UK-based online betting exchange, Betfair, has welcomed recommendations by members of SA’s Parliament to legalise online gambling.
Following months of public hearings and deliberations, the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry gave its final verdict on the report created by the Gambling Review Commission.
The Portfolio Committee announced its recommendations to the minister, which stated that “The Minister should consider legalising betting exchanges as it is a form of online gambling which should be regulated in line with the Gambling Review Commission’s recommendations.”
The Gambling Review Commission was set up by the DTI to assess the state of the South African gambling industry, and to create a report advising on which new forms of gambling should be allowed in the country.
This report was finalised in 2010 and tabled in the National Parliament last year. The National Assembly Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry was tasked with analysing the findings and conducting public hearings, and then voting on the recommendations contained in the report of the Gambling Review Commission.
Betfair announced last month that it would shut down its operating activities in SA, blocking access to its services from SA-based IP addresses.
The group is, however, applying for a sportsbook licence in the Western Cape as online sports betting is tolerated in the country.
Betfair public affairs manager for SA, Thomas Tuxworth, said: “As a responsible global operator, committed to investment in South Africa, Betfair is pleased with the recommendation that betting exchanges be included in any future regulatory regime in South Africa.
“Betfair looks forward to participating in a future regulatory regime which achieves these objectives, contributing to a market place that offers South African consumers a competitive, innovative and safe environment to wager in.”
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Minister Rob Davies, is set to consider the recommendations of Parliament and draft a white paper on this recommendation and others, and this will be presented to the Parliament in the coming weeks.
It will then return to committee, be debated in the main chamber of the Parliament, and voted on, with the potential to become law within the next 12-18 months.