South Africa has deemed all Internet gaming, including online poker, to be illegal within their country. The surprised ruling is shocking since most countries are pushing toward allowing online poker. There will be prosecution to both online poker rooms and their players
Law-breakers are subject to imprisonment and heavy fine. The new law will be appealed; online casinos will be allowed to over look this law until the appeal process is finished.
On August 20th the North Gauteng high court reached this controversial decision. They’ve imposed a heavy fine of R10 million ($1.354 million) and imprisonment of up to 10 years, or both, as punishments for breaking this new law. Also advertising an online casino or poker room in the media is prohibited. The players, online gaming room, and even Internet service provider may all be held responsible in an illegal online gaming case.
South Africa’s land-based casinos may have pushed this move. However, there are some gaming companies in South Africa that operate both brick & mortar and online casinos. Additionally, the new law makes no distinction between local and foreign providers of online gaming. This means South African casino companies, such as South Africa’s Piggs Peak, that hold brick & mortar and online entities are especially in jeopardy by this new law. Lew Saul Koor, Piggs Peak Operations Director, has gone on record to say: “Until the appeal has been heard and the outcome determined, our business will continue as usual as agreed with the Gambling Boards.”
As poker organizations around the world go for newer, more updated laws from their governments, South Africa seems to have taken a step in the wrong direction. Hopefully the appeal overturns this strict law and allows players to continue enjoying their favorite online poker games.