South African Regulatory Bill Faces Delays

11 June 2008

South Africa's Department of Trade and Industry will soon begin consultations on the draft regulations for the National Gambling Amendment Bill. However, it will likely be this time next year before the bill is completely operational.

Prior to the bill's full implementation, the National Gambling Board must install the necessary infrastructure -- budgetary and human resources, for instance -- a department official told Interactive Gaming News.

The official, who wished to remain anonymous, said in an e-mail to IGN on Tuesday that the department is in the process of drafting the bill's regulations, which will include provisos covering advertising.

The issue of advertising -- namely, whether to allow online gambling operators to advertise their products in the country -- delayed the bill's final approval at the National Council of Provinces, the upper house of Parliament, for seven-and-a-half months.

But on May 9, 2008, both houses agreed to permit operators to advertise and the bill was passed. It awaits the signature of Thabo Mbeki, South Africa's president.

Meanwhile, the department is also working with the National Treasury to draft a separate bill addressing the taxation of Internet gambling, the official said.

However, Treasury may not be able to introduce the tax bill this year, as the deadline for introducing legislation during the current session of Parliament has passed.

Emily Swoboda is the senior staff writer at IGamingNews. She lives in St. Louis, Mo.