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    February 2007
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    Default 'Tide has changed' on South Africa regulation

    The South African Parliament met earlier this week to discuss the country’s controversial National Gambling Amendment Bill and both the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and opposition Democratic Alliance members were critical of its content.

    The bill, which was labelled a "complete mess" by Cape Town-based gaming lawyer Garron Whitesman in July, calls for changes to definitions in the Gambling Act of 2004, re-positions the National Gambling Board as the National Gambling Regulator; offers greater powers to the regulator; prohibits dog racing and betting on dog racing; strengthens the regulation of casinos, limited payout machines and bingo and other changes.

    Whitesman said in a statement issued

    “Whilst it is still very early days in the process, it appears that a positive watershed moment may have been reached in policy as the position overtly adopted by the members of the Portfolio Committee was materially different to that adopted a number of years ago when the issue was previously considered.

    “A much more realistic and sensible view seems to be being adopted by the parliamentarians ultimately responsible for the setting of gambling policy in South Africa.

    Members of both sides spoke about how South Africa now has the opportunity to address the regulation and licensing of online gambling in the country.

    Whitesman was particularly encouraged by the “overtly different position” adopted by ANC members, with “good plain common sense being applied to the favourability of a regulatory, rather than prohibitory, regime and their level of insight into the issue”.

    He added: “I am very hopeful that this is the beginning of a meaningful and appropriate change that is very long overdue.”
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