Bookmakers Bite Back

The Dispute Continues

Battle Lines

Battle Lines Are Drawn

On 9 September 2014, attorneys acting on behalf of the Gauteng, KZN and Western Cape Bookmakers’ Associations issued notices to the KZN, EC, Free State, Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West, Northern Cape, Western Cape and National Gambling Boards as well as the National Lotteries Board.

The notices contain the legal opinion of Advocates David Unterhalter SC and Max du Plessis, that the totalisator operators are unlawfully operating a sports pool betting operation in contravention of the Lotteries Act 57 of 1997 (“the Lotteries Act”).

In effect, the assertion is that the operating of sports pools such as those currently being offered by Phumelela, Kenilworth Racing and Gold Circle (ie betting on anything other than horse racing) is being done unlawfully and that any licences issued by the Gambling Boards to the sports pool operators falls to be withdrawn as per the Constitutional Court’s decision in MEC for Health, Eastern Cape and Another v Kirland Investments (Pty) Ltd [2014] ZACC 6.

The notices request the Gambling Boards to prohibit the perceived unlawful betting activities and to withdraw any gambling licences that they may have issued that purport to authorize such activities. The letters have asked for a response within 7 days of the notice.

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