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Is South African Online Gambling Coming Closer To Reality?

Legalized online gambling legislation may be inching closer to becoming a reality in South Africa, after a review commission on the Trade and Industry Committee recommended that all forms of online gambling, be made legal.

In 2009 the South African online gambling market generated around 320 million Rand, and it is believed that this number has increased since that date. Legislators in South Africa are hoping that by making online gambling legal, income for the country could be generated via operator licensing fees, and taxes on player winnings and operator income.

There is caution being stressed by politicians involved in the potential legalizing of online wagering. The Review's Commissioner Stephen Louw said: “The big elephant in the room is internet gambling. The danger is that with the offer of the carrot, it may grow unexpectedly. But already any one of us can log on at night and place hundreds of bets."

The practice of online gambling is currently illegal in South Africa, however enforcing the law is quite difficult. National Gambling Board CEO Baby Tyawa told the committee that her department had been focusing on big winners, to enforce the online gambling law, but also stated that the government is losing out on taxable revenue that could be generated by online gambling.

In the event that online gambling is legalized and regulated, it was suggested that the financial industry could be involved in assisting in enforcing the new regulations; helping out by making moves against an illegal online operator.

Currently South Africa's gambling industry generates about 15.9 billion Rands, and 2.2 billion Rands in national lotteries. With these incomes, the South African government generated taxes of 1.5 billion Rand, a sizable amount of cash. The current legal casinos in the African country have generated 60,000 jobs.

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