Tom Tuxworth, public affairs manager for the listed British online betting group Betfair, told a South African parliamentary portfolio committee studying the possible legalisation of online gambling that prohibition only drives would-be internet punters to offshore and unregulated websites.
ITWeb reports that Tuxworth quoted numbers from H2 Gambling Capital and Gambling Compliance, indicating that online gambling in SA could generate Rands 6 billion in revenue and add an estimated Rand 1 billion in taxes to the state's coffers each year.
Global online gambling was expected to grow at a rate of ten percent a year until 2015, he informed the committee.
Online gambling is currently illegal in South Africa, although the government has been grappling with the possibility of legalisation for some years, and a recent gambling review commission recommended such a development.
Tuxworth opined that a realistic approach to internet gambling could also give South Africa the opportunity to become a technology hub for a growing sector, and would create many skilled technology jobs, as well as other jobs in areas such as advertising.