Piggs Peak Loses South African Court Case
In recent years the Piggs Peak legal case was one of the longer and much followed internet gambling cases in South Africa.
The first party was the Microgaming powered popular casino Piggs Peak which belongs to Casino Enterprises, a firm based in Swaziland. The second party was the state of South Africa represented by its National Gambling Board. In the Appeal Court in Bloemfontein the final battle was fought, since Piggs Peak internet casino lost in the lower courts.
The Appeal Court rejected Piggs Peak internet casino’s appeal heralding the end of a drawn-out litigation process. Casino Enterprises released a statement that reads like this, “With immediate effect Casino Enterprises (Pty) Limited trading as Piggs Peak Casino, Piggs Peak Poker, Piggs Peak Bingo and Volcanic Gold Casino will no longer accept bets from any players in South Africa. Should you have a positive balance in your Piggs Peak Casino account, please make a withdrawal. Please note: Our internet casino will only be accessible by players that reside outside South Africa.”
The fact of the matter was where internet gambling should take place. Piggs Peak internet casino said that internet gambling takes place on the servers of the operator and not on the player’s hardware (sounds a bit corny). Because the servers are located in Swaziland, where internet gambling is permitted, Piggs Peak maintained that the legal position of internet gambling in South Africa becomes irrelevant. Justice Jonathan Heher of the Appeal Court ruled that the internet gambling takes place where the player is from, and not from where the casino’s servers are located.
Justice Heher provided numerous reasons for his ruling. The player takes and activates the critical choice to wager at his place of residence; the internet casino intrudes upon the field of licensed operators at the player’s place of residence and it does so without paying the country any dues (tax) where the player resides. As a result the gambling in this case took place in South Africa. Justice Heher added, “If gambling takes place in South Africa it is of no consequence what means are employed to facilitate it and whether those means are employed outside the country.”
The South African National Gambling Board clearly stipulated its intentions. Once it had a final court ruling in its favour it would carry on with the prosecution of both internet casinos and players. Now that the ruling is finalized, internet players in South Africa hope that the Gambling Act would be revised soon.
To date, the Gambling Review Commission stated that internet gambling should be legalized in South Africa. However, government is yet to make up its mind concerning this issue. Once the government agrees to the recommendations, a drawn-out legalization process will follow. Experts are not prepared to provide a date, it might even take years. As of now internet gambling is still against the law in South Africa irrespective of where the internet casinos’ servers are located.[addtoany]