A recent study has shown a dramatic rise in online gambling in South Africa, despite the fact that online gambling is still provided only by off-shore providers.
"A quarter million gamblers online"
The study, conducted by the National Responsible Gambling Programme, found that the South African gambling industry is home to around six million gamblers, and that the industry generates around R20 billion each year, of which around seven percent comes specifically from online gambling.
NRGP executive director Peter Collins said it was difficult to calculate exactly how many people participate in online gambling.
"In South Africa it is currently estimated that about a quarter of a million people regularly gamble online," South African media quoted him as saying.
The South African government last year passed a law allowing operators to provide online gambling if they adhere to regulations, but given that the regulations are still under review, online gambling is still essentially illegal.
The NGRP has long been in favor of the regulation of remote gambling, and Collins used the study to once again point out the arguments in favor.
"It is much easier playing poker, which is a very popular form of Internet gambling, online than organizing a poker evening in person," Collins said.
"If you however ban something like this completely it will just drive it underground into the arms of organized crime."