Officials in South Africa have made it abundantly clear that they don’t want online gambling sites operating in their territory. Last year, yet anther measure to regulate online gambling was rejected. Now, the government is looking at an amendment that would give the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) the right to confiscate winnings from players of online casinos in South Africa.
As of right now, the only legal form of iGaming is sports betting. The region has approved a number of online sportsbooks to accept South African punters. But those who aren’t on the list – unauthorized sportsbooks and every internationally operated online casino and poker site in the world – are viewed as annoying little bugs beneath the nation’s proverbial shoe that they’d love to squash into oblivion.
But alas, since South Africa doesn’t have jurisdiction to go after the operators themselves, nor the means to arrest every citizen who plays at those websites, they are doing the next best thing.
Last week, the DTI proposed a legislative measure, the National Gambling Amendment Bill 2016, designed to shore up any leaks in the country’s existing gambling market, including authorizing the confiscation of online gambling winnings.
Public discussion on the matter is welcome from now until November 15.
What Exactly Does The Bill Do?
The amendments tackle a number issues by amending different sections of the National Gambling Act of 2004.
For starters, the DTI wishes to “reposition” the National Gambling Board as the National Gambling Regulator (NGR), eliminating all mention of the “Board” from previous text and assigning overall regulatory authority to the new group.
The bill would authorize an “electronic form of bingo” games, to be overseen by the NGR. Additionally, restrictions pertaining to South African casinos would be tightened, among other things.
New organization, bigger responsibilities, that’s going to cost some money, right? And what better way to pay for such an expansion than seizing some illegal online gambling funds.
Winning Players Become Losers
The most significant change relates to stripping one particular item away from the National Gambling Act – the part where the government must go through the High Court in order to seize illegal online gambling winnings.
The DTI’s amendments would eliminate the High Courts from the equation, allowing the government to swoop in and automatically confiscate winnings from players who access online casinos in South Africa. Those funds would be delivered into the coffers of the newly formed National Gambling Regulator.
Furthermore, financial institutions would come under threat of penalty for facilitating any transactions with online casinos who make the list of “unlawful gambling operators”. The task of scripting that list would, of course, fall in the lap of the NGR.
South Africa Taking Away Incentive To Play
All of the nation’s efforts to thwart illegal online gambling have been ultimately unsuccessful up to this point, but if the new amendments make their way into the law books, it just might bring a close to this long chapter in South Africa’s legislative war on illegal iGaming.
DTI Minister Rob Davies made it clear to punters that the government will no longer tolerate those who flaunt their disregard of the law by playing online casinos in South Africa. “If you go online, we may not be able to stop you when you play the game,” he admitted. “But when you win, we get you.”