Cape Town _ Online gamblers have had over R1m confiscated by the state after a court ordered several gamblers to forfeit their illegal winnings to the state.

image class="left" url="""The unlawful winnings to the amount of approximately R1 250 000 were derived from illegal gambling activities specifically online gambling," the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) said in a statement on Saturday.

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies had cautioned that online gambling is illegal and winnings are the proceeds of an illegal activity, _____________ which will be confiscated and forfeited to the state.

"The National Gambling Board is the national regulator in the gambling industry in South Africa and in terms of Section 16 of the National Gambling Act, 2004 is obliged to investigate the circumstances of illegal gambling activities including illegal online gambling," the dti said.

"Upon determination of such illegal gambling activity, it applies to the high court for an order declaring that the unlawful winnings be forfeited to the state."

Davies is concerned that online gambling could be utilised to launder money. "It is on this basis that the banks continue to collaborate with the National Gambling Board to confiscate the unlawful winnings," the dti said.

The National Gambling Board_s accounting authority Caroline Kongwa said punters who partake in illegal gambling activities are liable for criminal prosecution.

"The public is hereby cautioned to be weary of online gambling offerings, as online gambling is illegal in South Africa, and thus anyone participating in any illegal online gambling activity would be unable to receive any winnings and would expose themselves to criminal prosecution," the dti said.

"Citizens caught gambling illegally or running an illegal gambling establishment such as internet cafes that provide illegal online gambling will be targeted and they will face criminal charges or a hefty fine to the maximum of R10m or both."

Kongwa said the National Gambling Board_s role and mandate is to protect the public. She advised citizens to be vigilant to distinguish between licensed and unlicensed gambling operators and be aware of what constitutes an unlawful gambling activity.

The NGB can be contacted on 0100033475 and for any further information at Information relating to any suspected illegal gambling activity in South Africa can be provided to the NGB at
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