The South African National Assembly rejected the DA’s proposed law to control and regulate the growing online gambling industry. The bill was not taken well by the members. It was described as an attempt to make people jobless and take away from the table. The members also argued that this will for sure increase the rate of crime in the white collar segment and create a lot of chaos in the job market and society at large.
While some members were not in favour of supporting the bill, some of them boldly stood in favour of it. Geordin Hill-Lewis from instance openly expressed his dissatisfaction over the non-cooperation on this one. He stated that the house was making a mistake and that it would understand this in due course. He is of the view that the regulation of the gambling industry is inevitable and the quicker it is implemented, the better it is for everyone.
He also mentioned that the 2007 Gambling Act could never take effect. This added to the history of confusion and chaos for the industry. He is of the view that the online gambling industry has never followed any rules or regulations as such. The MP feels the regulation would be the best course of action in order to save the general public. Notably a trade industry report recommended rejecting this bill.
The present bill suggested various ways of protecting the affected and those who are vulnerable to be exposed to online gambling. It also recommended how to secure revenue that was lost to fiscus. Jan Esterhuizen from the IFP argued that there are as many as 2000 illegal gambling establishments and it makes sense to make them legal. This will not only ensure compliance but will help the Government to control them with greater authority.
Shaik Emam, the MP from the National Freedom Party gave a very passionate speech and argued that gambling cause misery and a sense of helplessness among the poor. People lose interest in their job and this leads to more crime. He went on to mention that online gambling degrades the quality of life and that children go to bed without food. Ha accused the DA of not being considerate enough for the poor. His speech was backed by the whole party and he ended his note to a thunderous applause from all the MP’s in the house.
As a matter of fact, some of the lobbyists are extensively working up to get online betting legalised in South Africa. This will come as a major blow for them. Not only the 2000 betting companies would suffer but it would come as a major blow to some of the big players who have been waiting and watching the proceedings in South Africa. The online gambling industry is considered to be billion dollar industry in South Africa where millions of tourists and corporate crowd throng the land based casinos. Industry insiders see this as a move to protect the land based casinos from their online counterpart.