Internet Gambling International Update: Costa Rica, South Africa, Denmark

August 25, 2010 (CAP News Wire) – In the Netherlands, a government commission is endorsing the full legalization of Internet poker, reports

“The government should give up its barely-enforced monopoly and licence a small number of online poker companies, a justice ministry commission says,” according to the article.

The Dutch state currently runs a limited, state-monopolized online gambling system, but, according to the article, like many other countries, offshore online gambling companies are readily available to Dutch citizens.

The commission’s suggestion is to let the government capitalize on Internet poker instead of lowing the revenue to foreign companies — an incentive that’s proving to be more popular in countries such as the U.S., as well.

The news isn’t so good out of South Africa, where a recent court decision has effectively banned online gambling, and in a pretty harsh way. “This means that online gambling operators in South Africa and players will be in contravention of the law,” writes Karabo Keepile at the Mail & Guardian, “and … could face a fine of R10-million or 10 years in jail, or both.

“According to the Gauteng Gambling Board’s head of legal services, Lucky Lukhwareni, online casinos are now liable for prosecution,” Keepile adds.

And in Costa Rica, gambling companies that once enjoyed a tax-free haven will soon be undergoing a pretty big change in their business plans.

Although new Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla is pro-gambling, she’s also taking an active step to regulate the industry. “She is proposing a tax on all forms of gambling which includes online gambling,” according to

“Surprisingly, many of the online gambling operators support a gambling tax because it would give some legitimacy to their operations, and officially give online gambling operators a legal status within the country,” the article continues — although it doesn’t cite any sources for this claim. And, contrastingly, claims that the country revised its gambling tax plans “after casinos threatened to quit the country when consulted on the original tax proposals.”

The new tax could come as early as mid-September.