SOUTH AFRICAN ONLINE GAMBLING BILL STILL AWAITING PRESIDENTIAL SIGNATURE
Approved by Parliament in May this year, bill legalising online gambling still awaits Mbeki's John Hancock
The South African National Gambling Amendment Bill, which introduces a government controlled licensing and regulatory regime for online gambling is apparently still awaiting signature by the country's peripatetic president, Thabo Mbeki despite having passed Parliament in May this (2008) year.
The legislation, which will fall under the supervision and enforcement of the South African National Gambling Board, seems to have taken an inordinate amount of time to progress to this final stage, despite extensive debate and a wideranging study of the industry worldwide conducted by a team tasked by the Board.
The usual priorities of protection for the vulnerable and underage, fair gaming and the exclusion of crime and money laundering are addressed in the legislation, which requires operators to use exclusion and addictive gambling warning systems, register players and ensure that any person seeking registration is aged 18 years or older.
The Act also includes provision at section 6(b) for a player dispute resolution procedure through the South African National Gambling Board, and imposes strict rules that regulate the advertising and marketing of online gambling, confining these activities to licensed operators and their service companies and imposing similar restraints to those applied to the land gambling industry.
One of the interesting requirements of the Act relates to winnings: section 9 requires licensed online operators to immediately credit registered players' accounts with any cash money prizes, and even covers procedures where the prize is of a non-monetary nature.