The South African government’s Department of Trade and Industry has reacted to warnings on internet gambling issued earlier this week by the Casino Association of South Africa, and the news that a member of the Opposition is preparing the launch of a fresh online gambling legalisation bill (see previous reports)
In a statement Friday, the DTI unequivocally advised that the government is not considering the legalisation of online gambling, and warned Internet gambling operators that they will be prosecuted if found offering the genre to SA gamblers.
“Online gambling, or what others refer to as remote gambling, is not allowed in SA, and the National Gambling Board together with other law enforcement agencies will act on this illegal activity with immediate effect,” the statement makes clear, adding that the activity remains illegal, and any person offering or operating such a business is committing an offence.
“Perpetrators, whether operating an illegal establishment or participating as individuals could be liable to a fine of up to R10 million and/or 10 years in jail,” the DTI warned.
“Online gambling is not desirable and the DTI has raised its objection to the proposal by the Democratic Alliance [the official Opposition] to legalise online gambling.”
“There are a number of social ills associated with gambling, especially online gambling which occurs in unregulated and unsupervised locations. Other forms of gambling that are allowed in SA take place under strict supervision in locations that are designated for such activities.
“In our view no amount of control will adequately curb the harm that may be caused to South African citizens by online gambling, hence we reiterate that it must remain a banned activity.”
The DTI statement urged members of the public to report online gambling and any other form of illegal gambling activities to the police.