Remote Gambling Bill [PMB-2015]: Input from Department of Trade and Industry

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Trade, Industry and Competition

27 May 2015
Chairperson: Ms J Fubbs (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) provided input on the Remote Gambling Bill tabled by Mr G Hill-Lewis (DA) and outlined reasons why the DTI did not support the legalisation of remote (online) gambling in the country at this point. In 2014, DTI presented policy recommendations after considering all recommendations against economic contributions, unemployment, poverty levels, over indebtedness and social impact. A policy document that encompassed all policy proposals had been published for comment; it had been consulted upon and tabled. The policy of South Africa only allowed for land-based casinos; land-based limited payout machines (LPMs), bingo in the traditional form and horse racing betting.  Statistic South Africa reported that 32.9% of South Africans were living in poverty in 2011 and the unemployment rate was almost at 25% with young people being the most affected. The National Credit Regulator (NCR) study of 2014 revealed that the number of consumers with impaired records (struggling to pay) increased by 343 000 to 9.95 million from 9.60 million in the previous quarter. Problem gambling trends were growing and the rate showed 0.6% in March 2011, 1.5% in November 2011 and 2.9% in November 2012.

The Department said that there was no policy in the country on how online gambling would be regulated and enforced, no regulatory impact assessment or cost benefits analysis had been conducted and it was not clear how online gambling would affect benefits derived from land-based forms of gambling in terms of employment and infrastructure development. Section 2 of the Remote Gambling Bill deleted section 2A (h) and (g) which related to the protection and advancement of the historically disadvantaged groups and to protect society against the overstimulation of gambling. These two principles were still very important in the regulation of gambling. Sections 10, 11 and 12 vested the regulation of remote gambling with provinces and the borderless nature of remote gambling necessitated regulation by a central body to ensure limited number of licences. Section 37A removed the Minister’s powers to determine the number of licences in the country and such might cause overstimulation of the demand to gamble, thus, each province would determine own licence limits.

The 2012 Omnibus Survey by the NGB indicated that 29.6% of gambling participants were unemployed, 14.8% occupied part-time jobs, 37.8% had no formal schooling, only primary education or some high school education (grade 12 excluded); and 29.4% earned less than R1 000 per month. The 2013 NGB study indicated that individuals in the age groups 25-34, and 35-44 were more predisposed to gambling than the population average. Online gambling was more likely to be harmful as it relates to youth and poor people. The potential for revenue contribution, but no authority could be empowered through licensing conditions to force operators to set up backroom offices in South Africa. Licensing conditions were not laws and neither the NGB nor the Provincial Licensing Authorities would be able to enforce those conditions. Regulating an industry in part recognised that competition was not really possible in the normal sense. This type of ‘competition’ was not in the best interest of the consumer, because of the harmful aspect. In terms of casinos, licensing required significant investment through the building of the casinos and hotels and it was reciprocated by some level of protection against competition to allow for recouping from the investment that had been made. Regulating an industry recognised that the industry might not be sustainable if it was opened up to unlimited competition. It essentially lowered the prices for people to harm themselves and those people in turn became a burden to the state.

Having considered the relevant factors, South Africa was not ready to expand gambling in the manner proposed in the Remote Gambling Bill. Considering the harm, the potential to generate tax revenue could not be motivation to legalise online gambling and the DTI recommended that remote gambling remained illegal. Similarly, the NGB, said having considered the Remote Gambling Bill and taking into consideration how the NGB implemented its legislated mandate, the proposed provisions in the Bill posed a governance threat to the NGB’s governance compliance model and therefore did not support the Bill.

The Committee asked for updated statistics to inform the Committee position and also questioned the enforceability of licensing provisions that spoke to employment opportunities. The Committee wanted to know how and to what extent the NGB was enforcing prohibition currently. There was some discussion on the ‘uncontrollable’ nature of cyberspace, the priority in protecting the vulnerable, the cost of enforcing prohibition versus the cost of regulation and the capacity of the government and the DTI to enforce prohibition.

