Online gambling decision in South Africa to be appealed (update)

Piggs Peak operator will challenge the 'where internet gambling takes place' finding

The operator of the Piggs Peak online casino in Swaziland, Casino Enterprises, has reacted to yesterday's judicial ruling that in the online environment gambling takes place at the physical interaction point (see previous InfoPowa report)

The ruling, by Judge N.B. Tuchten in the North Gauteng High Court, effectively makes all online gambling and promotion in South Africa illegal, claims the Gauteng Gambling Board.

Casino Enterprises operations director Lew Saul Koor said: “Until the appeal has been heard and the outcome determined, our business will continue as usual, as agreed with the Gambling Boards.”

But a lawyer specialising in gambling law, Alicia Gibson, told ITWeb that the court ruling will apply to all online gambling in SA, and that all advertising relating to online gambling on any medium is therefore at present illegal.

After years of research and debate, the legalisation of online gambling has been on the government's back burner following opposition to the National Gambling Amendment Bill's promulgation a year ago. At that time the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry requested that current legislation be reviewed, and a commission was set up for the task.

This Gambling Review Commission is now believed to be completing its report on all aspects of gambling, including internet gambling. A senior official in the Ministry said this week that the commission's deliberations should be concluded by end August, and that it would submit its report and recommendations in September 2010.

The Commission's findings are not yet known.

A recommendation that online gambling be legalised and regulated would mean further legislative activity on the previous proposal, which suggested that only 10 online licenses would be issued, with strict requirements regarding player protection, money laundering, the local domicile of operators, financial processors and equipment and provision for responsible gambling precautions.

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