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.