Online gambling is an entirely legal pastime in many world countries.
Unfortunately, South Africa still isn’t one of them. Could the COVID-19 effect be the push that’s needed to legalize online gambling?
Here’s why it makes sense for now to become the time to legalize online gambling.
1. The Survival of an Industry
Brick-and-mortar gambling ventures have taken one of the hardest financial knocks in terms of the lockdown. Many investors have already left the table, and it would appear as if many more are planning to.
A change is needed for the gambling industry to survive.
The legalization of online gambling could mean the survival of the current gambling industry as a result, especially if current investors have another viable avenue to channel their money.
2. Prohibition is Ineffective
Alcohol and cigarette sales were banned at the start of SA’s National Lockdown period, and sales of contraband immediately skyrocketed. News reports say that contraband cigarettes aren’t hard to find for anyone willing to pay.
The same is true for the current illegal gambling industry: If you have the money to spend, you’ll find an avenue – somewhere – to do it. Banning anything that people consider down to a personal choice is going to make them want it more.
Legalize online gambling and it has the potential to open up avenues for interested gamblers, while being able to shut down the appeal of illegal gambling for both punters and companies.
3. Boosting Social Interaction Online
Social interaction is a vital part of mental health – but one that a lot of people are being forced to neglect due to social distancing laws and lockdowns.
Join a table at your local online casino and it gives you a chance to interact with people without the need to leave the house for it.
The majority of online casino rooms are monitored to ensure discussions don’t go off the rails.
4. An Economical Rescue Route
We’re sitting back while watching the economy crash around us at the rate of several millions (and probably billions) lost per day thanks to lockdown restrictions.
What if there was a way to channel large amounts of money back into the local economy? While we’re on the topic, I can think of a good one: Online gambling.
Legal online gambling nets money that the country could desperately use: With online gambling currently illegal, where do you imagine this money is going instead?
5. Opportunities for Charity
It’s not just about the profit margin, but about what some of the money can be applied to achieve.
The National Lottery is a massive vehicle for charity ventures, sponsorships and events. If their charitable successes are anything to go by, the legalization of online gambling licenses in South Africa could very well open up more opportunities for gambling and charity to walk hand-in-hand for the benefit of both sides.
6. Creating (and Saving) Jobs
Very few people are going to walk out of lockdown in a better financial state than at its start.
In fact, thousands of jobs have already been sacrificed to the lockdown and there might be more projected job losses to come.
A legal, local online gambling industry with the adequate licenses to allow for local gambling ventures could create thousands (upon thousands) of possible jobs in an emerging industry.
7. Creating an Entire Career Scope
A legal gambling industry has the potential to create more than just a handful of jobs. It has the potential to create an entire career scope of new jobs that aren’t possible right now.
Let’s face it, there isn’t a demand for an online gambling software programmer in South Africa right now – but there could very well be in a country where the industry has become legal.
From online moderators and programmers through to professional gamblers and online game commentators, seeing online gambling legalized could open up an entirely new world.
8. Embracing Online Currencies
Transactions are moving towards cashless, and currency is no longer restricted to coins and paper money. There’s a lot of it moving around out there, and as long as online gambling remains an illegal and unrelated industry, none of it is for the country’s own benefit.
While it’s possible to play the lottery with the help of online banking, this isn’t enough. If there were more options out there, such as a good old poker or money bridge game, people would be playing it.
9. A Decline in Criminal Activity
If you want to take the metaphorical sting out of anything that’s deemed illegal, criminal, prohibited or taboo, legalize it.
Examples of this can be seen in countries where prostitution turned legal through regulated red light districts, or where certain drugs are available instead of shrouded in secrecy and syndicates.
Legalization allowed most of these industries to start behaving more responsibly once allowed to practice out in the open – and regulation allows for any ventures who don’t stick to the laws or rules to be shut down as a result.
No longer will online gambling have to share a table with dodgy ventures like money laundering or trafficking: But right now, with online gambling deemed illegal, it still does.