Johannesburg - Consumers who buy European lottery tickets with their credit cards are in contravention of foreign exchange regulations, and have to be reported to the SA Reserve Bank (Sarb) by card issuers.
This is according to Sarb's deputy general manager of financial surveillance Charles Nevhutanda, who was responding to commonplace online advertisements placed on behalf of foreign lottery operators.
"South African residents may not participate in lotteries organised abroad, as such participation contravenes the Lotteries Act," said Nevhutanda.
"In terms of the National Gambling Act, residents may not participate in any gambling activities not authorised in terms of the aforementioned act.
"It follows that residents may not use their credit or debit cards to facilitate payments for foreign lottery tickets or gambling activities."
A number of South African publishers (including business news sites) and blog operators derive commission revenue from selling foreign lottery tickets to South Africans.
One such operator is leading South African blogger Seth Rotherham, who has put together the 2Oceansvibe Lottos website which sells tickets to South Africans for draws in Europe, the US and Australia. He argues that local partners have been able to "pay out each and every local winner, legally, via the SA Reserve bank".
Feedback from those who have run foul of Sarb indicates that the central bank does not tolerate chancers.
A Fin24.com reader who got burnt indicated that his bank had reported his transactions to the Reserve Bank after he had spent nearly R50 000 buying tickets.
The Sarb levied an amount of 40% on the tickets purchased, and he had also had to pay for the services of legal representation to argue his case.