I know I sound like an old prude here but I just have to vent..
Well aware that life progresses furiously and leaves us oldies behind, but I feel sad that this online gambling addiction has overtaken South Africa.
In the dark ages when we were young and free, gambling in South Africa had been heavily restricted since 1673, with South Africa's Gambling Act of 1965 officially banning all forms of gambling except betting on horse racing which existed as a sporting activity.
In the late 1970s casinos started operating in the homelands of Bophuthatswana, Ciskei, Transkei and Venda.
But by 1995 an estimated 2000 illegal casinos were believed to be operating within the country. In 1994, when the new democratic government came to power, all forms of gambling were legalised. In 1996 the National Gambling Act instituted a system of licensed casinos and a single national lottery. Horse racing was also proclaimed gambling activity.
Now I must confess even I take the odd lottery ticket, and have frequented a couple of casinos in the Victoria Falls, but that has been my wicked contribution. Has our moral compass been interfered with I also distinctly remember that shops were closed on Sunday, the sale of liquor was banned on a Sunday, so we could go to church.
The National Gambling Act 2004 in RSA prohibited both offering interactive gambling services and engaging in interactive internet games but then the National Gambling Amendment Act of 2008 was meant to be an attempt to legalise interactive gambling in the country and make provisions for the regulation of this market.
On 20 August 2010 even online gambling offered through servers located outside the country was banned in South Africa. This was the result of the North Gauteng High Court judgement on the jurisdiction of online gambling transactions in the country. Consequently, both offering gambling services online and gambling online became illegal.
But little by little more and more gambling was allowed.
By 2021 there were over 30 licensed online sports betting sites in South Africa, including local South African operators such as Bet.co.za and international operators including Betway and Sportingbet. All online sports betting websites are licensed by their respective provinces and by the NGB.
Don't get me wrong, we all love the occasional 'flutter' but this form of entertainment seems to me to be sweeping rapidly though South Africa, in fact not only South Africa but the entire world. But sadly it has been proven that gambling problems affect the functioning of family and intimate relationships.
Impaired family relationships, emotional problems and financial difficulties are some of the most common impacts on family members of people with gambling problems.
There is consistent evidence of an association between gambling problems and family violence.
The children of problem gambling parents are at a much higher risk of developing gambling problems than the children of non-problem gambling parents. Adverts for 'Gambling Counselling' abound on radio and TV.
I must reiterate, gambling is one's prerogative, but should it be so flouted in a country where poverty is so evident, and parents could be spending money on gambling instead of bringing food home to the family
Every street light advertises betting, TV adverts bombard one, behind every restroom door is a poster inviting one to bet.
A good thing or bad thing The jury is out....