Online gamblers who get lucky in a game of poker or blackjack won’t be able to enjoy their winnings if new gambling legislation comes into effect.
Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies said yesterday the draft legislation which was gazetted on Friday sought to make it more difficult for people to gamble online. One of the provisions in the proposed draft national gambling bill is to allow for government to confiscate winnings. It wouldn’t be placed in a trust which is open to prolonged litigation, it would simply be taken away, Davies said.
As the law stands government can’t regulate online gambling but Davies has found a loophole. “If you go online; if you want to play a game online; we won’t be able to stop you when you play the game but if you win we’ll get you.”
This was in an attempt to cut down on gambling abuse and addiction. While not referring directly to online gambling, Davies said the suicide of Peter Williams earlier this year was an example of the harm abusive gambling could cause.
After reportedly losing R800 000 at Montecasino, north of Johannesburg, Williams doused himself in fire and set himself alight at the same Fourways-based casino.
While acknowledging that gambling made a significant contribution to investment and job creation, Davies said a line had to be drawn. He said it was estimated that in 2014 South Africans incurred gambling losses of R17.2 billion. This translated into R314 for every citizen. “Real” gamblers spent R3 000 a month on average.
To further regulate the industry; the national gambling board would be replaced by a stronger national gambling regulator which would have more teeth to oversee provinces which issue their own licenses.