Online gambling decision in South Africa to be appealed

Piggs Peak operator will challenge the ‘where internet gambling takes place’ finding

The operator of the Piggs Peak online casino in Swaziland, Casino Enterprises, has reacted to yesterday’s judicial ruling that in the online environment gambling takes place at the physical interaction point

The ruling, by Judge N.B. Tuchten in the North Gauteng High Court, effectively makes all online gambling and promotion in South Africa illegal, claims the Gauteng Gambling Board.

Casino Enterprises operations director Lew Saul Koor said: “Until the appeal has been heard and the outcome determined, our business will continue as usual, as agreed with the Gambling Boards.”

But a lawyer specialising in gambling law, Alicia Gibson, told ITWeb that the court ruling will apply to all online gambling in SA, and that all advertising relating to online gambling on any medium is therefore at present illegal.

After years of research and debate, the legalisation of online gambling has been on the government’s back burner following opposition to the National Gambling Amendment Bill’s promulgation a year ago. At that time the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry requested that current legislation be reviewed, and a commission was set up for the task.

This Gambling Review Commission is now believed to be completing its report on all aspects of gambling, including internet gambling. A senior official in the Ministry said this week that the commission’s deliberations should be concluded by end August, and that it would submit its report and recommendations in September 2010.

The Commission’s findings are not yet known.

A recommendation that online gambling be legalised and regulated would mean further legislative activity on the previous proposal, which suggested that only 10 online licenses would be issued, with strict requirements regarding player protection, money laundering, the local domicile of operators, financial processors and equipment and provision for responsible gambling precautions.…

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Online gambling legalisation delays in Denmark

Q2-2011 now looks a more likely date…and that black period is causing concerns

Denmark’s slow march toward the abandonment of its state monopoly on internet gambling is set to experience further delays, according to a Ladbrokes executive, and Betsson’s chief executive is undecided on whether the Swedish company will apply for a licence.

Back in July this year, the Danes started accepting licence applications after earlier agreeing under pressure from the European Commission to some liberalisation.

The snag was that applicants had to cease all activity in the market for a six month period until the licenses became effective, originally estimated to take place around January 2011. This ‘black period’ condition was widely interpreted as an attempt to create a protective cushion around state monopoly Danske Spil, giving it a significant advantage over its eventual competitors.

Licenses cannot be issued until the EC has completed a review of the draft law liberalising the market, which includes provisions for ISP and financial blocking of unlicensed operators.

Assuming there are no complications, a tentative date of October 11 has been set down for the issue of licenses, but interested parties fear that the Danes may impose the ‘black period’ from that date, further prolonging their exclusion from the action.

There has apparently been no shortage of licence applications, and last week a well informed Ladbrokes executive opined that the black period could be extended further, perhaps as far as the second quarter of 2011, a delay justified by the licensing process.

This week Betsson chief executive Pontus Lindwall revealed that his company is unhappy with the taxation aspects and the black period, and remains undecided on whether to seek a licence.

He said that he additionally saw no reason for the Danish proposal that lottery, horse betting, bingo, keno and scratch cards should remain the sole prerogative of Danske Spil

In the meantime he has complained to the European Commission on grounds that the Danish approach contravenes European Union law.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that the Danes want all the advantages; there are indications that the Danish Gambling Board wants to let Danish-licensed companies access the player equity available in international markets, although competitors in those markets cannot operate in Denmark unless they have a local licence.…

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