APPLICATION OF THE DESTINATION APPROACH AS AN IMPEDIMENT TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF GAMBLING POLICY AND LAW IN SOUTH AFRICA
Keywords:Gambling, destination approach, problem gambling, competition, Destination gambling
Gambling in South Africa, which the National Gambling Act sanctions, continues to be a flourishing economic activity. The policy approach to gambling has always been to keep gambling venues a distance away from communities because of the negative consequences of gambling, also referred to as problem gambling and the negative moral stigma associated with gambling. The goal of this policy, which is also referred to as the “destination approach” is to circumvent impulse gambling, which may lead to problem gambling. The destination approach can be credited with the development and flourishing of casino gambling resorts throughout South Africa and at present, such resorts serve as artificial tourist attractions.
However, the rationale for maintaining the destination approach in gambling policy and the law is no longer sustainable for a number of reasons. Firstly, the increasing incidence of gambling problems, secondly, there is little or no research that indicates the efficacy of the destination approach in curbing problem gambling and thirdly, the emergence of new gambling platforms such as interactive/online gambling means that gambling is conveniently available at the click of a mouse. Furthermore, there is growing evidence of casino operators relocating to areas with a high frequency of customers, such as shopping malls, which undermines the destination approach.
Nevertheless, both the National Gambling Policy of 2016 and the National Gambling Amendment Bill of 2016 persist in maintaining the destination approach as a means of limiting accessibility to gambling opportunities and ultimately minimising problem gambling. This is despite the existence of strategies for the prevention of problem gambling. It is the author’s submission that maintaining and applying the destination approach in gambling policy and law, not only hinders competition in the gambling industry but also poses a threat to the enjoyment of gambling as a recreational economic activity, as listed in Schedule 4 of the Constitution. Destination gambling has little or no effect on problem gambling.
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