South Africa seeks new powers to combat illegal online gambling operators

South Africa wants to give government agencies new powers to combat illegal online gambling.

Last week, South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry released the final version of its National Gambling Policy 2016. The policy paper bluntly states that “no new forms of gambling will be allowed at this point,” dashing any faint hopes operators may have had regarding a potential liberalization of the country’s online gambling market.

The policy paper argues that online gambling is “not inherently labor intensive” and thus the government remains skeptical that legalizing online gambling will “produce significant jobs compared to other regulated activities like casinos.” The government also believes it’s important to “protect gambling activities that create jobs from unwarranted competition.”

South Africa currently permits online sports betting while forbidding online casino, poker and other verticals. Despite the prevalence of online sports betting, the policy paper reiterates the government’s previous position that “the capacity to regulate online gambling currently is not adequate, but can be streamlined to prevent illegal operations.”

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