In a legal battle on where online gambling takes place from an official South African perspective, the South African Appeal Court in Bloemfontein has decided against the case brought by Casino Enterprises, the Swaziland-based company which operates online gambling casino Piggs Peak.
The company statement regarding this defeat reads:
"Further to our appeal, that was heard in the Appeal Court in Bloemfontein on 23 August 2011 where final judgment has been delivered, we regret to inform you that our appeal has been unsuccessful.
"With immediate effect Casino Enterprises (Pty) Limited trading as Piggs Peak Casino, Piggs Peak Poker, Piggs Peak Bingo and Volcanic Gold Casino will no longer accept bets from any players in South Africa.
"Should you have a positive balance in your Piggs Peak Casino account, please make a withdrawal.
"Please note: Our casino will only be accessible by players outside the borders of South Africa."
Casino Enterprise based its action on the theory that online gambling takes place on the servers of the operator and not on the hardware of the player, but this was not acknowledged by the court and it now still remains to see whether the country will make a more enlightened decision regarding online gambling at the legislative table.
The court has made its decision partly thanks to the finding by Justice Jonathan Heher that gambling takes place where the player is, and not where the casino's servers are located.
“The prospective player is 'seduced' in SA, he or she takes and activates the crucial decision to gamble here, he or she is impoverished here; the Internet casino intrudes upon the field of licensed operators here and it does so without payment of dues to the state,” said Heher, adding:
“If gambling takes place in SA it is of no consequence what means are employed to facilitate it and whether those means are employed outside the country.”
In regards to the attractiveness and potential of the South African market for online gambling, it is extremely great, especially having in mind its advanced communications and banking infrastructure, as well as the popularity of land gambling.
Yet, things do not look bright at the moment, thanks to the fact that the South African National Gambling Board is threatening to prosecute both operators and punters when it received the support of a final judicial ruling.
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