Little support halts National Gambling Bill

…..article dated 7 September…..

Some provinces see Bill as invasive….

The contentious National Gambling Amendment Bill took a nosedive in the Trade and Economic  Select Committee of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) following the outcome of mandates received from the nine provinces.   When read out they showed that only three supported the Bill, with two abstentions.

A section 76 Bill such as it is, the proposals require a minimum of five provinces in support, the question of a majority not arising in procedure on NCOP matters. The Bill now goes back to the National Assembly, where a final result on its future will be debated and noted.

Two years of slog

In the meeting, Dr Evelyn Masotja  DTI, awaiting mandate results, reviewed the Bill for the record being legislation borne out of the Gambling Commission’s report of 2010 on the industry, and updating the principles established by the Wiehahn Commission on gambling some twenty odd years ago.

The anchor Act mainly limits gambling opportunities and defines what is legal; protects the players; and governs the industry integrity and fairness of the industry with rules and controls.   The amending Bill proposes extension of National Gambling Regulator (NGR) activities and the current computer monitoring systems covering a fuller spectrum of gambling activities in all provinces, plus a widening of the territory covered by its inspectorate reporting back to the NGR.

How it works

The NGR has no board and the entity is run by an administrative office by DTI, as is the case with the National Credit Regulator.  The industry was worth around R31bn in 2019/20, with total taxes collected for SARS recorded then as R3.2bn, Gauteng contributing 40%, the Western Cape  approx. 18.0% and KZN some 17.5% of the tax collection.

Dr Masotja told MPs that concerns in the provinces revolved around the lack of a reporting board  at the NGR; the extent of the monitoring system extensions into many areas of the provinces which were controlled by them; the manner of voting and of quorum issues of the co-ordinating National Gambling Policy Council (NGPC) meetings; empowerment conditions; and lack of meetings by the NGPC currently.

Big brother

Quite obviously, there is an undercurrent of rejection by certain provinces due to the invasive nature of national activities of NGR into areas forming revenue for provincial and local authorities. Mandates were produced on the 28 August, the date of the meeting in question.

In the final count, M Moshodi MP (ANC) said the Free State province was against the Bill;  M Dangor MP (ANC) recorded Gauteng province against the Bill;   Eastern Cape, not represented did not support the Bill but their absenteeism meant abstention; Timothy Brauteseth (DA, KZN) informed that KZN abstained;    M Latchminarain (MPL from Mpumalanga Legislature) was in favour of the Bill; M Mmoiemang MP (ANC) recorded that the Northern Cape province was in support of the Bill; J Londt MP (DA, Western Cape) read out that the North West Province was against the Bill.

The Bill is to go back to the National Assembly on the basis of the fact that “there was not sufficient support for the Bill”, as distinct from being voted against as would be the case in the NA.



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