Ithuba Holdings hails court victory over Lottostar
Johannesburg – Ithuba Holdings has said the court victory earlier this week sends a strong signal to gaming companies that have been profiting by illegally feeding off the National Lottery.
“In a landmark judgment for the gaming sector, Ithuba, as the authorised National Lottery Operator, has won its longstanding case against bookmaker Lottostar. Ithuba and the National Lotteries Commission in 2016, brought an application for a declaratory order and interdict against Lottostar. The judgment declares that the bookmaker’s practice of taking bets on the outcome of any lottery (including the South African National Lottery) is illegal,” Ithuba said in a statement.
Ithuba CEO Charmaine Mabuza, said, “We welcome the judgement which reaffirms that only Ithuba as the National Lottery operator can lawfully offer bets on the lottery. Ithuba has always been driven by the desire to offer maximum contributions towards the betterment of South Africans. Ithuba has touched many lives through its high-impact programmes and contributed over R1.8 billion to various socioeconomic initiatives and good causes through lottery ticket sales.”
“When gaming companies illegally encroach on this terrain, they are in effect siphoning off funds that contribute positively to the betterment of the South African economy. The judgment, delivered by the Mpumalanga High Court of Appeal, sets a precedent for Ithuba to challenge any bookmaker deriving free financial benefits through unlawfully accepting bets on the outcome of the National Lottery, and to any responsible Provincial Gambling Board to put an end to this unlawful practice,” Ithuba further stated.
“Lottostar along with Betting World (which was granted leave to intervene as the third respondent) were taking bets on the outcome of the South African National Lottery and some foreign lottery draws. Both companies relied on their bookmaker licences, issued by the Mpumalanga Gaming Board. However, the Provincial Gambling Act does not empower provincial gaming boards to authorise bookmakers to accept bets on the outcome of the National Lottery draws.”
The High Court interdicted Lottostar from offering bets on the outcome of any lottery and directed Lottostar, the Mpumalanga Gaming Board and Betting World to pay all Ithuba’s legal costs.
The judgment declared the exclusive right of Ithuba to operate the National Lottery to be statutorily protected.
This makes it illegal for any bookmaker to offer bets on the National Lottery.
Lottostar has said that it would be appealing the decision made by the High Court of Mpumalanga.
The company has since given its lawyers instructions to commence with an appeal on its behalf.
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