South Africa to put the squeeze on Online Gambling

The fact that despite online gambling being illegal in South Africa, some operators keep pushing the envelope, offering their services to South Africans and then taking the revenues offshore, apparently means that the country loses millions of Rands in tax revenue.

The authorities, spearheaded by the Casino Association of South Africa (CASA) are looking to crack down on these rogue operators. South Africa has been through an economic squeeze lately, and the shock of this slowdown has reverberated throughout the gambling sector, cutting growth to a mere 0.6% from a massive 10% in 2012-2013.

According to CASA CEO Themba Ngobese, the country, which relies heavily on tax revenue, is extremely vulnerable to any sort of erosion of the corporate tax base - which is exactly where the gambling issue strikes - and individual taxpayers will have to shoulder the extra burdens resulting from this erosion.

Already desperate for revenue amid the economic slowdown, authorities are reportedly contemplating a VAT hike, as well as the leveling of VAT on food products currently VAT-free. For a single sector, the casino industry has contributed an impressive amount of money to South Africa's budget last year: some R5.4 billion.

This year though, the above detailed revenue drop in the gambling industry translated to the loss of about R110 million from the government coffers. According to CASA, the aggressive promotion of illegal online gambling is what's mostly to blame for the above said losses, although in reality, the situation is probably a much more intricate one.

Many claim that the casinos should adapt and up their game if they feel they're not turning around as much money as they should. Some feel that the odds offered by the country's vast gambling industry are too adverse and discourage potential players. At any rate, CASA has already begun to crack down on online gamblers, operators and service providers, and they're saying that they already have results to show for their efforts.

 

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Last Updated 21 March 2015
South Africa to put the squeeze on online gambling