In response Mr Hill-Lewis labeled the response from the Department as ‘disappointing and slap dash and superficial’.  The status quo was prohibition, but it was prohibition in name only. The point of the Bill was to introduce control and not allow carte blanche and unlimited online gambling.  DTI’s policy document asked for the support of prohibition without any indication on where the resources would come from to fund anything near to the kind of investment that would be needed. To continue with prohibition in name only would not cost anything, but if money was needed to fund enforcement, online gambling needed to be regulated. He said he presented evidence the previous day that stated that problem gambling in the online space was at least no worse than casino gambling at roughly between 2% and 4% of gamblers. It was better to deal with that harm, because online gambling allowed for the proactive identification of problem gamblers, because within minutes they could receive a call from a counsellor. The DTI presented no evidence to show what harm it would result in. he also said that “it was an incredible statement that DTI expected a regulatory impact assessment”, because as a private member he did not have the resources of the state to conduct a regulatory impact assessment. The DTI should have done a regulatory impact assessment, because the policy of the past 10 years had been to regulate online gambling and he asked where the regulatory impact assessment was to change that policy. The DTI’s position on revenue was disingenuous, because there was huge potential for jobs and it could be made more explicit in the Bill. The NGB would be the final arbiter in the licensing process and the Bill strengthened the role of the NGB.

Meeting report

The Chairperson emphasised the importance of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) global conference for young people and Mr B Mkongi (ANC), a Member of the Committee, was attending in Tokyo. She asked the Committee Secretary to write letters to the full time Members of the Committee representing the IFP and the FF+ since no apologies had been tendered for their absences from Committee meetings.

The agenda for the meeting was adopted.

Input from the Department of Trade and Industry on the Remote Gambling Bill [PMB-2015]

Ms Zodwa, Ntuli, Deputy Director-General: Consumer and Corporate Regulation Division, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), said the purpose of the presentation was to provide input into the Remote Gambling Bill tabled by Mr G Hill-Lewis (DA). The presentation would outline reasons why the DTI did not support the legalisation of remote (online) gambling in the country at this point and propose policy measures the Department would adopt to deal with online gambling in the country.

To provide some contextual background, Ms Ntuli said the1995 Wiehahn Commission recommended strict regulation of gambling in the country and in 1996 the National Gambling Act was passed. In 2004 the current National Gambling Act replaced the 1996 Act to address cooperative governance through the establishment of the National Gambling Policy Council (NGPC). The National Gambling Amendment Act was passed in 2008 to regulate interactive gambling and the Act awaited promulgation of the Regulations. In 2009 Parliament queried the Interactive Gambling Regulations due to doubts over protection of minors and overstimulation. The Gambling Review Commission (GRC) was established in 2009 to conduct a holistic study on the gambling industry and to deal with policy issues raised by the Portfolio Committee. Upon conclusion of the study, the GRC tabled its report in Cabinet and in Parliament and during 2011 and 2012 both the Portfolio and Select Committee on Trade and Industry produced their own report recommendations. In 2014, DTI presented policy recommendations after considering all recommendations against economic contributions, unemployment, poverty levels, over indebtedness and social impact. A document that encompassed all policy proposals had been published for comment; it had been consulted upon and tabled. The policy of South Africa had not changed and only allowed for land-based casinos; land-based limited payout machines (LPMs), bingo in the traditional form and horse racing betting. Regulation had different facets and included in those facets was prohibition. In reference to an analogy raised in the previous day’s discussion, Ms Ntuli said the trade of liquor in this country was allowed, but within certain parameters and limitations and certain modes of liquor manufacturing was banned. In the same vein, gambling was allowed but with limitations and parameters.

Mr MacDonald Netshitenzhe, Chief Director: Policy and Legislation, DTI, said the NGPC was a structure set up to coordinate concurrent jurisdiction to ensure policy consistency and harmony. The Minister and relevant provincial MECs were voting members of the NGPC. The NGB and Provincial Licensing Authorities implemented respective legislation with a clear mandate and constitutional provisions were clear on the competency of national and provincial government – online gambling being a national competence. The published Policy Document was tabled, deliberated and adopted at the NGPC prior to it being published for comments.

