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ThePOGG.com withdraws from South Africa

Posted by THEPOGG on Jun 05, 2017

Recently our new News reporter Glenn Baird published an article for us on the recent developments in the South African markets (https://thepogg.com/news-article/south-african-authorities-confiscate-winnings/). Specifically this article focuses on the decision of the South African regulator the National Gaming Board (NGB) to target players in their efforts to stamp out online gambling.

It is being reported by various sources that the NGB have worked with various banks to identify online gamblers and have confiscated R1.25m (~£70k) from players.

This money is being presented as winnings but is likely to simply be withdrawals, meaning that the impacted players could easily have endured losses overall via play and the funds that have be confiscated in fact would not have made these players overall winners. To establish whether the confiscated funds were “winnings” would require the cooperation of the involved casinos, something that’s unlikely to happen.

The regulator’s website now make clear on that any South African they identify as having engaged in online gambling not only faces having their “winnings” (or more likely their withdrawals) seized, but could potentially face criminal charges and jail time.

Given the regulator’s decision to pursue players, anyone engaging with online gambling operations from South Africa now faces far more significant risks than losing money. We at ThePOGG.com cannot in good conscience recommend anyone take this risk and as such we have taken the decision to lead the way in this conversation and restricted all users accessing our site from South Africa from using our links to register with any operator.

We strongly feel that any responsible affiliate or operator will follow our lead in this manner and ensure that they are not endangering potentially unwitting players by ensuring that they restrict South African traffic from signing up through their links (affiliates) or registering with their service (operators).

As far as the NGB’s actions, we cannot condemn them strongly enough. In our opinion this is financial opportunism, pursuing the weaker and potentially ignorant party, punishing the consumer because they’ve failed to enact any effective action against those companies that are knowingly flouting the law in an attempt to look in some way effective. It demonstrates that the approach being taken is absolutely nothing what-so-ever to do with what is in the best interests of the people they represent, but is instead being used to punitively pursue a false moral agenda while lining government coffers at the same time.

Further to this, this action is directly contrary to the findings of the Gambling Review Commission set up by the South African government in 2010, demonstrating clearly the NGB are willing to be seen to disregard any and all advice that would contradict their desired course of action.

Prohibition has been demonstrated time and time again to be ineffective strategy in shutting down activities like gambling. The USA’s UIGEA 2006 is a perfect example of this. Rather than effectively stopping US citizens from engaging with online gambling, this legislation drove US players to unlicensed and largely disreputable operators that frequently engaged in disreputable practices. The policies now being pursued by the NGB are highly likely to have the same result except, where the US government pursued those banks and operators who knowingly facilitated illegal play, the NGB will end up pursuing the unwitting players who are simply unaware that they’ve done anything wrong.

We view the NGB’s actions as absolutely immoral and feel that they should rightly be viewed as a discrediting embarrassment for a government body who should be working in the best interests of the people who they represent rather taking a shameful cash grab in lieu of any actually effective regulator action.

To close out this statement we would like to assure all readers that while we will not refer South African traffic to operators, we are still happy to assist South African players where they have complaints against operators they’ve played with.

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