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Many SA online gamblers are breaking the law

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While online gambling in South Africa remains illegal, there has been a proliferation in recent years of websites that offer such services. However, few South Africans realise that by using these sites, they too are breaking the law and could face prosecution.

In South Africa the legislation is clear – Section 11 of the National Gambling Act states: A person must not engage in or make available an interactive game except as authorised in terms of this Act or any other national law.

According to Tasoulla Hadjigeorgiou, CEO of LottoStar, an approved and legal fixed-odds betting site of its kind to be launched exclusively to the South African market, there are certain exceptions for bookmakers who are authorised to use online platforms. “Any legal bookmaker, offering sports and fixed odds betting, who has an issued licence from a provincial gambling board has the right to operate an online site as well.”

“The fact is that many of the websites that South African consumers are using simply do not comply with this law, which means that the gamers making use of these services could face prosecution themselves.”

The Casino Association of South Africa (CASA) further states that much of the illegal online gambling activity is being run from internet cafes and places known as ‘entertainment lounges’ which the association says are mushrooming in South Africa.  “The concept behind these illegal gambling establishments is that they offer access to online gambling platforms which are outside of South Africa, as many sites offer the ability to transact in South African currency,” adds Hadjigeorgiou.

She notes that LottoStar, which provides the ability to make a fixed-odds bet on international lotteries, also ensures that every bet is underwritten by a reinsurer, meaning that when a player does win big, the pay-out is completely guaranteed. “If the site being used is illegal not only is there no guarantee that someone may obtain their winnings if they do hit the jackpot, there is also no recourse as these sites are not registered, monitored or subject to the laws of South Africa.”

A PwC survey reported that gross land-based casino gambling revenues totalled R16.5 billion in South Africa in 2013. With CASA estimating that 5% of all gambling spend is being channelled towards illegal online gambling, this demonstrates the huge scale of the problem.

“The laws surrounding online gambling are complex for most consumers to understand and they simply may not know that they are breaking the law by using certain websites. It is crucial that stakeholders work together to find solutions to ensure consumers are properly educated on the legalities and implications of the various platforms currently available,” concludes Hadjigeorgiou.

 

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Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart

Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.

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As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page

KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching. 

The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter. 

The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style. 

The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button. 

The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on. 

In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode. 

Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.

Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.

Find them on Kickstarter here.

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Taxify enters Google Maps

A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.

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People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.

Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.

Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.

If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.

This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.

“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.

Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.

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