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Tebogo Makamo, the former head of compliance at the Gauteng Gambling Board, is hoping that his blockchain platform Gron Digital will become an industry standard in making the gambling sector more transparent. The startup launched a pre-initial coin offering (pre-ICO) earlier this week.
The platform, claims Makamo, will use blockchain (and smart contracts specifically) to among other things, improve transparency around gambling winnings and ensure that South Africans stick to the law and use only licensed operators to gamble online.
The startup plans to launch the ICO proper on 6 February and raise the equivalent of 57 000 Ethereum coins (valued at $57.4-million on 24 January 2018) to develop the platform.
Makamo, who is also the CEO of CDP Gaming Technologies which provides betting platform technology, says rather than work with gambling boards and authorities to force the use of the blockchain platform on operators, he hopes instead that operators will adopt the platform as a way to increase their reputation.
Through an ICO, Gron Digital wants to raise the equivalent of 57 000 Ethereum coins — valued at over $57m
In addition, by using the blockchain, gaming manufacturers, casino operators and lottery operators can ensure that winnings are better audited — as all these parties will have access to figures on winnings.
Makamo says at present no one has proven that the revenue that gambling houses make, is really what they claim it to be. It’s therefore all too easy for operators to under report earnings so that they can get away with paying out less tax revenue.
Furthermore, the blockchain can also help block winnings from any online operator not registered in South Africa being paid out to South Africans, he says.
While online betting is legal with a licensed South African bookmaker, South Africans are not permitted to gamble with international companies from within the country, the National Gambling Board advises on its website.
Makamo says the blockchain will there make it easier for authorities to ensure that South Africans use only licensed SA operators when gambling online.
The platform will make use of the GRO utility token which participants can use in exchange for value and services on offer. All bets, wins, bonuses, incentives and rewards will be paid in GRO.
Makamo says the startup plans to initially target the platform at just South African gambling operators, before seeking to expand into the rest of Africa.
The token, he says, will also be used to raise funds for the ongoing development of the platform. Gron Digital will initially just operate with a casino chip token (utility token) called GRO
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