South Africa may legalise online gamblingMoves are being made again in South Africa to bring the legalisation of online casino gambling nearer. It has taken many years but a new bill has recently been published and after it has been viewed and commented on by the public it will be reviewed before being brought before the parliament for a vote. South Africa’s Remote Gambling Bill 2014 proposes legislation that will regulate internet gambling in the state and legally protect both operators and gamblers for the first time.Gambling was legalised in South Africa in 1994 and then the 1996 National Gambling Act regulated gambling by instituting the National Gambling Board which licensed casinos and a national lottery was set up.

This act was replaced by another in 2004 which effectively banned promoting or taking part in online gaming. However, this ban didn’t cover online sports betting or betting on horse racing on the internet which are legal in the country, the new act banned online casino games and poker. Another change came in 2008 with the National Gambling Amendment Act which it had been hoped would legalise and regulate online gambling but vested interests opposed it and it didn’t result in regulation. Since a 2010 court case, the ban on online gambling was strengthened when even online casinos promoted by operators from outside South Africa were declared illegal. Large fines and possible prison sentences were brought in for any online casinos, their promoters, banks processing transactions and internet gamblers.

Later this month when the public will have had the chance to comment on the draft of the Remote Gambling Bill, it will be debated for several months by the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry. After this the bill will go before the parliament for a vote to decide if it is to become law. If it is passed by the Portfolio Committee and Parliament, the 2014 Remote Gambling bill should regulate online gambling in South Africa, protect vulnerable people and children from the negative aspects of gambling and protect gamblers and online casino operators from money laundering or any other criminal activity. The process of legalising online gambling in South Africa has been a long one but nothing will be certain until the gambling bill has been debated at several levels and finally approved by the parliament.