Blow for SA's online gambling

Online casinos operated from outside the country's borders have long been a grey area for South African legislators.


Now the industry, estimated to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year, appears to have been dealt a blow with a new court ruling against a Swaziland-based online casino.

South African media reports said the Gauteng High Court had ruled that online casinos cannot advertise their services within SA's borders.

The ruling holds that it is illegal for South Africans to take part in online gambling activities, and that media advertising such services will be liable for hefty fines.

The ruling comes ahead of an expected report from the country's Gambling Review Commission on the legality of online gambling. The Commission was appointed by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies, at the beginning of this year.

The scope of the Gambling Review Commission covers, amongst others:

  • The social effects of gambling and mechanisms in place to address them

  • Commitment of the industry to social investment

  • Evaluate the adequacy of the regulatory framework to accommodate and effectively deal with the impact of technology and new trends, and

  • The effectiveness of current regulation, control and enforcement structures

The Commission, headed by Astrid Ludin, has held many public hearings on the matter throughout the year and is expected to present a report to the minister soon.

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