Report No. 276
2. South Africa
6.9 Gambling activities in South Africa were governed previously by the South Africa Gambling Act, 1965, that banned all forms of betting and gambling except on horse-racing which is considered to be a sport. It was seen that this total prohibition on gambling, sparked more illegal casinos to crop up. Therefore, it was recognised that the licensing and regulating of gambling in the country could:
- Generate significant economic benefit to the country.
- Create meaningful employment opportunities.
- Contribute towards the advancement of persons previously disadvantaged by discrimination on the basis of race.
6.10 Thus, the National Gambling Act 1996 was enacted, which stood repealed by the National Gambling Act, 2004. The primary objective of the new enactment was to include provisions with greater precision and therefore to co-ordinate activities relating to the concurrent exercise of legislative competence and to provide for the licensing and regulating of interactive gambling by the National Gambling Board.
6.11 Section 3(a) of the 2004 Act defines gambling to include "placing or accepting a bet or wager." As per section 4(1)(a), a person "places or accepts a bet or wager when that person. stakes money or anything of value on a fixed-odds bet, or an open bet, with a bookmaker on any contingency." It can be inferred from the definition of gambling that informal bets conducted on a non-commercial basis are not illegal, contingent on the fact that the party involved is not a bookmaker, or derives a significant portion of his livelihood from gambling. Moreover, no one should be paid a fee or gain anything from the activity other than the winning on the bet itself. These types of gambling activities are legal and can be licensed. There also exist provisions for expressly allowing casinos to be set up and operated.
6.12 Online gambling is referred to in the 2004 Act as "interactive gaming". Interactive gaming is essentially the engaging in or making available of an "interactive game". An "interactive game" is defined under section 2 of the Act as:
a gambling game played or available to be played through the mechanism of an electronic agent accessed over the internet other than a game that can be accessed for play only in licensed premises, and only if the licensee of such premises is authorised to make such a game available for play.
6.13 The National Gambling Board (NGB) established under the 2004 Act, effectively regulates gambling activities. The Board ensures observance of nationally and internationally recognised standards of compliance thereby ensuring and maintaining the reputation of the industry.
6.14 The NGB regulates gambling activities such as bingo, casinos, limited payout machines and racing & betting. Provincial licensing authorities can also issue licences under the Act. Both the national and provincial legislatures have concurrent power to make laws related to the gambling activities. By issuing licences, the NGB and provincial authorities keep track of gambling activities as well as the individuals indulging therein.
6.15 Gross Gambling Revenue (GGR) generated in the casino industry increased by 4.5% from 2014 to 2015 and by 7.4% from 2015 to 2016. The generation of GGR increased by 4.3% from R20.9 billion in 2013 to R21.8billion in 2014, by 9.6% to R23.9 billion in 2015 and by 9.9% to R26.3 billion in 2016. During the year of 2016 casinos accounted for the highest GGR, being 70.5% as compared to other gambling modes. The collection of taxes/levies increased by 6.6% from R2.1 billion in 2013 to R2.2billion in 2014, by 10.7% to R2.5 billion in 2015, and by 11.9% to R2.8 billion in 2016.129