Bingosinos, Concurrent Competence, and Functional Federalism in South Africa

Authors Stephen Louw, Victoria Bronstein

ISSN: 1996-2177
Affiliations: Senior Lecturer, Department of Political Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg; Associate Professor, School of Law, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
Source: South African Law Journal, Volume 135 Number 3, p. 547 – 571


Gambling, which is an area of concurrent national and provincial competence, provides a lens into South African federalism and co-operative government. Bingo machines may play a disproportionately important role in determining the fate of provincial powers in South Africa as s 146 of the South African Constitution, which regulates conflict between national and provincial legislation, threatens to become the subject of a defining court decision. The substance of the dispute is that the old-fashioned game of bingo has given way to bingo machines which have the look, feel and sound of casino slot machines. Some provincial legislation allows for the licensing of these machines, an approach resisted by central government. This mirrors a battle in the United States, where the same machines were used in order to get around regulatory distinctions in the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988.