South African gamblers waiting for legal online casino and poker games may need to wait for a new national government. South African Parliament member Geordin Hill-Lewis has consistently proposed new legislation to expand gambling in South Africa. The parliamentarian’s proposal asks to expand sports betting to include casino and poker games. However, the Democratic Alliance party has not been able to sway the African National Congress party.
The Department of Trade and Industry and National Gambling Board are trying to block online gambling websites from other countries. Both entities have an anti-online campaign against outside casino and poker websites.
A seminar held in Johannesburg addressed regulators, legislators, academics, banks, and stakeholders with regards to the problem of online gambling. The Casino Association of South Africa is also against online gambling. They feel it is responsible for 5% of the land based industries decline over the last few years.
National Gambling Board member, Estelle Johnkheld, stated the government is establishing a disciplinary task team to create strategies to block illegal gambling operators. There are over 2,000 sites and operators bringing poker and casinos to South African gamblers.
The CEO of LottoStar, Tasoulla Hadjigeorgio, holds a license for fixed-odds sports betting. The CEO stated South African gamblers are unclear which online sites are legal and has advised that “solutions to ensure consumers are properly educated on the legalities and implications of the various platforms” need to be available.
Hill-Lewis and his party are facing strong opposition and may be unable to write a bill with acceptable “rules and guidelines” to bring poker and casino to South Africans.