South Africa 18.8.2018 06:45 am

Gamblers forfeit their winnings to the state

They said they weren’t aware that what they were doing was illegal in SA.

Two gamblers who thought they had struck it rich after gambling online using an offshore gambling site have lost their jackpots to the state.

The National Gambling Board obtained orders in the High Court in Pretoria,declaring the almost R80 000 Standard Bank had received in December 2012 on behalf of Johannesburg gambler Mark Lennard, 43, and the R10 375 the bank had received on behalf of Cape Town gambler Scott Rodwell, 35, in January 2015 were illegal winnings derived from unauthorised gambling activities and their winnings were forfeited to the state.

The board’s administrator Caroline Kongwa said in court papers they had received information from Standard Bank in 2012 and 2015 that the bank had received amounts on behalf of the two gamblers that were suspected to be illegal winnings.

The bank remitted the amounts to the board to be held in its trust account pending the finalisation of an investigation and a forfeiture application.

Kongwa said the board was not in a position to initiate the investigation between July 2013 and June 2016 because of “internal challenges” which resulted in the trade and industry minister placing the board under administration in 2014 and the number of winnings remitted by banking institutions for investigations increasing tremendously.

He said there were no funds to finance the investigations and no person working for the board available to assist with it.

The board only committed funds to initiate the investigation in 2015 and initially appointed Fakude Ehlers to conduct the investigations, but terminated its mandate in 2016 because it was not satisfied with the manner in which the investigations were conducted.

The board appointed Moduka Attorneys in June 2016 to conduct the investigations. They managed to complete their investigations in August 2016, although their reports were only tabled before the board’s unlawful winnings committee over a year later.

Kongwa said the gamblers confirmed they had gambled online using offshore gambling sites, but said they did to know that unauthorised interactive gaming was unlawful in South Africa.

Rodwell told investigators he placed bets on the same site when he lived in Sweden, where it was legal to do so, and was under the impression that he could still place bets on the site while in South Africa.

ilsedl@citizen.co.za

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