South Africa and USA Using Banks to Stop Online Gambling

Published Wednesday, February 02, 2011 -

Similarities between the USA and South Africa are emerging in regards to their approach to prohibiting online gambling within their borders.  South Africa is charging the banks and money processing organizations with the responsibility of stopping consumers from gambling online. The banks at least in South Africa have tried to inform their customers that using their credit card to purchase lottery tickets or place wagers at offshore internet sites is illegal.  The Financial Surveillance Department of the Reserve Bank of South Africa has sent out instructions to the banks reminding them of their duty as law abiding corporations. The Exchange Control provisions state, "Residents may not participate in lotteries organized abroad or participate in any online gambling activities, as such participation contravenes the Lotteries Act 57/1997 and the National Gambling Act 7/2004 as amended by the National Gambling Amendment Act 10/2008."
Accounts are being watched for the illegal actions of South African gamblers. American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa are all on the list of money processors that will no linger accept transactions associated with internet wagering or services related to gambling.
The effort to curtail online gambling in South Africa has been stalled for a long time. Back in 2009 the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry set up a Gambling Review Commission to look at gambling and report to the lawmakers. The Commission submitted a report to the Minister for Trade and Industry and the results were to be studied by provincial ministers to make recommendations for changes in the existing gambling laws. To date that has not transpired and no time frame has been established for conclusion. 
The gambling industry, in the meantime is suggesting the delay is costing millions in tax and license revenues for the government. The USA and South Africa are caught in a similar situation. Both governments are dithering and loosing millions in the process.


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