South Africa set to ban online casinos later in 2018

Flamingo Casino in South Africa

The South African Government is relentlessly pursuing its plan to crack down on unauthorised internationally licensed online gambling operators.

The South African Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in 2016 published a new draft of a National Gambling Policy document, which detailed plans by the government to end the penetration of any new form of gambling in the country.

The DTI has served a notice of intention to parliament to present the National Gambling Amendment Act 2018 during the legislature’s second session of 2018.

The bill restricts South African punters from accessing online gambling products, not provided by locally licensed operators, who are only allowed to offer sports betting.

The new bill warns financial institutions not to “process payment transactions for any gambling activities that are not licensed” under the country’s gambling rules.

In addition, punters who wager with unauthorised international sites, will forfeit all their winnings to the National Gambling Regulator (NGR), which currently oversees gambling in South African following a proposed ‘repositioning’ of the National Gambling Board.

To enforce the regulations, the NGR is to keep a “register of unlawful gambling operators,” and any firm found culpable would be barred for the next five years from seeking a South African license.

The National Lotteries Commission (NLC) will have the power to regulate all lotteries and sports pools and would “prescribe a maximum limit of licenses” for sports pools and bettings on lottery results.

The new proposal will also place a ban on dog racing and bets on dog races and allow the horse racing industry to create a regulatory body to be supervised by the NGR.

For “the development of the horse racing industry and usage of products belonging to totalizator operators” operators in the industry will pay a set amount of their revenue to the authority.

Other aspects covered in the new bill are electronic bingo, and the need for gambling venues in public establishments to have a separate and hidden entrance and a ban on the installation of ATMs around gambling venues.

In the past South Africa has been somewhat of a haven for online casino operators with Fortune Affiliates and Star Partners, two brands which have disappeared in recent years, being based out of Cape Town.