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Is the ice finally starting to thaw for online casinos in South Africa?

Perhaps, at least the first signs are encouraging. As you most likely are well aware of, South Africa has been inching ever so slowly towards legislation legalize and licensing online casinos. However, much to the frustration of South African players eager to enjoy online casinos, the pace towards even partial legalization has been agonizingly slow. So slow, in fact, you could even call it a “glacial pace” (global warming debates aside). Anyway, what’s new is that it appears that South Africans now have a reason to hope and to believe their long wait is finally ending.

If you recall, this whole drama began way back in June of 2011. At that time, the South African Gambling Review Commission (GRC) issued a report on gambling and online gambling. This report was ground breaking because it not only recommended, but actually urged the legislature to go ahead and set up online gambling regulations and to establish licensing programs for online casinos. Sadly, a full two years later, no real action has been taken on the part of the South Africa legislature. Actually, this is quite puzzling if you look at it from the perspective of tax revenues available to the government. Even conservative estimates forecast at least an R120m per year in tax revenue. Also, remember that figure does not even include licensure and other fees that may be tacked onto the online casino operator’s bill.

Yet, there seems to be a fresh ray of hope for South Africa, a crack in the ice if you will. You see, just recently, a minister from the Trade and Industry branch made headline news with his recent announcement about online gambling in South Africa. This minister, Rob Davies boldly announced plans to establish a new regulatory authority. This new regulatory authority will be in charge of overseeing the national lottery, sports pools, betting exchanges, and….. (drum roll please), online gambling. Finally!

Yes, it's absolutely true that just like many of our trusted officials in the government, the promises were big, and the details were small. But still, this really is a monumental event. South African online casino fans will most likely look back to Mr. Davies and see him as the ice breaker, the one who finally started the process towards legalization of South African online casinos. On that note, thank you Mr. Davies for taking a bold step forward.

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