Law enforcement continuously fought illegal operations such as fafi, online gambling, dog racing, dice and card, hence the proposal to enhance legislative challenges to effectively enforce against illegal operations. Other authorised operators offering betting of lotto results and sports betting in the pretext of licences issued under the gambling legislation were in direct contravention of the Lotteries Act. Statistic South Africa reported that 32.9% of South Africans were living in poverty in 2011 and the unemployment rate was almost at 25% with young people being the most affected. The National Credit Regulator (NCR) study of 2014 revealed that the number of consumers with impaired records (struggling to pay) increased by 343 000 to 9.95 million from 9.60 million in the previous quarter. Problem gambling trends were growing and the rate showed 0.6% in March 2011, 1.5% in November 2011 and 2.9% in November 2012.

There was no policy in the country on how online gambling would be regulated and enforced. Adequate enforcement capacity was a must before regulation could be considered as gambling regulation should protect society. No regulatory impact assessment or cost benefits analysis had been conducted and it was not clear how online gambling would affect benefits derived from land-based forms of gambling in terms of employment and infrastructure development. The impact assessment should include any impact on the escalation of problem gambling. Section 2 of the Remote Gambling Bill deleted section 2A (h) and (g) which related to the protection and advancement of the historically disadvantaged groups and to protect society against the overstimulation of gambling. These two principles were still very important in the regulation of gambling. Sections 10, 11 and 12 vested the regulation of remote gambling with provinces and the borderless nature of remote gambling necessitated regulation by a central body to ensure limited number of licences. Section 37A removed the Minister’s powers to determine the number of licences in the country and such might cause overstimulation of the demand to gamble, thus, each province would determine own licence limits.

The GRC policy matrix was considered when reaching the DTI decision. The policy considerations showed that there was a demand for online gambling, but it would result in harm and proliferation. No regulatory impact assessment or statistical evidence supported the legalisation of online gambling and there was no information provided on how online gambling would impact the growing gambling problem. It could lead to unfair competition since no significant jobs will be created.

In terms of jurisdictions, in the USA, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, 2006 prohibited banks from processing payments related to online gambling. Some states in the USA like Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware permitted online gambling. Singapore recently banned online gambling and introduced measures to block local and offshore websites providing online gambling. In France online casino gambling was illegal while online betting on horseracing and other games that required some kind of skill were permitted. South Africa could source the blocking technology as part of enforcement against online gambling.

The 2012 Omnibus Survey by the NGB indicated that 29.6% of gambling participants were unemployed, 14.8% had part-time jobs, 37.8% had no formal schooling, only primary education or some high school education (grade 12 excluded); and 29.4% earned less than R1 000 per month. The 2013 NGB study indicated that individuals in the age groups 25-34, and 35-44 were more predisposed to gambling than the population average. Online gambling was more likely to be harmful as it relates to youth and poor people.

Having considered the relevant factors, South Africa was not ready to expand gambling in the manner proposed in the Remote Gambling Bill. Any policy choice in the country should be motivated by the readiness of that country to introduce such policy. There was no policy to support the proposal to legalise online gambling and no regulatory impact assessment had been conducted to ensure that there were no unintended consequences. South Africa would develop laws to effectively enhance enforcement against illegal online gambling.  Considering the harm, the potential to generate tax revenue could not be motivation to legalise online gambling and the DTI recommended that remote gambling remained illegal.

