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South African Online Gambling Debate Rumbles On

The latest debate on the advantages and disadvantages of legalization addressed underage gambling, money laundering and illegal operations.

On March 2, the South African Parliament's trade and industry committee held its latest meeting on the potential legalization and regulation of online gambling.

The National Gambling Board is against online gambling, but advised strict underage gambling prevention measures in the event of legalization. The board said gambling licenses should be limited and be valid for eight years.

Pieter Smit, of the Financial Intelligence Centre, addressed the money laundering risk, saying that online transactions are difficult to trace. South Africa's Banking Association echoed Smit's concerns, saying it is impossible to distinguish between legal and illegal online transactions.

Smit recommended that online poker and online betting exchanges remain illegal, and that online operators be subject to strict regulatory measures.

However, Committee chairman Joan Fubbs and Democratic Alliance MP Geordin Hill-Lewis stated that prohibition is not working in South Africa. By allowing the unregulated market to flourish, they argued, South Africa is being deprived of tangible economic benefits.

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