A few days after drastic sweeping changes came to South African gambling law, regulators there have announced that they’re mainly targeting operators based outside of South Africa, especially those from Swaziland and Europe. It’s having enough of an effect that one local financial reported the industry to be in “disarray” after the restrictive ban went into effect.
At least one online casino is taking a firm stand against the ban, as the South Africa-centered Piggs Peak is appealing the recent decision of the Johannesburg High Court in the Pretoria High Court. “On consultation with our senior legal council,” said Piggs Peak operations director Lew Saul Koor, “they agree that we should appeal this finding which we believe is totally incorrect. Until the appeal has been heard and the outcome determined, our business will continue as usual as agreed with the gambling boards.”
The ban doesn’t seem to apply to locally-licensed online sportsbooks in South Africa, however, as local bookmakers have merely been warned to comply with local gambling board regulations – and the South African government is still issuing licenses to local sportsbook operations.
Banks have immediately become wary of wrong-doing well beyond mere online casinos in South Africa. In borrowing a page from the United States’ Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, the South African National Gambling Board has declared that “Banking institutions’ credit and debit cards should not be used for the payment of any gambling transactions that are illegal, and the banks reserve the right to decline processing or paying any card transactions which are suspected to be illegal gambling transactions.”
As a result, big South African banks such as Standard and Investec have warned customers to not use credit cards on any form of gambling, including in land-based sportsbooks and for lottery tickets.