South African casino operators lobby govt for law change
South African casino operators such as Tsogo Sun and Sun International are quietly pushing the government to pass legislation allowing online casinos to operate alongside the already legalised and regulated online sports betting industry.
According to a statement released to the media, they are hoping that the hard work put into the 2008 National Gambling Amendment Act to formally legalise online casino gambling will finally be completed.
Kelvin Jones, senior editor of PlayCasino, explained: “For many years, South Africa’s online gambling industry has been operating in a grey zone. The hard blow which the industry took during the COVID-19 lockdown had retail casino operators looking anew at alternative revenue options, and the obvious focus has been on internet gambling. These operators need to reshape their business in the wake of the pandemic and obviously they want to avoid retrenching staff. The best way to do so is to divest their businesses, and what better – and more proven – way to do so than to offer their services online?”
“South Africans are huge fans of online casinos,” continued Jones. “Millions of South Africans already play at regulated, licensed offshore sites that are fully focused on the local player and even allow them to pay in ZAR. Well-established and reputable casino operators such as Tsogo Sun and Sun International are obviously aware of this, but they want to do things the right way. They want the government to give the green light for them to tap into the multi-million Rand online casino industry.”
Sun International has been campaigning the South African Department of Trade and Industry to allow land-based casinos the rights to offer online casino games. Its SunBet brand launched draw-based games several months ago, and plans to introduce online versions of live dealer titles.
Tsogo Sun has also urged the government to take another look at existing online gambling legislation. The group’s CEO, Chris du Toit said that online gaming was a “natural progression” for the business, which is already at an advanced stage of moving into online sports betting.
“The South African government should not pass up on this momentous trend,” said Jones. “As we’ve seen in other parts of the world, it’s not a given that land-based casino operators are fully supportive of an online gambling industry. Here is the perfect opportunity for the operators to build their businesses, avoid retrenchments, increase their revenue and offset the terrible losses caused by the pandemic. On the other hand, the government will benefit from increased tax revenue and a stronger economy. It really is a win-win.”