In a landmark decision, South Africa's Constitutional Court ruled that increased levies imposed on casino companies Sun International and Peermont by the North West provincial government were unlawful.
The court found that the North West Economic Development MEC had no legal right to tax the gambling industry, a jurisdiction belonging to the national government. The fees, intended for revenue generation rather than regulation, led to the North West Gambling Act being declared unconstitutional.
Justice Tati Makgoka, with the concurrence of other judges, upheld the High Court of Mahikeng's previous ruling on the North West Gambling Act’s constitutional invalidity. This ruling, effective from January 23, 2020, invalidated sections that allowed the North West Province MEC to impose gambling levies.
Sun International and Peermont were awarded compensation for the difference in levies paid from January 23, 2020, until the judgment date, compared to what they would have owed without the amended regulation.
The North West provincial government is now required to reimburse the casinos for the levies collected since 2022, along with interest. Additionally, the MECs and the provincial government must cover the legal costs of Sun International, Peermont Global, and the Casino Association of South Africa, who challenged the levies’ legality.
The Mahikeng High Court had previously ruled the authorising sections of the North West Gambling Act as unlawful and unconstitutional, leading to this decision.