Legalising online gambling a concern
Johannesburg - Reports that South Africa may soon legalise online gambling - following the findings of a gambling commission that is currently being debated by a committee in parliament - raises some serious concerns about the impact this may have on consumer's personal finances, particularly ahead of the festive season.
This was according to Gavin Came, chairperson of the financial planning committee at the Financial Intermediaries Association of Southern Africa (FIA).
"While for some people gambling could be a harmless pastime; it could also turn into a very real problem.
"Consumers often panic when they find themselves in a difficult financial situation and making gambling facilities easier to access may result in a spike in excessive gambling, particularly for those who can least afford to do so.
"This is especially true ahead of the festive season, when people want to treat themselves and their loved ones. However, it is vital that if one does not have the money to spend, they don't try to gamble their way ahead."
Earlier this week, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said that more attention needed to be paid to the question of online gambling.
"This is not yet legal in South Africa, and we will act against any found to be 'jumping the gun', who should also not assume that they will be the beneficiaries if we do eventually decide to license such activities.
"We know that a number of jurisdictions prohibit interactive gambling but also that the trend is towards licensing and regulation.
"In this regard, the commission made a recommendation that I know will be the subject of much debate namely that legislation should cater for all forms of online gambling, including person to person betting and participation in offshore operations," Davies added.