Online Casino Legalization Possible in SA

The online gambling world watched in November as South African police of the organized crime unit busted several online casino operators in that country, and now may watch in the first part of 2006 as South Africa legalizes online gambling. This is the case even as online casino gambling in South Africa remains a fringe sector of the overall gambling industry in SA.

The online gambling world watched in November as South African police of the organized crime unit busted several online casino operators in that country, and now may watch in the first part of 2006 as South Africa legalizes online gambling. Reports coming in over the online casino newswires indicate that if a certain proposal put forward by the national gambling board is accepted by Trade and Industry Minister Mandisi Mpahlwa, the currently illegal use of online casinos by the relatively few South Africans who have some sort of internet connection (one in ten households) could transform itself into a mainstream practice.

This is the case even as online casino gambling in South Africa remains a fringe sector of the overall gambling industry in SA. The national gambling board receives on average over a period of three months 361 calls, and only a couple of them pertain to online casino requests. South African companies, should online casino gambling be legalized, could stand to profit from an industry that generated profits of US$3 billion in 2001, US$8 billion in 2004, and by 2010 could be seeing revenues worth tens times the amount in 2004 or more…not too shabby a showing in dollars even though the United States of America, like South Africa, views gambling at online casino sites as illegal.

One of the major influences for the decision to recommend online casino legalization is the desire to prevent criminal influences from taking control of the currently illicit (in South Africa) online gambling trade and establish government regulations and consumer protections so that South Africans are not exploited by non-regulated, illegal companies providing questionably safe online casino services to even the smallest of segments of the South African population. Nothing is assured, at this point, but if South Africa goes the way of online casino legalization you can bet online gambling enthusiasts in other countries are going to increase the pressure on their governments as well if those governments see online casinos as illegal.

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