Johannesburg - Fewer South Africans are gambling now compared to 2001, Professor Peter Collins, executive director of the National Responsible Gambling Programme, said on Friday.
The percentage of citizens who never gamble has risen from 30 in 2001 to over 50 this year, he told parliament's portfolio committee on trade and industry, according to a statement from the programme.
"The number of problem gamblers in the country has also declined from 3% in 2008 to 1% in 2011."
The committee is holding public hearings into gambling as part of a review of South African gambling legislation.
"This figure is similar to that found in European and other English speaking jurisdictions and considerably higher than the number in Asia," Collins said.
"However, in South Africa, poor people are disproportionately likely to gamble too much on cheaper forms of gambling such as the lottery and illegal games such as iFafi, dice and cards, which is commonly played in and around township shebeens."
Collins said South Africa's gambling laws and regulations were as good as those found anywhere in the world.
The committee held public hearings in response to a gambling review report written by a commission established by Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies in December 2009. The report was tabled in parliament in June.