The Western Cape is a province in South Africa located in the south-west part of the country, formed in 1994, as one of the four successors of Cape Province that was additionally divided to Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, and part of North West.
The Western Cape has its own constitution, provincial parliament, prime minister and ten cabinet members that govern 24 local municipalities. It is a fourth largest and third most populous province in South Africa, with the capital located in Cape Town. Its economy is the 2nd largest contributor to national GDP and one of the fastest growing in the country; financial, business services, and real-estate sectors are the principal vertical contributors.
In accordance with the 2004 National Gambling Act and the 2018 National Gambling Amendment Bill — two legislation governing comprehensive nationwide gambling eco-system available to residents older than 18 years of age and regulated by the National Gambling Board (NGB) — Western Cape is one of the nine provinces in charge of licensing land-based casinos and online sportsbooks.
This jurisdiction is governed by the Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board (WCGRB) with a mission to control and regulate gambling and racing within the Province andgoals to provide a stable and effective regulatory environment, to inspire public confidence and trust, and to contribute to the economy in a socially responsible manner.
In addition to national regulations in South Africa, the WCGRB’s operations are guided by provincial regulationsbased on the Western Cape Gambling and Racing Act of 1996, further amended in 2009, and 2013.
Since online gambling is prohibited in South Africa, there are four gambling license types to be issued in Western Cape jurisdiction — casinos, LPMs, racing and betting, and bingo (social gambling).
In order to attain the permit, an aspiring operator goes through extensive vetting process by WCGRB that addresses almost every aspect of business foundations and operations — from general information about company, ownership, and detailed overview of documentation (Memorandum and Articles of Association, Certificate of Incorporation, Founding Document, Charter, Shareholders’ and Partnership Agreement, etc.), up to description of operations and financial projections (including information on all bank accounts held, other financial interests, insolvency contingency plan, and insurance policy), including all vendor contracts, criminal and related history, plus previous and existing gambling licenses account.
All data have to be appended by appropriate documentation; furthermore, applicants authorize WCGRB for examination and release of any additional information.
Once licensed, operators are to adhere to an extensive set of operational rules defined by WCGRB in each licensing category. To illustrate the comprehensive level of instructions to be followed…
In land-based casinos category, for example, the 96-page document addresses everything from organizational structure, jobs compendium and staffing levels, up to internal control standards, rules of operations for each game available (slots, table games), electronic monitoring system, operators’ departments operations (accounting, security, surveillance), IT infrastructure (electronic monitoring and server-based systems, maintenance, upgrades), including progressive jackpots and internal audit function.
One of the operators to successfully fill this bill is Sportingbet South Africa, providing betting line-up on more than 80 different sports.
According to Western Cape 2018 Annual Report, the legal gambling and sports betting industry comprise of five casinos, two LPM operators, 44 bookmakers, and one totalisator, conducting operations on 622 premises and 6,940 gambling devices serviced by 7,195 employees.
With such legal and regulatory system in place, consequentially, protection of gamblers ranks high on regulators agenda not only in this province but in South Africa overall.
The host of measures in place to control the potentially negative impact includes:
The limitation of entry to gambling premises by minors, excluded or self-excluded persons;
A prohibition of extending credit to punters directly or through the third party;
Restrictions on advertising;
Restrictions on the placement of cash dispensing machines in designated spaces;
Protection of society from the over-stimulation of latent gambling and from accidental exposure to gambling activities;
The minimization of opportunities for impulse or convenience gambling;
Protection of gamblers from the impact of illegal industry operators.
The purpose of these measures, to name only a few, is to provide players with a selected choice of licensed operators that are likely to provide an outlet for existing demand and discourage patrons from seeking out unlicensed sites.
Additional resources at players’ disposal include the South African Responsible Gambling Foundation, conceived as a knowledge hub on responsible gambling with treatment and counseling for problem gamblers, working closely with industry role-players and regulators.
Considering the social importance and impact of gambling and sports betting in South Africa, it is not surprising to see Western Cape jurisdiction governed by the aspiration to sustain the highest standards of gambling operations.
At the end of the day, though, it all comes down to players.
Thus, if by some chance your road takes you to this beautiful country and province, make sure to inform yourself, play wisely, and gamble responsibly, which are by default prerequisites for having great fun while we gamble.
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