The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in South Africa reportedly said on Saturday that approximately R1.25 million won by several gamblers participating in online gambling activities was confiscated.

Department of Trade spokesman Sidwell Medupe reportedly said that Minister Rob Davies had made it known that online gambling was illegal for citizens of South Africa and that should they participate, the proceeds of such activities would be forfeited to the state once an application makes its way through the High Court, according to local news agencies. Medupe also said that the confiscation of unlawful winnings is a collaborative process between banks and the National Gambling Board.

“Minister Davies has also expressed concern 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,” reports News24.

According to Medupe, individuals who are caught gambling online, or those who run illegal gambling establishments, including internet cafés, would face a fine not to exceed R10m, criminal charges, or both.

Last year on September 17, the DTI published the National Gambling Amendment Bill of 2016 and Rob Davies, the Minister of Trade and Industry, highlighted the need for vigorous public engagement on the issues raised in the Bill in order to minimize the social ills generally associated with gambling and to curb online gambling.

Only online sports betting, which constitutes bookmaking, is legal in South Africa, any other type of online casino gambling remains illegal.

Davies also said at the time that while the gambling industry contributes significantly to employment and the GDP in South Africa, the fact remains that it has a negative effect on gambling addiction. Davies noted that more than €1.1 billion in casino-related activities was lost by South Africans in 2014 and that on average about R3000 monthly is spent by gamblers in the country.