Martin Sack calls for iGaming regulation in South Africa

Calls for online gambling legislation update in South Africa

A PROMINENT online gambling identity in South Africa has called for the Government to regulate iGaming.

Martin Sack, who is the founder and director of gambling consultancy company Brainstorm Online, said key stakeholders in retail casinos in South Africa were no longer standing in the way of legislation surrounding online casinos.

Sack, who has held several key digital positions at Sun International, believes gambling companies who are traditionally land-based operations are now beginning to understand the demand for online options.

“I think if you take a look at the major players in the land-based industry in South Africa, it’s absolutely clear that there is a desire to have an online presence in some way shape or form,” said Sack, who was speaking on a recent panel at SBC Digital – Africa, said.

“I don’t believe there is anybody in the land-based industry left in South Africa that is fighting against online or any of the contingencies for online.

“There were issues last year where some of the contingencies were hotly debated but those seem to have just disappeared.”   

At the current time under South African gambling laws the only form of real money online gambling that are legal are sports betting, lotto betting and live casino. The fragmented laws ban forms of online gambling such as slots and RNG games.

These restrictions surrounding iGaming in South Africa are circumvented by many offshore online casinos targeting Rand-depositing customers. This essentially means millions of Rand flows to offshore gambling sites without any tax going to lawmakers.

Because online casinos are almost legal in South Africa it has created confusion among citizens, who are unlikely to seek out what licensing a casino site has, or where it is based. This led the National Gambling Board to recently issue a statement reiterating online casinos are banned.

General manager of Sunbet Nitesh Matai, also speaking on the Lie of the Land: The future of brick-and-mortar casinos panel, said he was certain digital gambling was the future, but urged caution and proper legislation to make it work.

“We work within a very defined and regulated corporate environment as well as a very defined and corporate and regulated gaming environment,” he said.

“It’s very easy for an international operator that isn’t subject to those regulations and corporate governance that we are in South Africa, as a listed entity, to come into this market and have a dip.

“We have the desire, we have the need. The appetite is there to go online but it has to come within a framework that’s properly regulated and managed.”

** The World Gambling List does not promote offshore online casinos to South Africans, with all brands advertised legal betting sites, with many having live casino games.

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