What to do with online gambling has been a hot topic with cash strapped states, provinces and countries lately. California recently wrestled with it, some provinces in Canada have embraced it with others to follow suit and many other European countries have chimed in on one side or the other.
South Africa, Holland and Nova Scotia have been the latest to headline the online gambling news. One has made a decisive decision while the others are considering going in an opposite direction. South Africa has decided this week to ban online gambling.
In a ruling by the North Gauteng High Court, companies can no longer offer online gambling services to the citizens of South Africa. It also made gambling online for the citizens themselves. It went further to include banning advertising for online gambling on radio, TV, print, and billboards. The punishment for violating the new law is quite steep including a 10 million rand fine ($1.4 million), 10 years in jail or both.
Holland however seems to be taking a different approach. Holland has a state run monopoly on online gambling but according to the Justice Ministry Commission this may soon change to involve opening up online poker to several different companies. The Commission recommended opening up online poker because the current system of having one online site is not working. Companies outside Holland already cater to Dutch player’s which leaves the government two choices, block access to foreign sites or license foreign poker sites.
Another Canadian province, Nova Scotia is planning to introduce online gambling. There is opposition however from the Atlantic Lottery Corporation that is a joint venture between New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia. According to Finance Minister Graham Steele, a new gaming strategy is being developed that would include online gambling and that it was not necessary for all four provinces to agree on what products to endorse. Like PlayNow.com in British Columbia, Atlantic Lottery also has a site called PlaySphere.