Eastern Cape MEC Mlungisi Mvoko believes the potential tax revenue from legalising gambling would be a great boon to the province and South Africa.
Member of the executive council (MEC) of economic development for the Eastern Cape Mlungisi Mvoko believes gambling, in all its forms, needs to be made legal in South Africa to increase tax revenue and create jobs.
Indusry can increase tax revenue
Mvoko was addressing the 15th Gaming Regulators Africa Forum taking place at The Boardwalk Hotel in Port Elizabeth and told delegates how much of a benefit the gambling industry has been to the Eastern Province already.
“It is still our fervent belief that through the infusion of new technologies in the 4th Industrial Revolution and optimal regulation, gaming could lead to an increase in the revenue base of the province,” he said.Mlungisi Mvoko
He likened the potential of the gambling industry to that of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, which have exploded in value over the last few years.
“It comes as no surprise that technology has had a remarkable impact on the gaming industry. So, if you are wondering how technology is impacting the gaming industry then you need to look no further than how a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin has revolutionalised the realm of online users.”Mlungisi Mvoko
This year’s conference, themed “Fourth Industrial Revolution and its Impact on Gaming in Africa”, brings together representatives from countries such as Angola, Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Seychelles, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
The conference is focussing on global economy shifts and the impact of this on the global gambling industry.
Revenue can cover for other struggling sectors
Mvoko told delegates the shift was necessary to help the province mitigate losses caused by the ongoing global economic crisis that has had a deep impact on the car manufacturing and tourism industries that are key to the Eastern Cape economy.
“Obviously, in a province where these industries are major job creators and key contributors to the gross domestic product, the effects are more raving. It is therefore critical that alternative industries like legalised gaming are enhanced to diversify our economic base.”Mlungisi Mvoko
Mvoko believes the gambling industry should be boosted in a manner that supported and facilitated economic development.
South Africa’s attitude towards gambling
Gambling is mostly legal in South Africa and in 1994, when the new democratic government came to power, all gambling was officially legalised.
However, the 1996 National Gambling Act instituted provisions for regulation of the gambling sector, specifically horse racing, and a system of where prospective casinos would need to apply for a license.
Online gambling, on the other hand, is heavily regulated and remains completely illegal to anyone accessing a gambling website from an IP address originating from South Africa unless they are accessing a site that is licensed by a provincial gambling board.
Even then, only sports betting websites will be considered for a license. No other form of online gambling is tolerated in South Africa and this is where Mvoko is hoping the rules will be relaxed.
Unfortunately, South Africa’s stance to online gambling is so strong because of the perceived potential for abuse, especially to the most vulnerable members of society.
And it is for this reason that Mvoko is likely to face some pretty firm resistance if he takes this line to national government in order to change the law.