Ms Ntuli said the focus had been on the principle, policy and the factors that needed to be considered. The contribution in terms of the current and existing modes of gambling was enough in the sense that it motivated allowing these kinds of gambling. It was understood that there was a possibility that remote gambling could also contribute, but no authority could be empowered through licensing conditions to force operators to set up back-offices in South Africa. Licensing conditions were not laws and neither the NGB nor the Provincial Licensing Authorities would be able to enforce those conditions. The questions then became how much resources would have to be put into ensuring those offices were established and stayed in existence, how many employment opportunities would be created and if those opportunities would be worth eroding the revenue that the current casino industry contributed to the country. On both the policy documents that dealt with liquor and gambling there were proposals to increase the tax revenue to contribute to combating the harmful effects of the activities. At this point the state was spending more revenue on dealing with the harmful effects than it was actually receiving. A comment was made yesterday that introducing online gambling would enhance competition in the gambling industry. Regulating an industry in part recognised that competition was not really possible in the normal sense. This type of ‘competition’ was not in the best interest of the consumer, because of the harmful aspect. In regulating an industry, certain demands were made in respect of the operators. In terms of casinos, licensing required significant investment through the building of the casinos and hotels and it was reciprocated by some level of protection against competition to allow for recouping from the investment that had been made. Regulating an industry recognised that the industry might not be sustainable if it was opened up to unlimited competition. In most countries competition in the gambling industry was limited because it was a conscious and policy decision to regulate the sector. It essentially lowered the prices for people to harm themselves and those people in turn became a burden to the state. Yesterday’s presentation showed the Committee images of a licensed and an unlicensed online gambling site which showed no difference and claimed that once online gambling was regulated, the consumer would be able to distinguish between the two. Consumers were not able to tell the difference between a counterfeit product and the real product and it was being dealt with by trying to raise awareness and by preventing counterfeit goods entering the country. But just because counterfeit goods found their way into South Africa was not a reason to legalise counterfeit goods. Counterfeit goods were killing the clothing and textile industries and it deceived consumers. There were many considerations that had to be looked into when addressing the legalisation of online gambling. Online gambling took away the effort people made to drive or take a taxi to a casino and brought it to the home and workplace and this type of availability would make it extremely difficult to deal with problem gambling. In reading through the online blogs for gambling addicts, there was testimony from a woman who, after overcoming a gambling addiction, relapsed after logging onto an illegal gambling site. The state should make provisions that served the interest in the country and online gambling would not serve the best interest of citizens.

Ms Caroline Kongwa, Co-Administrator, NGB, said having considered the Remote Gambling Bill and taking into consideration how the NGB implemented its legislated mandate, the proposed provisions in the Bill posed a governance threat to the NGB’s governance compliance model. The compliance functions which the NGB performed and monitored looked at a crime free industry, protection of the vulnerable, consumer protection, collection of taxes and levies, compliance in revenue orders, Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BEEE) compliance and economic models in terms of the support and growth of small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs). This was being done through licensing conditions. The technical compliance and audit trail would become challenging in terms of tracing changing domains. The NGB exercised oversight over provinces and the Bill the NGB’s oversight responsibility. Non-monetary prizes would enhance the possibility of counterfeit goods being offered as winnings and there was no way of monitoring that.

The Chairperson said Private Members’ Bills were essentially new, but the processes remained the same. Members of the Committee that did not table the Bill would proceed to discuss.

Discussion

Mr N Koornhof (ANC) said he was a bit concerned that outdated statistics were being used since the NGB’s last research had been done in 2012 and he suggested that it was time to get more current figures. The facts on France were not completely correct because the European Union (EU) Commission had ensured that French citizens would have access to a wider choice of duly authorised online gambling services, because unfortunately the laws in France were against the EU rules on freedom to provide services and the legislation had to be amended. Cyberspace was uncontrollable and he said just by using Parliament Wi-Fi, the online proxy would stop accessing online gambling, but would redirect to 36 online casinos. He asked whether the NGB was enforcing access to these online casinos at least and sought examples of such enforcement. Smart phones increased access to internet and this problem was not going away. He asked when last had there been proper enforcement in terms of online gambling. The tax contribution by the gambling industry was approximately R2 billion annually with 0.6% growth in the last financial year. Research needed to be done, either by the South African Revenue Services (SARS), the Finance Department or by DTI on tax revenue possibilities if online gambling was properly regulated. Without that research it would be very difficult to take a position.

