South Africa: gambling bill amendment up for comments

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South Africans have 45 days to comment on government’s proposed changes to the Liquor and National Gambling Amendment bills as Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies detailed tougher measures in both sectors at Parliament this week.

Mr. Davies said it’s evident alcohol abuse is increasing in South Africa adding that five billion litres of alcohol are consumed annually, which is higher than the global average.

The new amendment bill proposes civil liability to manufacturers and suppliers, especially those supplying liquor to illegal outlets.

Proposals include raising the legal alcohol consumption age from 18 to 21 and a crackdown on liquor advertising, especially those targeting young people.

Davies said online gambling is strictly prohibited and he wants tougher measures to be implemented to curb it.

South Africans frittered away R17.2 billion on various forms of gambling in 2014.

This is according to Davies who considered the national gambling board must be given more powers and become the regulator.

Proposals include clamping down on advertising and unsolicited messages to entice vulnerable groups to gamble.

The biggest clampdown will be made on unlawful winnings via online gambling.

Davies said the financial intelligence centre will work with financial institutions to verify and cease online winnings.

“If you go online, we may not be able to stop you when you pay the game, but when you win, we get you.”

South Africans gamble on horseracing, gaming machines and bingo at 40 casinos countrywide.

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