South Africa May Legalize Online Gambling - Wednesday 28th of December 2005

SOUTH AFRICA –As reported by the South Africa Financial Mail: "Internet gambling in SA is not only illegal, it's also not particularly big next to other forms of gambling, such as the national lottery, casinos and bingo. But this looks set to change.

"Online gambling will become legal if trade & industry minister Mandisi Mpahlwa accepts the recommendations of the national gambling board. In a report on the regulation of interactive gambling released last month, the board has recommended that Internet gambling be legalised.

"Online gambling in SA remains the preserve of a relative few - those who have regular access to the Internet. Only one in 10 households has a fixed telephone line and, of 361 calls made to a hotline operated by the national responsible gambling programme in the three months to end-September, only two related to Internet gambling.

"This could change fast. Local gambling operators are salivating at the opportunities that legalisation of Internet gambling might offer.

"If Mpahlwa opts to legalise Internet gambling, SA companies stand to profit from an industry that is enjoying rapid growth. The industry was worth US$3bn/year in 2001 and had grown to more than $8,2bn/year in 2004, according to research firm Christiansen Capital Advisors. The market is expected to triple to almost $25bn/year by 2010.

"National gambling board CEO Thibedi Majake says there was little option other than to recommend that online gambling be legalised.

"…The board's report says that legalising online gambling will address several issues: local gamblers will have legal protection; it will prevent 'criminal influence and exploitation' in the industry; and it will promote the development of an interactive gambling industry in SA…"

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