The issue surrounding the legalization of online gambling in South Africa has been going on for years with the country’s leaders being split between those who are in favor and those who aren’t.
Many arguments that have been made in favor of the legalization of online gambling were due to several reasons: mainly that it helps the economy, and secondly, that just like the situation in America, people always find other ways and means to play for real money on the internet, whether it is by changing the IP address, or using other similar means to cover themselves from being caught.
For this reason, those in favor of legalizing online gambling have also many times put forward the argument that by legalizing online gambling, proper regulations can be put in place in order to avoid any form of abuse.
However, a recent proposal made by the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), not only opposed notions of legalizing online gambling, but also took matters to the extreme.
The proposal was thought to be so ludicrous that it left an opposition member, Ghaleb Cachalia, Shadow Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry of the Democratic Alliance (DA), mind-boggled in the face of such a decision.
Cachalia mocked the chief director of policy and legislation at the Department of Trade and Industry, MacDonald Netshitenzhe’s statement that the only way to stop online gambling was to ban the internet.
This is especially since, according to Cachalia, Netshitenzhe himself is the man responsible for the current situation that the country has found itself in.
This is because he claims, that it was the gambling policy from 2016, which was clearly “flawed”, that had led to the opinion in government circles that online gambling should be banned in the first place.
Cachalia goes on to explain how he is a firm believer that banning internet gambling will not be good for the economy, nor will it be a practical thing to do.
According to an article by a popular online South African casino guide, Playcasino, Cachalia also pointed out that Trade Minister Robe Davies had initially desired to support the SA Casino Association “after the group representing land-based casinos in South Africa called for a crackdown on illegal online gambling or the legalization of such sites.
CASA also called for the regulation of a legalized online gambling industry.” Cachalia took his case further by questioning the real motivation behind Davies’ decision to oppose online gambling liberalization, which Cachalia qualified by claiming that he would “never make an allegation of dishonesty when a simple explanation of stupidity will suffice.”
However, besides criticizing chief director MacDonald Netshitenzhe and Trade Minister Rob Davies, Cachalia also brought forward a set of proposals which were in line with the 2016 gambling bill that suggested looking at the gambling industry in a holistic manner, whilst also incorporating online gambling – something which, he claims, the ANC had failed to do.
“Proposals include clamping down on advertising and unsolicited messages to entice vulnerable groups to gamble,” wrote Cachlia.
“The biggest clampdown will be made on unlawful winnings via online gambling.” As a contrast, he states, the bill was considered “with the usual undue haste, the railroading, the strong-arm tactics of an ill-considered bunch of legislators, led by the nose by a minister who believes that the state’s duty is to facilitate the spiritual redemption of men by impoverishing them in this life.”
Cachalia ended his speech by saying the DA “cannot support this bill.”
Although Cachalia seemed to have had a pretty solid argument and a strong slamming of Davies’ gambling stance, the truth remains that the ANC holds a strong majority in the National Assembly and doesn’t require the DA’s support to approve the amended legislation.
This means that regardless of whatever good points Cachalia might have raised, there is nothing stopping the government from passing this bill.