Illegal gambling operations in South Africa increased significantly in the first half of this year as the country goes through a recession.
Gross gaming revenue (GGR) increased by 3.5%, to R18.5 billion, for the 12 month period until March 2018, despite the country suffering from high levels of unemployment.
The country’s gambling industry is currently undergoing some challenges due to issues related to the gambling regulatory framework. The uncertainty of the framework has become a huge hindrance to the industry that employs over 38000 people.
To this effect, the Casino Association of South Africa (CaSa) last week warned that the GGR could decline even further considering the challenges that led to the previous decline were worsening.
GUIDE: GAMBLING IN SOUTH AFRICA
According to CaSa, it paid R6.1 billion representing 37% of GGR in taxes and levies at national, provincial, and local level for the year ending March 31, 2018, making government the largest recipient of value generated by Casa member casinos.
A current report from a respected auditing group show the South African gaming industry will grow at a compounded rate above 5% yearly to about R35 billion by 2021.
The Chief executive of CaSa Themba Ngobese indicated that members were committed to contributing decreasing gambling harm and making the wagering environment healthy in South Africa.
“Casinos attract investment and tourism to the country, and the money members pay in taxes and levies is used to improve everything from education and healthcare to infrastructure and housing,” Ngobese said.
“One of our biggest concerns is the exponential growth of illegal gambling operations.
“These illegal operators pay no tax or levies and contribute nothing to the South African economy.
“As an industry, we once again urge law enforcement to take a tougher stance on these illegal operations, which are essentially stealing from us all.”
The group cautioned that a proposal for changes in legislation, including anti-smoking laws, would drop the GGR by 18%.