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MEC of Economic Development Calls for Legalization of All Forms of Gambling in South Africa

Mlungisi Mvoko, a member of the executive council (MEC) of economic development for the Eastern Cape has shared an opinion that all forms of gambling should be officially legalized on the territory of South Africa as a way to create new jobs and boost tax revenue.

Speaking at the 15th edition of the Gaming Regulators Africa Forum, which has taken place in Port Elizabeth’s Boardwalk Hotel, Mvoko addressed the delegates being present and shared an opinion that the gambling sector has already brought considerable benefits to the Eastern Province. The MEC has also talked about the gambling industry’s potential regarding the newest trends in the sector, such as cryptocurrencies, which have risen in popularity and in value over the last few years.

As explained by Mr. Mvoko, it is understandable that technology has had a significant impact on the gambling sector, as it revolutionized the industry, especially when it comes to online gambling.

The theme of the 2019 conference is “Fourth Industrial Revolution and Its Impact on Gaming in Africa”. The conference, which brought together representatives of South Africa, Kenya, Angola, Ghana, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique, Tanzania, etc., is focusing on updates in the global economy, as well as on the impact which these updates have on the international gambling sector.

Gambling Expansion Would Bring Fresh Revenue and More Jobs, Mr. Mvoko Says

According to Mr. Mvoko, legalization of all forms of gambling in South Africa was necessary to help the region reduce the losses which the ongoing global economic crisis have resulted in. The latter has been having a considerable impact on the tourism and car manufacturing industries, which have been crucial for the Eastern Cape economy. As he explained, these industries have been very important for the province, as they have been key contributors to the gross domestic product and have also been large job creators.

The addition of legal gambling could, therefore, be critical for alternative sectors, as it would enhance and diversify the economic base in the region. It is Mr. Mvoko’s belief that the gambling industry should be enhanced so that the authorities support and facilitate economic development, as well.

Gambling was officially made legal in 1994 when the new democratic government took the reins. Two years later, in 1996, some provisions regarding the gambling industry’s regulation, and especially horse racing, were rolled out in the National Gambling Act. The piece of legislation also unveiled some rules, under which prospective casinos were forced to file applications for operating license in case they wanted to offer their services in the country.

On the other hand, online gambling is subject to strict regulation and currently is illegal to individuals who are trying to access a gambling website from a South African IP address, unless they are accessing a website which holds a special operating license issued by a provincial gambling board. Even in case that online gambling providers file application for an operating license, only sports betting websites are being considered for such. No other form of web-based gambling activity is legally permitted in South Africa, and this is exactly what MEC Mvoko believes should be changed.

For the time being, however, the country still holds a tough stance to online gambling, because it is the authorities’ opinion that gambling industry expansion in that direction would make the sector potentially vulnerable, as there would be more chances for abuse.

 Author: Hannah Wallace

Hannah Wallace has been part of our team since the website was launched. She has a master’s degree in IT.