South Africa court upholds illegal status of online gambling

South Africa's Pretoria High Court ruled this week that Internet businesses offering casino-style gambling to its people were doing so illegally.

Along with their ruling, the courts decided that online gambling operators and the people who use the sites could face fines of up to R10 million and 10 years in prison for the illegal activity.

According to the High Court, the decision was made because South Africa doesn't have legislation in place to issue licenses for online casinos. Even if the business is licensed in another country, it's not considered valid in South Africa.

The National Gambling Board and the Minister of Trade and Industry also brought cases to the court against Internet service providers, financial service providers, TV stations and the print media for facilitating online gambling.

In keeping with its decision about online gambling in general, the Pretoria High Court also upheld that facilitating the illegal activity was also illegal.

The atmosphere around online casinos and poker could soon change in South Africa though. In October, a draft amendment bill was submitted to the Cabinet that would allow licensing of online gambling businesses in the country.

According to government officials, the business was only made illegal in the nation to give them time to put effective regulation and licensing procedures in place.

Related Article: South Africa May Legalize Online Gambling

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