Court pulls plug on online gambling
Online gambling has been declared illegal by a ruling in the North Gauteng High Court, putting an end to years of arguments around where technically the gambling takes place and whether it would be considered legal if hosted outside of SA.
The ruling, handed down in Johannesburg by Judge Neil Tuchten last Friday, ends years of debate about whether online gambling is legal, as the act of gambling is now deemed to take place at the punter's computer, and not where the server is located.
As a result, it is an offence for Internet service providers (ISPs) to facilitate online gambling, and for the media to run advertisements promoting interactive gaming. In addition, banks cannot aid people in gambling online.
The overall gaming industry is worth about R16 billion in revenue each year, and South Africans bet about R212 billion in legal gambling annually, according to the National Gambling Board. About 7% of global gambling revenue is spent on the Internet.
However, online gambling in SA is illegal, because the National Gambling Act of 2004 does not make provision for it. Arguments around the question of where the gambling takes place, if a gambling Web site is hosted outside of the country's borders, have been winding their way through the legal system for some time.