Online gambling is illegal in South Africa, and they aren't the only country in the world where this is the case. However, recent developments seem to indicate they are more serious than most when it comes to imposing online gambling laws, especially with regards to players.
A recent police operation saw several players forced to forfeit their R1,250,00 (close to $100,000) in winnings to the state after the authorities have tracked their illegal gambling activities. The seizure was in line with current laws in South Africa, which dictate that the state has the right to appropriate any proceeds from illegal gambling activities. Online gambling falls into that category.
Setting the Precedent
The recent case was described as unprecedented in the PR from the country's trade and industry department, but it demonstrates the willingness of the authorities to seriously battle against illicit online gambling activities.
It is very uncommon for a country to go after the players, as they usually stick to the service providers (online casinos), but Rob Davies, the Trade and Industry Minister, had previously cautioned players that if they chose to illegally gamble online, they need to be aware their winnings would be subject to the criminal forfeiture, if discovered.
Apart from online gambling being illegal as such, the authorities are also concerned these activities could be used as means to launder money. Hence, every person caught participating in such activities will not only have their winnings confiscated, but could potentially face criminal charges and a fine of up to R10,000,000.
South Africa is sending a clear message that illegal online gambling operations are not welcome in the country, and they are willing to go as far as to criminally persecute their citizens to make the point. Thus, for the time being, it seems that gambling in South Africa is a prospect that simply doesn't pay.
As for everyone else, this is a good reminder to always play only at properly licensed and regulated casinos and stay on the safe side - just in case!