Legislation set to regulate South Africa's online gambling industry was last month approved by Parliament. The National Gambling Amendment Bill will become law following imminent approval by the President.
The law intends to deal with the negative factors associated with the gambling industry catering for problem gambling, player protection, licensing, taxation and advertising.
The bill states that the internet gambling industry is currently 'plagued by crime'. The government has stated that it is vulnerable to money laundering, terrorism financing and 'compromises the country's reputation as a responsible global citizen'.
Under the bill's proposals, all South African players would need to be registered with a licensed interactive gambling provider and submit an affidavit to prove that they are over 18 years old. The new law also includes provisions for an electronic monitoring system to help root out potentially addictive behavior and restrict credit extensions to players.
If offline gambling figures are anything to go by, South African online gambling is set to become big business. According to the National gambling Board, the organisation that will be responsible for enforcing the new legislation, offline gambling revenues increased from 6.2 billion to 13.5 billion Rand from 2001 - 2007.
Opening the floodgates
Scores of online casinos and gaming sites have recently introduced Rand gaming anticipation of the new law and many more providers are set to follow suit. These developments are in stark contrast to the situation in the US where the ban on online gambling has resulted in many gaming sites being hit with heavy fines.
So the online gambling industry awaits the next installment in the South African legal drama, as a powerful new force is poised to enter the international gaming world.