Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the Gaming Regulators Africa Forum (GRAF)?
The GRAF is a body representative of gambling regulators within the African Continent, who aspire to be effective and credible in their regions and continentally.
- Why is gambling legal in South Africa?
Government took a decision to allow legalized and regulated gambling in the Republic based on a 1994 report into gambling also known as the “Wiehahn Commission” report.
- How can communities work together with the NGB to deliver on its mandate?
Communities should work together with the NGB in eradicating illegal gambling and where illegal gambling venues or machines exist it should be reported directly to their respective Provincial Gambling Board or the NGB.
- Is online gambling legal?
No. Section 11 of the National Gambling Act states: A person must not engage in or make available an interactive game except as authorised in terms of this Act or any other national law.
- Is online betting legal?
Yes. Online betting is legal with a licensed South African bookmaker.
- Can South Africans gamble overseas?
South Africans cannot gamble with international companies from within the Republic.
- What are the effects of excessive gambling?
Gambling can cause problems in the family and the society. Gambling, like alcohol, when in excess, can cause harm to communities, especially to children.
- How do I get excluded from gambling?
To be excluded from gambling you/the punter can approach your casino operator or Provincial Gambling Board to assist you in having yourself voluntary / self excluded. Once this is done, your particulars will be circulated to all other licensed venues in order to prevent you from gambling. 3rd party exclusions can also be done, by making use of the courts to have a person on whom you are financially reliant excluded should he or she have a gambling problem. Once excluded the onus remains with the excluded person to stay away from the venues. The exclusion remains a contract between the excluded punter and the operator, if a punter is found in the gambling premises he/she will be charged with trespassing and may be arrested.
- What do you do when you realize you or someone you are reliant on has a gambling problem?
Call the toll free number 0800 006 008 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
- How do I apply for a gambling license?
Gambling licenses can be applied for in a province in the event that the province issues an RPA (Request for application).
- Where and how do I apply for a national employee license?
The above licenses are applied for through the Provincial Gambling Boards.
- Are gaming employee licenses transferable?
No, the licence is linked to the position a person holds with an operator, once the employment ends the licence cease to be valid.
- How do I lay a complaint on a gambling related matter?
Contact your respective Provincial Gambling Board should you wish to lodge a complaint.
- When was the GRAF established?
The GRAF was established in 2003 and its founding members are South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Malawi.
- Where does the GRAF derive its mandate?
It derives its mandate from a Memorandum of Understanding which prescribes the workings of the GRAF, its main objectives and how decisions within the forum are taken.
- Who participates in this forum?
The GRAF has a membership of ten jurisdictions. However, it is open to any jurisdiction, organization or persons sharing the same objectives as GRAF. Such individuals are recognised as invitees. Although it is primarily tailored for regulators, often, other stakeholders are invited with a view of sharing insights into gambling. However, the GRAF Annual General Meeting is open to members only.
- Which countries are represented in the GRAF?
South Africa, Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, Swaziland, Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia.
- Who is eligible to become a member of the GRAF?
Any jurisdiction sharing the same interests as GRAF member states
- What are the governance structures of the GRAF?
- GRAF Chairperson
- GRAF Deputy Chairperson
- GRAF Secretariat
- How is gambling regulated in the different African jurisdictions?
Members have different regulatory regimes and frameworks within which they regulate gambling
- How does the GRAF intend to combat illegal gambling activities within the continent?
Through mutual cooperation between states and sub structures of the GRAF such as the Committee on Technology and Illegal Gambling.
- How does the GRAF ensure effective movement of gambling?
The GRAF has developed a strategy that will be employed and implemented by all member jurisdictions. This strategy has been linked with the South Africa’s national register of gambling machines and devices through which the monitoring of gambling equipment can be made. Strides have been made and embarked upon to ensure that the strictest controls are in place, on a cross border level, to monitor the movement of these devices.
- What is the subscription fee for the GRAF?
The GRAF has not as yet introduced any subscriptions payable on membership. It is a strategic move to ensure that the membership grows to be sustainable and to ensure that the GRAF attracts low capacitated jurisdictions that strive and share GRAF’s interests.
- Can licensed operators and other stakeholders participate at GRAF conferences?
Participation at annual conference of the GRAF is limited to gambling regulators but non members may be invited either as observers or as special guests who will share insights into the specific areas identified as of interest/relevant to the gambling industry at any particular time.
- How does the GRAF assist low capacity member states to ensure implementation of national gambling strategies?
Assistance to states is granted on an ad hoc basis (per request) and is derived from a needs analysis exercise. To this end, multilateral and bilateral agreements are entered into between states. Through these agreements, states share information and insights into various aspects of gambling thereby building capacity and knowledge. There is also a need for political support to ensure effective delivery of each particular state.
- Has the GRAF ensured that legislative frameworks of member states are aligned to international best practices?
The GRAF substructures are in the process of reviewing the different member legislations and identifying what remains lacking to ensure better and effective regulations. Members also affiliate to the International Gambling Regulators Association, which sets international regulatory guidelines on the different forms of gambling. Indeed, lessons learnt shape domestic frameworks of individual states.
- Does the GRAF coordinate technical assistance to ensure effective implementation of national strategies?
