The Gambling Amendment Bill repositions the National Gambling Board to become the National Gambling Regulator. File Photo: IOL

CAPE TOWN – The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies said the National Gambling Amendment Bill that had been adopted by the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry would go a long way in strengthening the regulatory environment of the gambling industry. 

The Bill will be debated in the National Assembly.

Minister Davies said that the Bill would reposition the National Gambling Board to become the National Gambling Regulator (NGR). 
“The National Gambling Regulator is established as a public entity with a chief executive and a deputy chief executive. The NGR will function without a Board,” said Davies. 

Gambling is a concurrent competence of provincial and national government.  In order to set national norms and standards, to have policy and legislative coherence, co-operative government is important. 

According to Davies, the Bill will strengthen these elements as it will address the issue of a quorum that has been a challenge of the National Gambling Policy Council (NGPC, referred herein as the Council).

“The Council is an important forum provided for in the Gambling Act where the Minister and Members of the Executive Council (MECs) set the policy context on gambling in the Republic.  The quorum has been a challenge that affected decisions taken by the Council. 

"The Bill proposes that in the second meeting of the Council, a decision be taken by the majority of the members present in the meeting, if the first meeting was not quorate. Furthermore, national and provincial government are also obliged to consult the Council whenever there are policy and legislative amendments to ensure that policy coordination is achieved”, said Davies. 

Davies states that the Bill also proposes to enhance the powers and duties of the National Gambling Regulator on the inspectorate function in collaboration with provinces.  

“This means that punters will have additional protection as the NGR can conduct inspections in provinces in collaboration with provinces and in instances where provinces cannot accompany the NGR, the entity can do so on its own. The inspectors will investigate illegal gambling activities in South Africa and take necessary action against those illegal activities in collaboration with relevant institutions,” indicates Minister Davies. 

“The Bill extends the operation of the National Central Electronic Monitoring System to all other modes of gambling. The Bill provides for the powers that include the register of unlicensed gambling operators to enforce the ban in cases they subsequently wish to apply for a license”, said Davies.

The Bill was introduced to Parliament in August 2018, had many proposed amendments and the proposals will be addressed at a later stage.  The Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry prioritised few key issues to address in the Bill. 

The current Bill focuses on technical amendments to strengthen the governance of the NGR, to ensure co-operative government in setting the national policy on gambling and other amendments that include the procedure for the forfeiture of unlawful winnings linked to the mandate of the NGR.