Ms Kongwa replied that the NGB had resolved to undertake research after three years and there were current research projects in progress for this financial year. For this financial year, the NGB had planned to do research on illegal gambling, including online gambling to inform the NGB’s role in combating illegal and online gambling. This was currently underway and the NGB was in discussions with DTI and have also consulted with provinces. The NGB had been in constant communication and collaborated with the Department of Communications and the South African Police Services (SAPS). The NGB also formed part of a special task team with the Hawks, especially the unit dealing with special economic offences such as illegal online gambling.

Mr Nkoatse Mashamaite, Director: Gambling Policy and Law, DTI, said currently France permitted limited online gambling and had introduced measures to block certain operators.

Ms Ntuli agreed that cyberspace was uncontrollable and the aim was not to stop innovation. However, technology did not make laws and the laws should develop to make permutations for technology and the technology should operate within the law. This was evident considering the prevalence of digital piracy and it could not therefore become legal to steal other people’s property just because technology allowed for it to happen. Where the state was able to develop devices to be able to block such, the state should implement those devices. 

Mr A Williams (ANC) recalled that yesterday, Mr Hill-Lewis had talked about the potential financial benefit through tax revenue and job creation if it could be managed to ensure the operational offices were in South Africa, which was impossible unless the legislation actually stated it. Today, the Department talked about the potential social harm. South African material conditions showed a high unemployment rate among the youth who had cellular phones and the temptation would be there to access “easy money” through online gambling. The harm far outweighed the benefit and it would be irresponsible of this Committee to legalise anything that would further harm the poor and the desperate. He agreed with DTI that remote gambling should remain illegal.

Mr Hill-Lewis replied that Mr Williams’ comment that the “harm far outweighed the benefit” was evident of the confusion that it would be a case of control under prohibition and no control under regulation. It was more harmful now, because there was no control and because the government was not doing anything to prevent, limit or regulate online gambling. The Bill proposed control to minimise harm. 

Mr M Kalako (ANC) asked for clarification on the two operating and licensed sites first mentioned in the previous day’s presentation and sought clarity on who legalised the sites. The Department, together with the NGB, was clearly against the legalisation of online gambling and the proposed Bill. He asked what measures DTI and the NGB had in place to be on par with the rate of access to illegal online gambling sites, especially in terms of protecting minors.

Ms Ntuli replied that it should be accepted that the NGB, once online gambling had been prohibited, did not develop the enforcement capacity to monitor, detect and deal with illegal online gambling when it happened. Increasingly by monitoring trends, it became clear illegal online gambling was happening. It was realised before with the court case of the NGB against Piggs Peak Casinos, which was a landmark case that cemented the illegality of online gambling.  The Minister had raised the issue with the NGB to build the capacity repeatedly and that had not happened and perhaps, DTI should have stepped in sooner. It was possible to build the capacity, because the knowledge and the skills were available and it needed to be coordinated and focused to deal with online gambling effectively. DTI was able to monitor and detect the flow of winnings though the country’s financial monitoring systems and that could be blocked. This recommendation further asked that such winnings should be forfeited to the state because it was money from an illegal activity. This was not to punish the consumer, but rather to remove the incentive to gamble online. DTI also proposed the blocking of illegal online gambling sites. It was a global challenge that even with devices to detect and block illegal websites, the laws of countries did not have enabling provisions. The proposal also asked that the National Gambling Act also be provided with that authority to be able to block sites. DTI was proposing in its policy that even if, in the future, online gambling was going to be allowed in this country, those that were doing it illegally would not be allowed to get a licence.

Mr Hill-Lewis said Ms Ntuli might want to revise her comments, because the case was not the government against Piggs Peak Casino to settle in the interest of consumers. Piggs Peak declared itself to the courts voluntarily to seek clarity and the government did nothing in terms of enforcement. It was not possible to block winnings and it could not even be done with a great amount of resources, which the DTI did not have.

