South Africa Wrestles with Online Gambling Legal Issues

The country had planned to legalize and license online gambling in 2009; a year and a half later, there still isn’t a concrete plan to get the sector regulated.

“SA’s government is losing out on millions in tax revenue as the country has yet to decide whether the online gambling sector should be legalized,” reports the South African IT Web news site, which predicts that it’ll “take at least two years before SA has a properly licensed online gambling industry”.

That 2009 plan to legalize online gambling and issue 10 licenses stalled in the country’s legal system, and has since been sidelined by a newly created Gambling Review Commission that’s studying the country’s entire gambling industry.

“SA is losing out on a variety of potential benefits that a new interactive gambling industry could create, such as taxes, jobs and empowerment opportunities,” Alicia Gibson, a South Africa-based lawyer specializing in gambling law, told IT Web. “In addition, the longer the process takes, the more the cost to the economy grows.”

Gibson predicts a long process of receiving the National Gambling Board’s findings, drafting new regulations, and creating RFPs for the licenses. It’s thought that’ll all take two years, if things go smoothly.

Similarities to U.S. Situation
In the meantime, much like the U.S., online gambling continues, and even thrives. ZAR215.8 billion was bet in the country in the year to March 2010.

Some South African online betting sites seem to have found ways to operate legally. South African online sportsbook, which offers on national and international sports including the NFL, recently launched a new affiliate program with Income Access, and EGR reports that it’s “regulated and licensed under the Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board.”