The South African government has once again rebutted attempts to open up the country’s betting and gaming laws to include online gambling, with the majority of the National Assembly voting to reject the opposition’s Remote Gambling Bill.
Geordin Hill-Lewis, the Democratic Alliance (DA) MP who authored the bill, has been grappling with the ruling African National Congress (ANC) for years over the issue, arguing that regulation is the only way to protect players and tax revenues.
But last month the ANC’s Trade and Industry Committee issued a report discarding Hill- Lewis’ latest version of the bill – a decision that was later upheld by the National Assembly in a debate.
Garron Whitesman, a gaming lawyer who worked closely with Hill-Lewis on the proposed legislation, said the ANC had few logical grounds for opposing the regulation.
“They’ve taken a position where, as far as they’re concerned, the expansion of online activity into casinostyle gambling and things of that nature is just unacceptable,” he said. “They don’t believe that it’s right – and that’s about as much basis as they’ve got for arguing against proponents of regulating.”
Jan Esterhuizen, an MP from the minor opposition party Inkatha Freedom, was also sympathetic to the bill, pointing out that illegal offshore online gaming continued to be rife in the country in spite of the government’s best efforts to block it.