South African National Gambling Board suspended

South African National Gambling Board suspended

Monday, September 22, 2014 Totally Gaming

Members of South Africa’s National Gambling Board have been suspended after the country’s Trade and Industry Minister, Rob Davies, ordered an investigation to be carried out into the regulator’s operations.

Department spokesperson Sidwell Medupe confirmed that the board members had been “temporarily removed” on September 9 pending a “forensic investigation”.

“Davies has appointed two administrators to oversee the day-to-day affairs of the entity,” Medupe said.

“Both administrators are experienced public servants who occupied senior positions within the Department of Trade and Industry prior to their appointment as administrators.”

Medupe was unable to reveal how long the investigation might take.

Further details of the reasons behind the suspensions were not immediately disclosed to TotallyGaming.com by the South African government.

However, the opposition Democratic Alliance party criticised Davies (pictured) for suspending the board “without providing reasons as to why it was necessary to do this”.

“The Minister’s statement raises more questions than it gives answers,” the Democratic Alliance said in a statement this (Monday) afternoon.

“Two administrators were appointed to oversee the day to day affairs of the board, yet their identities remain a secret.

“The Minister must act with more transparency on this matter. We need to know what is going on at the National Gambling Board.”

The opposition party said that they would call on Davies to be summoned before Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry to explain why the board members have been suspended, why it has taken so long to announce the suspensions, and how long the probe is expected to take.

The National Gambling Board is responsible for processing applications for gaming licences in the country.

Earlier this year, a draft version of an online gambling bill was published in South Africa ahead of the country’s proposed legislation of online gaming. The draft bill was first disclosed to the public at the end of April.

The bill stated that each South African province would be responsible for imposing a tax on licensed operators, with 70% of the tax revenue distributed to the province and 30% handed over to the national fund.

According to the 2008 National Gambling Act, online wagering is only allowed to take place on sports events.

A report from accountancy firm PwC last November said that gambling revenue in South Africa had increased in 2013 despite an economic slow-down, with casinos generating 78% of the total.

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