South Africans to tax online gamblng

South Africa's Minister of Finance, Trevor Manuel, this week released for public comment a bill that will tax Internet gambling. The bill provides for a special tax on "interactive gambling" which was earlier regulated in the National Gambling Amendment Bill approved by Parliament in May 2008.

The tax will be imposed on operators with an interactive gambling website in South Africa, and will fall on gross gambling revenue.

The initial National Gambling Act which this year's bill amended did not provide for legalised interactive gambling in South Africa, the Minister explained. The amendment bill therefore allows for this form of gambling in South Africa in order to ensure regulatory oversight of the pastime, and to prevent it remaining in the hands of offshore jurisdictions, with little or no protection for local consumers.

The National Gambling Amendment Bill provides for strong national regulation of online gambling. By setting up strict national rules, South African legislators reinforced existing regulatory conditions and further protected consumers and children.

Tax in respect of interactive gambling activities is to be imposed in terms of appropriate legislation - carried out separately because taxes are imposed by a special procedure under section 77 of the Constitution.

Once public comment has been obtained, the Interactive Gambling Tax Bill will be tabled in Parliament during the first half of 2009; comments must be sent to Treasury before March 1 2009.

The full text of the Bill can be found on the Treasury's website.

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