South Africa to confiscate illegal online gambling winnings

south-africa-confiscate-online-gambling-winningsSouth Africa is proposing new methods to curb unauthorized online gambling, including the confiscation of any illicit online winnings. Late last week, South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) published the new National Gambling Amendment Bill, which seeks to tighten the screws on the nation’s gambling industry. The DTI is seeking public comments on the bill until Nov. 15. The proposed changes mirror those telegraphed earlier this year via the DTI’s National Gambling Policy 2016 policy paper, including repositioning the National Gambling Board as the National Gambling Regulator, allowing electronic forms of bingo (provided they don’t resemble slot machines) and requiring new monitoring of the socio-economic patterns of gambling activity. The DTI wants to repeal the portion of the 2004 Gambling Act that required the government to apply to the High Court to confiscate illegal gambling winnings. The new proposal would see illegal gambling winnings automatically forfeited to the new National Gambling Regulator. South Africa permits only online sports betting, meaning anyone who wishes to gamble at an online casino or poker site has to patronize the numerous internationally licensed sites that cater to South African gamblers. Financial institutions would be specifically banned from processing payment transactions for illegal gambling activities. The National Gambling Regulator would be tasked with compiling a list of “unlawful gambling operators” with which financial firms would be prohibited from dealing. DTI Minister Rob Davies (pictured) said the government would be keeping a sharp eye on gamblers’ online activity. “If you go online, we may not be able to stop you when you play the game, but when you win, we get you.” OTHER ITEMS The proposals would also ban gambling advertising via text message, multi-media messaging service or fax. The ban hammer will also come down on “conducting gambling schools aimed at providing gambling teaching services through the electronic media.” Bookmakers would also be required to pay for intellectual property rights on the markets they offer, including contributing “a reasonable amount towards the development of the horse racing industry.” The definition of ‘reasonable’ will be hashed out between national and provincial licensing authorities. The new regs would also allow for “bets on lottery, lottery results and sports pools” provided licensees contribute a reasonable amount towards the National Lotteries Distribution Trust Fund. Davies said some provincial licensing authorities had been allowing bookmakers to “collect bets on lottery results or even operate some kind of lottery.” The proposed changes will ensure “that the authority of the National Lotteries Act is not undermined.”