The Chairperson said the presentation pointed out that Singapore had online gambling, but it had since been banned. It would be useful if the Committee could be provided with the reasons for the subsequent banning. She referred to the number of countries that were mentioned in both presentations that referred to Greece (where there was no definite policy on the law around gambling), the USA (where some states had legalised online gambling) and she asked if there was information available, especially concerning more sophisticated countries and the reasons why they had not legalised online gambling. She also wanted to know what measures these countries had employed to block illegal online gambling. She agreed that more up to date studies were needed and it was good the DTI policy document had been published for comment. It might be useful for the Committee to get a briefing on the draft policy. The socio-economic impact was concerning and it had become evident that in some instances a “we cannot control it so we leave it” attitude had been adopted around some activities. The Committee needed to take a value position in line with the Constitution and its framework, because Members were also here to offer an element of safety to the people of South Africa, in particular the most vulnerable. The argument around economic viability needed to be considered. She asked how many casinos were operational in South Africa. She asked if there were any aspect online gambling that could be enforced, because if not, then the illegal financial transfer of funds could also not be enforced. FICA might have to be called to brief the Committee. She asked what would it cost to monitor online gambling and how would did it relate to the constitutional privacy laws.

Mr Netshitenzhe said the salient point was that illegal gambling could be stopped, because the capacity to adequately address the problem could be built.

Mr Mashamaite replied that Singapore passed a law that banned online gambling by blocking websites and online gambling was only allowed for fundraising purposes.

Ms Ntuli replied that many of the jurisdictions that allowed for online gambling were islands and in many of those cases, there was a provision in their legislation that prohibited their own citizens from gambling online. It differed from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and it was actually a choice countries should make considering its own environments. Some of the developed countries who had the resources and who had the ability to monitor and control online gambling did not allow it. The Department would give more detailed information that contextualised the position at a next opportunity and would also address some of the issues that were not adequately addressed.

Mr Hill-Lewis’ response to the DTI’s input

Mr Hill-Lewis acknowledged that DTI only had one day to respond to his presentation, but he was slightly disappointed in the presentation from the Department for its “superficiality”. A point by point rebuttal to their policy was presented yesterday and a reply to make a case for prohibition was expected. It was a superficial response to the rebuttal. The status quo was prohibition, but it was prohibition in name only. The point of the Bill was to introduce control and not allow carte blanche and unlimited online gambling. There was a false choice between no control under regulation and full control under prohibition. In many respects, the USA was not a society South Africa should aspire to, because it could be backward and conservative in many areas. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) spent R1 billion ($80 million) annually on trying to enforce online gambling with a 24 hour national command centre that tried to shut down websites as soon as they opened. The USA was still far and away the biggest market for online gambling in the world and their most well resourced law enforcement agency on earth was unable to control online banking in the states where it was still illegal. DTI’s policy document asked for the support of prohibition without any indication on where the resources would come from to fund anything near to the kind of investment that would be needed. To continue with prohibition in name only would not cost anything, but if money was needed to fund enforcement, online gambling needed to be regulated. South Africa should not aspire to the kind of authoritarian Chinese government by blocking websites, because that was not how a free and democratic society was defined. It should be noted that the Chinese government failed, because Google withdrew from China, not because they were being blocked by the Chinese government, but out of protest against the invasion of freedom. There were already licensed operators operating legally in South Africa where people gambled online and that was not going to change, with or without this Bill. There was no difference between those sites and a site offering poker or an online casino. It was about the means of betting and not the product on offer. The DTI wanted to invest in blocking technology, but it was precisely the same kind of technology that would be used under regulation to block minors from using the website. Interactive gambling included casino gambling and the point of this Bill was a unitary legal regime that was easy to understand, easy for the regulator to try and enforce and easy for the consumer to figure out. That was the reason for the term “remote gambling”, because it covered all types of gambling. There was no point in limiting the number of licences, because the end result would be the same where unlicensed operators would operate in the space. It would be better to get them to pay taxes and invest in South Africa. That was the reason for unlimited licensing, but it was open for debate. The policy matrix was “slap dash”, because DTI responded blithely that the demand for online gambling would result in harm and asked for evidence that it would not be harmful. Evidence was presented yesterday that stated that problem gambling in the online space was at least no worse than casino gambling at roughly between 2% and 4% of gamblers. It was better to deal with that harm, because online gambling allowed for the proactive identification of problem gamblers, because within minutes they could receive a call from a counsellor. The DTI presented no evidence to show what harm it would result in. The Remote Gambling Bill was in pursuance of the policy of the last ten years to effect what the 2004 Act instructed the Minister to do. The 2004 Act stated that in two years the Minister should bring a Bill before Parliament that regulated interactive gambling. The DTI in very recent times changed that policy and it should present evidence that the change in the policy position was warranted. There was no proliferation, because people could gamble online as much as they wanted to without any hindrance. It was an incredible statement that DTI expected a regulatory impact assessment, because a private member did not have the resources of the state to conduct a regulatory impact assessment. The DTI should have done a regulatory impact assessment, because the policy of the past 10 years had been to regulate online gambling and he asked where the regulatory impact assessment was to change that policy. In terms of socio-economic impact, the National Responsible Gambling Programme (NRGP) had vocally and repeatedly come out in support of regulation and they were the most qualified people in South Africa to speak on behalf of gamblers. The DTI’s position on revenue was disingenuous, because there was huge potential for jobs and it could be made more explicit in the Bill. The feeling in the drafting stage was that it should be left up to the NGB to stipulate it in the licensing conditions so that they could go even further than what the Bill stated if they wanted to. The Casino Association of South Africa supported the Bill, vocally and in debates.

