That the National Gambling Board has obtained court orders to seize money won by local gamblers playing in online casinos or sweepstakes will surprise a few people.
Many people are unaware that any unapproved gambling operations – whether local or abroad – are illegal.
Winnings can be forfeited to the state. There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, the need to control gambling so that it does not destroy families and individuals.
Secondly, and equally important, is the country’s exchange control system, which seeks to regulate funds flowing out of South Africa into overseas bank accounts.
However, all that regulation might come to nought if the National Gambling Board continues to be administered in the shambolic way it currently is.
Court papers show the two gamblers had their winnings attached by Standard Bank in 2012. Whichever way you look at it – and the board had myriad excuses for the length the case took – taking six years to finalise one matter is not the way to run an important state oversight body.
That is why there is so much criminality and law-breaking in this country: the perpetrators know the authorities won’t, or can’t, catch them.