Geordin Hill-Lewis, South Africa’s Shadow Minister of Trade and Industry, is gearing up for what will be another of his already multiple attempts to convince South African Parliament that legalizing and regulating online gambling in the country is the right thing to do. While he appears more confident than ever before that the bill he plans to introduce in February has a legitimate chance to succeed, he faces the same tough opposition that ultimately resulted in the failure of each of his previous attempts.
Serving as a Democratic Alliance MP, Hill-Lewis’ proposal calls for the National Gambling Board to oversee the licensing and regulation of online gambling throughout the nation’s nine different provinces, but in close consultation with each of the provinces’ gambling authorities. While on the surface this appears to make perfect sense, one obstacle that will surely stand in the way of the success of this proposal is the fact that the National Gambling Board was recently suspended as a result of purported corruption.
Another obstacle that will be challenging to overcome is the opposition by the Casino Association of South Africa. Their position, which has been documented many times before, is that online gambling reduces jobs and revenues for land-based gambling establishments. This is of course of great concern to many, but there is a legitimate argument to be made that officially legalizing online gambling would help limit revenues that are currently being lost to areas outside of South Africa.
While it remains to be seen if anything will come of his latest attempt to push for the legalization and regulation of online gambling in the country, one thing is certainly clear, which is that Hill-Lewis is without question one of the most determined political figures in South Africa.