Parliament to adopt gambling law

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The National Assembly may this week finally adopt the National Gambling Amendment Bill that, in its current form, will allow online and cellphone gambling, as well as limited advertising for e-interactive gambling.

The Bill has had a tortuous time since being introduced into Parliament last year. Many members of both the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) had moral, religious or ideological problems with gambling, and sought to restrict the pass-time and ban outright the advertising thereof.

MPs were told this would be unconstitutional and that it was better to license and regulate the industry than drive it underground.

But the Trade and Industry Portfolio Committee on 9 May approved the Bill for a second time after endorsing some of the changes the NCOP made to it, after it had okayed the draft law the first time. The Bill may now go before the full National Assembly to be enacted again and then go to the president for his assent and promulgation.

The amendments will put the National Gambling Board in charge of licensing and regulating e-gambling and give the minister of trade and industry the power to prescribe and proscribe advertising.

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