Room for Growth in South African Online Gambling Market

Fact checked by Lawrence Muller

online-casino-sa-2 An article that recently appeared in MoneyWeb South Africa revealed that the country’s gambling market is “by no means a poor one” and there is plenty of room for growth. These facts, and others, were summarized in an article entitled Online Gambling Finally to be Legalized in SA”, written by Chris Becker. According to the author, South Africa’s gambling market generated nearly R2 billion in taxes on R16.5 million of revenue in 2014, yet grew only 0.6%.

As such, in order to create future growth, lobbyists are hoping on adopt suggestions made by PriceWaterhouseCooper and allow South African operators to expand their facilities. One of the ways to do so is to regulate and legalize online gambling.

Shadow trade minister Geordin Hill-Lewis recently championed the Remote Gaming Bill which has the potential to license online casinos in South Africa. He proposes splitting the responsibility for issuing these licenses between the state and the National Gaming Board. As such, the Board will take on a greater role in policing the online gambling industry.

According to the article, online gambling establishments in South African “exist in a precarious position”. Despite obstacles such as banks sometimes refusing to process deposits into online casino accounts, the author states that tens of thousands of South Africans have active gambling accounts, playing on platforms powered by reputable software companies such as Realtime Gaming and Playtech.

Becker believes that the introduction of the Remote Gaming Bill will “lead to the development of a strong, centralized regulator; which can effectively perform its duties to protect players and prevent crime.”

The attraction to South African gambling operators to expand into the world of online gambling is obvious and the results can be seen around the world on other platforms. The article gives a number of British bookmakers as examples of companies which expanded from high street retail operations to online betting. These companies benefited from opening online sites since they already had the trust of an existing customer base.

The article predicts that “we may soon witness the birth of a new, huge and fiercely competitive online gaming market in South Africa.”

“Much remains to be discovered as to how the government will license, tax and oversee online casinos; but with some careful design the new industry should prove to be a boon to both operators and their customers,” it concludes.

Jeffrey Nel

Sports Betting Writer

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Fact-checked by: Lawrence Muller