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South Africa And New Jersey Make Online Gambling Progression

Around the world, countries, and states continue to debate the pros and cons of online gambling, with as many officials against the pastime as for legalizing online gaming. This week, both New Jersey and South Africa have reported important news for their gambling industries, with both regions making steps that could allow legal online gambling in the future and provide residents with the chance to gamble from the comfort of their own homes.

Racing Dispute Doesn’t Hold Back Bill

However, despite the disapproval from the horse racing industry, the new bill was put in front of the Wagering Committee and Senate Government and passed with three votes in its favor with none against it. With the next step for the proposal to be placed in front of the New Jersey Senate, Senator Whelan pressed that New Jersey needed to become the first state in America to legalize online gambling and poker. Meanwhile, Governor Christie also showed interest in the new bill and said that he was hoping to see if his previous concerns over the bill had been taken under advisement and alterations had been made as needed.

Ban In South Africa Could Be Overturned

Currently, there is a total ban on online gambling, poker websites, and internet-based casinos in South Africa. In addition, residents are also restricted from betting on sites outside of South Africa’s borders, thus cutting online gambling off for all those in the country. However, in recent months, the trade and industry committee of the South African Parliament has been discussing the pros and cons of legalizing and regulating a possible online gambling industry throughout the country. With a public hearing having been held on March 2nd, areas of concern were highlighted, with underage gambling, illegal gambling operations, and money laundering three of the worst worries. But, with the government actively discussing possibilities, the country could see online gambling in the future.

Gambling Commission Urges Legalization

Though South Africa currently has no form of online gambling and prevents its residents from enjoying such pastimes, a recent review of the industry has urged for online gaming to be allowed through rigorous regulation and taxing. With this review in mind, authorities have now begun actively discussing the topic, with both Democratic Alliance MP Geordin Hill-Lewis and Committee Chairman Joan Fubbs expressing that online gambling already existed in an illegal sense and, by ignoring it, parliament would simply let an unregulated industry flourish. Hill-Lewis went on to say that trying to eradicate online gambling was near impossible and by not legalizing it the government was losing out on possible economic benefits.

Money Laundering A Top Concern

One of the country’s top concerns is in regards to money laundering, and a member of the Financial Intelligence Centre, Pieter Smit, said that online gambling allowed people to transfer funds from person to person or location to location by way of cash deposits. Whilst ‘face to face’ money laundering business is easier to track, online transactions would be difficult to trace, making trying to stop illegal operations nearly impossible. Smit went on to say that if online gambling goes ahead, then venues would have to commit to Financial Intelligence Centre regulations and that online poker and betting exchanges would need to be made illegal to limit the possibility of illegal online transactions.

National Gambling Board Against Legalization

In a matter which many may think surprising, the National Gambling Board of South Africa has said that they are not in favor of legalizing an online industry. If Parliament goes ahead and approves such an industry, the National Gambling Board said that casinos must be strictly regulated and that there should be a limit on the number of licenses given out, allowing for authorities to have manageable numbers on their books. In addition, they advised that an eight-year validity limit be placed on all licenses and said that underage and problem gamblers must be areas addressed in addition to stamping out fraudulent operations.

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The Latest In Gambling From Europe

Over the past several weeks, there has been a variety of news items from countries around Europe with regards to gambling. Although not all topics have been related to online gambling, any gaming laws passed as sure to be followed by avid online gamblers.

German Online Gambling News

The German province of Schleswig-Holstein recently broke away from the other provinces with regards to the legalization of online gambling. The province developed a liberalized proposal that was approved by the European Commission and from industry-leading online gambling operators. However, the joint proposal from the remaining 15 states was rejected by the European Commission as a violation of European Union laws.

The Schleswig-Holstein province was able to pass the proposal which made the entire industry excited for the new law. Currently, online gambling operators are anxiously awaiting the regulatory framework established by the province. Recently, the German Press Agency released a newsworthy item that Schleswig-Holstein decided to hold additional discussion with the other provinces regarding the state Gambling Treaty until at least September 2011.

This has come as a major surprise because of the variance between the two proposals. Schleswig-Holstein proposed unlimited licenses and a 20 percent tax on all gross profits. However, the proposal from the other states called for the approval of only seven licenses and a 16.66 percent tax. The German State Gambling Treaty is scheduled to expire in January 2012.

Spanish Online Gambling News

In Spain, the government is fully committed to the legalization then regulation of online gambling. A recent study conducted by uncovered that the benefits of the activity to Spain are much more than originally expected. Spanish regulation of online gambling will lead to tax and license revenues equating to approximately 137.5 million Euros in 2012. Also, this is expected to bring up to 120,000 new jobs due to the number of currently active players.

United Kingdom Gambling News

The latest from the U.K. pertains to a proposed amendment to the UK Gambling Act of 2005 as announced by the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport. Unfortunately, the Gambling Commission is only currently sharing information with sports governing bodies. The amendment is attempting to include the International Olympic Committee and other sports bodies to share information on the suspicious betting activity.

Europe has been a leader in online gambling regulations for several years. Therefore, when different countries talk, the gaming community listens. It appears as if all three countries are on the right track to implementation and keeping their citizens safe from moving to unregulated sites.

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The Online Gambling Bill From Massachusetts

The most recent news reported from the United States with regards to online gambling is from the State of Massachusetts which is contemplating implementing a regulated intrastate gambling system. The proposal was filed in late January 2011 under Bill S.132. It has resurfaced because the local newspaper, the West Roxbury Patch, reported on the recent hearing from the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure.

Authorization Of A Probationary Two-Year Program

During the hearing, it was determined that the bill will authorize the Massachusetts Lottery Commission to implement a probationary two-year online gambling program. Also, there have been claims that estimate the state can expect $1 billion per year from the program. The Senator who proposed the bill indicated that the implementation of this system would be much safer for its residents than wagering at offshore casinos.

Details Of The Bill

The bill is similar to the Canadian online gambling system that would require prepaid player accounts and the State would monitor all gambling activity while expanding age verification methods and work toward minimizing problem gambling. The pilot program would be used to explore Internet sales channels, implement the latest innovations and evaluate new technologies and other delivery mechanisms. A report would be issued after 18 months regarding the success of the program.

A Statement from the Treasurer

The Massachusetts Treasurer noted that the sale of online lottery tickets in addition to games of chance would violate provisions of the federal Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act due to the required payment through credit cards. The claim was countered by the fact that New York, Virginia, North Dakota, Maryland, and Minnesota all currently sell lottery tickets through the Internet.

Support For The Bill

The Treasurer later stated that the lottery measure should still be passed regardless of his concerns. He felt that since Washington is moving toward a legalized online gambling system, Massachusetts should be one of the first States to take advantage of the legalization rather than being reactive.

Toward the end of 2010, provisions for the legalization of online gambling were eliminated from a larger bill on gambling. This bill proposed the establishment of new land casinos across the State of Massachusetts and was passed by both legislative bodies but vetoed by the governor. It is commendable that the state seeks to be one of the pioneers of the highly debated topic. If they can quickly implement a system, it could act as a model of other states.