The trade body for the South African gambling industry, the Casino Association of South Africa, lashed out again at online gambling this week, accusing the sector of contributing to falling revenues at land casinos.
In an interview with the South African Press Association news agency, CASA chief exec Themba
Ngobese alleged without substantiating his claims that illegal gambling has cost the country around Rands 110 million in tax revenue.
Ngobese made a point of linking the issue to the sensitive local topics of service delivery to the masses, and the need for tax revenues for the government, saying:
“South Africa relies heavily on tax revenue with 34 percent derived from personal tax and 20 percent from corporate tax. Any erosion of the corporate tax base means more burden for individual taxpayers. There is already talk of moving the VAT rate from 14 percent to 15 percent to inject an additional Rands 16 billion into the economy.”
Ngobese went on to point out that the legal casino industry in South Africa contributed Rands 4.5 billion in tax revenue to the government last year, a significant amount for a single business sector, and said that any erosion of this amount is a major issue for South Africa, impacting service delivery.
Without providing concrete evidence to support his allegations, Ngobese claimed that an aggressive online gambling industry was one reason why casino revenues had dropped from 10 percent growth in the 2012/13 financial year, to 0.6 percent in 2013/14.
He claimed that CASA had evidence that illegal online gambling operators were targeting South Africans and taking revenue off-shore, and that his organisation estimated that at least five percent of the revenue contraction in 2013/14 was due to money moving off-shore to illegal gambling entities which he said amounted to around Rands 110 million this year.
Other factors were a slowdown in the South African economy in the past 18 months.
CASA recently launched a campaign targeting online gamblers, operators, and service providers