The DTI, or Department of Trade and Industry, has confiscated roughly ZAR1.25 million (AU$1.27 million) from several South African players this week. Online gambling is illegal in South Africa, save for online sports betting according to 2016 regulations. According to a DTI spokesman, the South African players were well aware that gambling online was illegal.
National Gambling Board and DTI Process
Sidwell Medupe, the spokesman for the DTI, said that the seizure of the winnings was carried out by banks and the National Gambling Board. The winnings were legally confiscated after an application was made to the High Court of South Africa. Minister Rob Davies had previously expressed concerns over the relationship between online gambling and money laundering in the country.
South Africa is not the first nation to be concerned over money laundering schemes and gambling. The government of China has also started to crack down on suspected gambling crimes, including money laundering through Macau. The former Portuguese colony is the only area in China where nationals may gamble.
DTI Regulations in South Africa
Since 2008, the National Gambling Amendment of South Africa has tried to legalise and regulate online casino gambling. However, the updated bill was published in 2016 by the DTI. The bill is intended to kerb online gambling, but the bill is yet to be voted on. The indecisive behaviour of the South African government has led to many online casinos finding loopholes with which to operate in.
Additionally, the government put the 2008 bill on pause for eight years awaiting new regulations. Many online casino operators claimed that laws were still forthcoming, and so could operate in South Africa. However, the recent confiscation of winnings may trigger a long-awaited parliamentary debate over interactive gambling.
DTI Spurred into Action
The DTI’s move to punish players gambling illegally might mean that interactive gambling laws could commence. The 2008 bill was signed into law by the President of South Africa but never received a commencement date. However, the 2016 bill was also not passed through parliament or signed into law. Here’s hoping other online gamblers don’t suffer under the lax lawmakers.