wait and see if the South African Online Gambling companies currently in existence will qualify for online gambling licences when the application process eventually opens!

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