National Gambling Bill: negotiating mandates

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Meeting report

ECONOMICS AND FOREIGN AFFAIRS SELECT COMMITTEE

ECONOMICS AND FOREIGN AFFAIRS SELECT COMMITTEE
19 November 2003
NEGOTIATING MANDATES: NATIONAL GAMBLING BILL

Chairperson
: Mr B Tolo (ANC)

Documents handed out:
The National Gambling Bill [B48B-2003]
Gauteng Provincial Mandate
Limpopo Provincial Mandate
Mpumalanga Provincial Mandate
Western Cape Provincial Mandate
KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Mandate (Electronic copy awaited)

Referred to the Department
Free State Provincial Mandate (Electronic copy awaited)
Eastern Cape Provincial Mandate (Electronic copy awaited)
Northern Province Provincial Mandate (Electronic copy awaited)

SUMMARY
Provincial mandates were presented on the National Gambling Bill. The Chairperson expressed concern that all provinces had not tendered mandates for consideration. A delegation from the Casino Association South Africa (CASA) addressed the Committee on the impact of proposed legislation on the industry. Mandates from Eastern Cape, Northern Province, Free State, Limpopo Province and Mpumalanga Province were not discussed in the meeting and were referred to the Department for further consideration.

MINUTES
The Chairperson announced that the Casino Association of South Africa (CASA) would address the meeting before the Department of Trade and Industry (Department) officials carried on the discussion without them.

Casino Association of South Africa (CASA) submission
Mr Hendrik Brand (CASA Council member) said that the amended Clause 15 would have negative implications for the industry. The introduction of the new Clause had not been made available for public comment but certain activities were now restricted. Clause 53(2)(b) extended the powers of the provincial licensing authorities to impose further conditions, but this change had also not been made available for public comment. Clause 87 stated that the Minister could make regulations but this had resulted in a lack of transparency and no comment from associated parties. CASA strove to make a positive and constructive contribution to society and its Black Economic Empowerment requirements were constantly monitored. It was important that the industry continued to play a role in the formulation of gambling policy.

Department response
Ms A Ludin pointed out that these changes were merely refinements. The DTI had engaged with CASA and taken cogniscence of the impact on the industry. The DTI was concerned about the insinuation of irregularity and that the substantive issues could not be debated at Select Committee level. The Department had made a concerted effort to foresee situations that could arise at the beginning of the process. CASA inputs had only been received the previous day and then debated on Monday 17 November). There had to be more in-depth discussion with colleagues in the Department before final mandates were presented. Clause 15 amendments impacted CASA in that it wanted to retain some practices like the Loyalty Programmes, about which Portfolio Committee had expressed concern. The State Law Advisors had to be consulted on these issues.

The Chairperson asked for clarification about the Loyalty Programme.

Mr J Strydom (Legal Advisor) explained that the Loyalty Programme identified the most valued customers and awarded them certain benefits. NGB felt that these people should not be treated as a different category and that proposed legislation should equally apply to them.

The Chairperson asked whether there would be any further amendments proposed.

Ms Ludin said that only the three proposals from CASA and those from the provinces would be considered.

The Chairperson expressed concern that not all provinces had made mandates available for the meeting. He asked that provinces not repeat proposed amendments as presented by other provinces.

Gauteng mandate comments

Ms D Ramodibe (ANC) presented the Gauteng province mandate with proposed changes (see appendix). Ms Ludin commented on each proposed change.

Clause 6(2)(b)
This Clause would be further evaluated with State Law Advisors and Department officials.

Clause 8(c)
It was impossible to outlaw all informal bets between individuals. The Committee should not outlaw that which did no harm.

Clause 11
The Bill was clear on the difference between interactive games and interactive gambling.

Clause 13
A similar change as proposed by the province, had already been introduced in the Bill.

Clause 14
The DTI felt that, in terms of self-exclusion, there should be a central register with an oversight function. A court system was also necessary to prevent abuse.

Clause 15
This concern had been addressed with the term "gambling premises" and to which areas it applied.

Clause 16(3)(4)
This reopened the issue of the National Gambling Board versus provincial gambling authorities.

Clause 17
The Bill contained a provision similar to the change proposed by Gauteng.

Clauses 19-23
There should be a national register to control illegal gambling and gambling machines.

Clause 26(1)(a)(iii)
More discussion needed to take place with the NGB about the implications of this Clause.

Clause 28
A National Employment License would be introduced so that employees had to apply for another license if they wanted to work in another province.

The Chairperson agreed that Clause 8(c) could not be enforced. He asked why it was necessary to refer to a High Court and not a lower in the case of enlisting for self-exclusion.

Advocate T Majaka (CEO: National Gambling Board) answered that a decision was appealable in lower courts. There had to be national norms and standards to govern self-exclusion. With regard to Clause 26(1)(a)(iii), there had to also be national norms and standards for the number of machines per site. Many machines on a site could look like a casino and circumvent regulation on the number of casinos in an area. Clause 26(1)(b) determined whether gambling was the main activity in a particular area.

KwaZulu-Natal mandate comments

Mr Osbrooke (Special Delegate) presented proposed changes and Ms Ludin commented

Clause 15(2)
The Department saw no difficulty with the Clause as it stood.

Clause 23(4)
The State Law Advisors should review this Clause.

Clause 26
Gambling did not pertain only to provinces, so it should be regarded as a provincial competence. This Clause aimed to set norms and standards. The Portfolio Committee had felt that the introduction of gambling machines should be phased in. If this Clause was deleted, there would be a deadlock.

Clauses 27 and 30(2)(a)
It was felt that the establishment of a national central electronic monitoring system would be the most effective measure for monitoring purposes.

Clause 87
The suggested insertion was already accommodated in Clause 87(4). The Department proposed that the deadline for the publicaton of proposed regulation be reduced to 45 days.

Western Cape mandate comments

Ms N Ntwanambi (ANC) presented the mandate and Ms Ludin commented.

Clauses 51 and 52
The 3-year maximum pertained to the period for the Board and licensing authorities to determine when an offending casino needed to dispose of its assets.

Clause 83
Regarding the maximum fine of 10%, the offence was tied to turnover to accommodate the different sizes of casinos.

Due to time constraints, the Chairperson suggested that the mandates from the Eastern Cape, Northern Province and the Free State be referred to the Department for consideration. Mandates from Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces were not dealt with in the meeting and also referred to the Department for further consideration.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting.

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