Betfair Exits South African Online Gambling Market

Published Monday, February 06, 2012 -

It has been coming for a while and the day has arrived when Betfair the U.K. betting establishment has announced it will no longer offer its gambling services to South African punters.
Public affairs manager for the Betfair operation,Tom Tuxworth  commented that the company says it will block access to its services from South African Internet addresses in response to the Supreme Court of Appeal ruling last September that declared online  gambling illegal, and subject to big fines. The decision clarified the South African government’s position on interactive gaming in the country which now bans all advertising for internet wagering as well.
Swaziland-based Casino Enterprises, operator of Piggs Peak Casino, Piggs Peak Poker, Piggs Peak Bingo and Volcanic Gold Casino, asked for an appeal of the prohibition of internet wagering on the grounds of server location, but was ruled out by the Bloemfontein Supreme Court of Appeal. The interactive web site has been removed since the landmark decision came down.

Betfair has followed suit and will no longer accept bets from South African residents. Tuxworth said,  “Our Web site is in the process of being IP-blocked to the entire country.”
Betfair has given account holders until the 14th of  February 2012 to withdraw their funds. Betfair’s law department took a long hard look at the situation and it looks like they have made the right decision after seeing the costly attempt by Piggs Peak Casino come to a negative end.
In addition, “the technical work required to put the block in place needed to be planned and tested prior to being implemented”, Tuxworth explained, “It was also necessary to communicate with our customers to ensure an orderly closure of their accounts.”

Betfair is applying for a sportsbook licence in the Western Cape under the existing framework. Tuxworth continued to say that sports betting is legal in SA under the current framework. The Gambling Review Commission has recommended that online wagering be legalised, and that more than 10 licences be issued.



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