The South African authorities have issued a high court order which makes the act of online betting on the outcome of the national lottery illegal, according to a report in the Mail and Guardian.
The lottery betting operator LottoStar has been told to withdraw its operations from South Africa after a six-year battle concluded this week.
The Mpumalanga high court stated that LottoStar had been in breach of section 57 of the Lotteries Act, which states that any person who manages any scheme that directly or indirectly provides for betting on the outcome of any lottery is committing a crime.
Those in favour of banning LottoStar from the country claimed that placing bets on the outcome of the National Lottery was ‘indistinguishable’ from playing the lottery itself, thereby accusing it of acting as a lottery operator.
The South African National Lottery Commission welcomed the decision taken by the courts and released a statement, stating the decision would create an environment “for safe and sustainable lotteries where the interests of participants are protected”.
The national lottery contributes around 27% of its revenue to fund good causes in local communities across the country, whereas LottoStar reportedly only paid 1.7% tax on its revenues.
In a statement, the high court lambasted LottoStar’s operation: “If the provincial legislature lacks the competency to allow the conduct of LottoStar, it is inconceivable that LottoStar can claim to derive power to engage in those activities from a source that naturally does not have it.
“This matter demonstrates how justice is often delayed when meritless preliminary defences are raised in circumstances where no real defence to the merits lie.”