The Chairperson asked Mr Hill-Lewis not to speak on behalf of the casinos because they would have an opportunity to speak for themselves, in an appropriate forum.

Mr Hill-Lewis said Ms Ntuli stated that these illegal online websites would remain the same before and after this Bill and that was an admission that the DTI was not able to shut down these websites. The point was to bring those websites into the fold and license them. The reference to the recovering gambling addict was exactly the point, because regulation was needed to protect problem gamblers. She was exposed to the illegal website under the status quo and he asked where the state was when the illegal advert for online gambling popped up.

In response to Ms Kongwa, Mr Hill-Lewis said the Bill specifically asked the NGB to issue norms and standards and it strengthened the role of the NGB. The division of the national and provincial responsibilities was a torturous part of the drafting process. Constitutional provisions gave provincial governments concurrent powers over gambling activities. The Bill had to be constitutional, but it was agreed that it made complete sense to have one licensing regime and the Bill provided for such a regime. The NGB was the final arbiter of who got licensed or did not. The split in responsibilities could be debated. The provincial authorities did not agree to the 2008 Bill and this Bill was for more likely to earn the support of the provinces.

Overall, Mr Hill-Lewis said he would have preferred a more serious response to his proposal.

The Chairperson indicated that the Department would get another opportunity to address the Committee as there would be various inputs by key role players. The Chairperson asked Mr Hill-Lewis to clarify who assisted in the drafting of the Bill at the next meeting and that he should engage with the Committee Secretary to draw up a list of the submissions received and to be added. In addition Mr Hill-Lewis needed to provide clarity on the cost of enforcement and how the Bill proposed to address the concerns voiced around revenue retainment. She noted that FICA might be called to brief the Committee and DTI could also brief the Committee on the policy document on remote gambling. The process recognised that a private member might not have the resources or time to produce a policy document or regulatory impact assessment.

Adv Charmaine van der Merwe, Parliamentary Legal Advisor, said Parliament established a unit in 2013 to assist Parliament in terms of its constitutional mandate to initiate legislation. The legislation could be initiated by a private member or a Committee. A private member or a Committee was allowed to go external and consult in terms of the drafting, but was also allowed to make use of the internal resources. The assistance the parliamentary drafting unit gave was of a high legal nature and advise might also be given in terms of practicalities, but not on policy. Mr Hill-Lewis had been assisted by the unit in terms of drafting conventions, constitutionality and legal issues.

The Chairperson said at some point, after hearing from key role players the Committee would take a position on the desirability of the Bill.

Consideration and adoption of outstanding minutes

The Chairperson referred to the minutes dated 11 March 2015 that had been referred to be checked on Hansard and confirmed that the minutes correctly reflected that the DA dissent to the oversight report. The minutes was then adopted without amendments. 

The Chairperson thanked everyone and the meeting was adjourned.

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