Intralot online in South Africa; African regulators call for gaming law harmonization


intralot-south-africa-gaming-lawIntralot’s South African online sports betting operation, which received the blessing of the Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board in January, has gone live. was cleared to offer fixed odds sports betting – the only form of online gambling currently legal in the country – via online, mobile and telephone to South African punters effective June 1. Dr. Yannis Rondiris, Intralot’s managing director of Africa Sub-Sahara region, said JustBet would “satisfy all players’ needs and habits,” so long as none of those players need to play poker, slots and table games or make a peer-to-peer wager.

Broadening the range of online gambling options available to Africans was a hot topic at last week’s Gaming Regulators Africa Forum (GRAF) in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. Fortune Sekgaphane, the CEO of South Africa’s North West province Gambling Board and chairman of GRAF’s technical subcommittee on illegal gambling, told the gathering that his country’s “regrettable” approach to online gambling largely mirrored that of the United States – charging operators with crimes rather than instituting a regulatory framework that permits them to operate. As reported by Gambling Compliance, Sekgaphane argued that legislation should be used as tool to aid states in collecting revenues, not as a club with which to punish operators. Acting otherwise was essentially “disadvantaging your people.”

That wasn’t exactly the view being voiced at the National Gambling and Liquor Policy Council meeting in Cape Town last month. ITWeb reported that the council, which consists of minister of trade and industry Rob Davies and his provincial counterparts, passed a resolution calling for the development of a clear national strategy for ‘combating and eradicating’ international online gambling operators offering betting options not yet permitted by South African law. This would be accomplished in part by adding ‘teeth’ to South Africa’s National Gambling Board (NGB), enabling it to work more closely with law enforcement to stamp out this scourge. The NGB intends to introduce an ‘action plan’ at the council’s next meeting. One step forward, two steps back…