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SA Gambling Board Seizes Online Gambling Winnings

By: Joe Valentino, Monday April 15th 2013
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The South African National Gambling Board (NGB) seized 40,000 rands that an unnamed Johannesburg punter had won on an UK based online gambling site. NGB chief executive officer, Baby Tyawa, strongly supported this decision, pointing out that any form of unlicensed online gambling in South Africa is prohibited and is a criminal offence. The seized amount has been put into a trust account controlled by National Treasury, as is the practice in such cases. This account has around 3.5 million rands confiscated from other online gamblers.

A large number of South Africans do wager at online casinos and other gambling sites. Many of them are unaware that this activity is presently illegal. Tyawa warned that online gamblers could be fined 10,000 rands or face imprisonment if they are caught in addition to having their winnings confiscated. The NGB was working with all major local banks and the UK Gambling Commission to monitor South Africans who wagered online.

This particular player has initiated legal proceedings against the NGB. Tyawa confirmed that the board has received a letter of demand from the gambler’s lawyers. He also confirmed that the board would not be returning the winnings. Hence it seems that the NGB may be dragged to court and get embroiled in a legal battle. South Africa is one of those countries that have been unable to come to a clear path forward, despite struggling for years, with the issue of online gambling. Its MPs have made extensive educational visits to regulated jurisdictions. There have been parliamentary debates and comprehensive reviews. But only limited online gambling on licensed sports sites has been permitted thus far.

The South African participation at offshore online casinos is only increasing as can be evidenced from the winners’ lists. Casino Tropez is a very popular online casino for South African players, who are the biggest winners there. Even in the latest winners’ list it is the South African players that have raked in the lion’s share of the winnings. A player using the alias Tiaan won over 3.5 million rands in one day on April 13. This player won over 3 million rands on the video poker variant Jacks or Better and almost 0.5 million rands on the video slot game Desert Treasure II. On April 12 Tiaan had won almost 1.4 million rands on Jacks or Better. This video poker variant also paid rich dividends for another South African player Vivan. Vivan won a smaller packet of over 300,000 rands on April 12 and April 15. Casino Tropez is a brand of the Euro Partners affiliate program. It is powered by software from Playtech and licensed in the jurisdiction of Antigua and Barbuda.

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