It remains one of its key objectives that it strives to achieve.
- Does the GRAF maintain/update and have compliance monitoring and evaluation mechanisms in place across the continent?
The National Gambling Board’s machine registry remains one of the means of ensuring effective compliance monitoring. The GRAF has not, as yet, gone so far as to assessing the levels of compliance in each jurisdiction, but seeks to achieve this in the long-term. There is a need to build capacity to this end.
- How does the GRAF ensure that it has a strong, sustainable and unified regional gaming forum?
By ensuring that the objectives of the GRAF are achievable and that what it seeks to achieve is aligned to national governmental strategies. Further, by ensuring that it gains governmental support and integrates its activities of the SADC and NEPAD.
- What mechanisms has the GRAF put in place to ensure an expansion in membership?
Different strata have been developed and implemented to ensure that membership grows to greater numbers. Amongst these, are engagements with the Diplomatic Corps and with the regulators in the different countries.
- How do member states strengthen regional cooperation amongst themselves? In particular, its participation in combating illegal gambling practices within the global environment?
Through multilateral and bilateral agreements.
- Does the GRAF have a coordinated, consolidated regulatory capacity building, training and awareness campaigns?
The Education and Training Committee of the GRAF has made strides in training initiatives and each member state is encouraged to implement educational projects on gambling such as awareness campaigns within their areas of regulation.
- Does the GRAF have a technical support base that provides advisory services across board?
Not in-house – however, it makes use of technical expertise already available in the market.
- How does the GRAF interface with similar international forums?
Some of the members of the GRAF are influential members of international forums that share similar objectives with GRAF. Lessons learnt from these forums are shared with states, at least once annually.
- Does South Africa play any significant role in this forum?
Yes, South Africa serves as permanent secretariat of this forum and currently carries the costs associated with ensuring that the administrative functions of the GRAF are maintained and implemented effectively.
- What are the key highlights of the GRAF to date?
The establishment of efficient subcommittees
A Strategic Framework that is currently being implemented
Bilateral agreements between states for instance, South Africa and Malawi
A strategy for the movement of gambling machines across borders
- What are the key projects of the GRAF, currently underway?
Establishing a partnership with the Nevada gambling institution in order to implement education programmes that will benefit African regulators
- What is the socio-economic impact of gaming on the African continent?
- Contributions to economic growth [contribution to GDP] i.e. economic and financial contribution
- Employment and education
- Job creation
- CSI contribution
- Infrastructure development
- Education and training
- Recreation and tourism – gambling
- Negative impact and other recreational industries
- Reduction in illegal gambling
- What are the key challenges of the gambling industry in Africa?
Current challenges within the gambling fraternity would include the (a) lack of uniform norms and standards and a coordinated system in their application; (b) deficient regulatory frameworks or no clear regulation on gambling sector in some jurisdictions which leads to a number of ills such as dumping of obsolete gambling devices and equipment in such jurisdictions, operators flagrantly taking advantage of lacuna in law and regulatory limbos e.g. illegal online operators targeting and offering online gambling to the public while licensed elsewhere; its money leaving the country and no benefit to government in terms of creation of jobs and taxes paid. (c) lack of enforcement of laws in some jurisdictions impedes development and creates an opportunity of unfair competitive practices as licensed operators compete for the same market with illegals. (d) technological advancements posing a challenge to regulators across Africa and internationally – these have created grey areas within legislations and have to be tackled on an ongoing basis. This necessitates (e) Capacity to be built in order to enable regulators to always be in the forefront on gambling technologies e.g. gambling technical experts etc.
- How does gambling affect society? For example, in most cases parents go to gambling areas with children, how does this affect families?
First, as regulators, we do acknowledge that gambling has negative effects on society as a whole. However, there are mechanisms in place to counter any such problems. In South Africa specifically, we have a National Responsible Gambling Programme (NRGP) which deals with problem gambling tendencies, counseling, treatment and education are provided at no cost to the public. It is regarded, internationally, as the most progressive and the best. We have mechanisms in place to ensure that a person developing problem gambling tendencies and or his/her family excludes themselves from participating in any one of the gambling activities offered nationally;
We acknowledge the positive contributions that gambling has brought, through the regulation of gambling, as many jobs have been created in the economic sphere. For instance, within the casino industry alone, more than 100,000 jobs are in place since the legalisation of gambling in the country. It is also a condition precedent that licensed entities should ensure that they carry out their community social responsibilities by investing within the territories they are licensed in. To this end, we have had numerous upliftment programmes nationally that can be accounted for an example, the building of schools, halls etc.
With regard to issues around the abandonment of children at casinos, regulators do not take kindly to such behavior. It in fact, may be a warning to the said casino that the parent is developing problem gambling tendencies and they need to be assisted.
- What are the levels of gambling compliance within the African continent?
While members all strive for strict compliance monitoring and enforcement, not all states have developed enabling legislations that would ensure that illegal elements do not operate in such jurisdictions. Consequently, levels of compliance differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. However, the intention is to ensure that all adhere to best practices and uniform guidelines governing gambling.
means a game, including a game played in whole or in part by electronic means.
means premises where gambling games are played, or are available to be played.
Limited Pay-out Machine:
means a gambling machine with a restricted bet and prize