South Africa criminalizes online poker
In the first move of its kind –to my knowledge that is—South Africa has not only made it illegal for online poker sites to offer games to South African residents, but has also made it illegal to play online poker! This is a bold move where players could now face prosecution for participating in an online poker game –Penalties include fines of up to R10 million and 10 years in prison, so you better make sure that you get your money’s worth if you play online poker in South Africa.
The North Gaetung court ruling states that all forms of online gambling are illegal under South African law. While the ruling seems pretty stern, it is most likely a lot of posturing –banning online gaming in other areas has done little to curtail it, but this is the first time players could face prosecution.
Obviously, it will be virtually impossible to prosecute online poker providers since they operate offshore and therefore outside the jurisdiction of South African law. So, this puts the risk squarely on the online poker players in South Africa –but much like Washington State’s laws in the US, it remains to be seen if law enforcement will enforce the court’s ruling or not.
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