MAURITIUS ONLINE Illegal games via TikTok: light on a growing phenomenon 2 months ago Szarlot Post Views: 118 These days, everything is good to make a little money, even if it means circumventing the law of the land. Recently, a phenomenon is gaining momentum in Mauritius. These are basic games of chance on TikTok. Mauritian Tiktokeurs have created channels allowing subscribers to make simple bets in the hope of winning money. As these games usually do not have a large number of participants, however, the winnings are only a few tens or even hundreds of rupees, although some offer games that pay more. Either way, the activity is strictly illegal and in complete violation of the Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA). “To organize any game of chance, the organizer must have a license from the Gambling Regulatory Authority. If not, it is illegal. The organizer, just like the participant or participants, risks a fine and even a prison sentence” – explains a lawyer who has worked for the GRA in the past. Faced with a few clips on TikTok showing how these games take place, the lawyer argues that “without a doubt, it is illegal. For games based on sports results, a pool betting license is required. Darts games require a dart game license, while sweepstakes games require a ‘sweepstakes licence’. For other types of lottery-like games there is also a specific license under Section 90 of the GRA Act”. This section specifies that “no one shall organize a lottery unless he holds a lottery license falling under this law”. Additionally, “no lottery license will be issued unless the reasons for which the lottery has been held have been approved by the GRA Board of Directors”. Any organizer must also pay a tax to the Mauritius Revenue Authority (MRA). A gaming organizer who does not hold the necessary permits therefore also risks being accused of money laundering. “This kind of activity can also be called interactive gambling because it happens via a mobile application. But here again, you must have an ‘interactive gambling license’, indicates our lawyer.” The activity remains illegal even if the organizer is outside Mauritius. Section 91(6)(a) states that “it is an offense for any person operating interactive gambling outside Mauritius to allow a person physically present in Mauritius to have access to the games conducted by him”. The price of the licenses varies according to the activities. A “sweepstakes organizer” will have to pay Rs 37,500 per year, but also donate part of his winnings as is the case for all other games of chance. A “dart game” operator must pay an annual license of Rs 15,000 per “dart board”. A lottery organizer must for its part pay a license but also donate Rs 5,000 or 35% of the total value of the prizes depending on which is the highest. The penalties are multiple and depend on the type of offense committed. They can range from Rs 50,000 to more than one million rupees with a prison term of up to 10 years. No case reported to the police yet So far, there have been no cases of gambling through TikTok reported to the police yet. This is confirmed by Inspector Shiva Coothen, head of the police press office. “At the moment, we have not yet received a complaint. We had a case in the past. This kind of activity is definitely an illegal act. If we receive a complaint, we will act,” – he says. Gambling organizer: this tiktoker earns Rs 2,000 in four hours Vanessa (first name changed) can earn up to Rs 2,000 in a few hours of live on TikTok. The young woman organizes lottery games. Up to 12 players can participate at the same time. For this, they must send him Rs 100 via a mobile payment application. She then assigns a lotto card to each player. Vanessa randomly draws the numbers and marks them on the cards. The first player to complete his card wins Rs 800. Depending on the number of participants, the tiktoker generally pockets Rs 200 per game. Its ‘live’ can last between three and four hours. “I have a community of around 3,000 followers. I had the idea of organizing lotto games on TikTok by seeing other tiktokers doing it. I’ve been playing this game for a month. I have another job and this allows me to make ends meet. I did not find out about the legality and the risks involved, ” – Vanessa will tell Challenge Plus. Quite the opposite of Aline (first name changed) who took fright after trying the experiment. This TikTok user played a lot of this kind of online games until she finally decided to organize some too. She chose a draw game. She draws six boxes on a paper and writes six numbers. Six players, who each paid Rs 100 via a mobile application, choose their number. The young woman draws lots and the winner wins Rs 500. The remaining money (Rs 100) goes to Aline. “It’s difficult because you have to animate the live and I had negative comments especially on the illegality of online gambling. Earning Rs 100 is not worth it when risking big legally. It’s easy money for those who have the time. I have a colleague who is having problems because of this, it was the bank who reported her activities to the Gambling Police. His case will soon go to court,” – says Aline. She claims that she sees a lot of gambling on TikTok organized by Mauritians and this for about a year. However, she points out that she never had to deal with scammers when she was playing. Sarah (name changed): “It’s for fun” “I am a big fan of tik tok. I spend most of my free time on this application which allows me to discover a lot of things. I am a housewife and when I finish my chores I have nothing to do. I have no children. I go on tik tok looking for beauty tips, cleaning tips and to find easy recipes. That’s how one day I came across online betting. I would not say that I am a ‘zougadère’. Before I have already bet for horse racing. I saw that there were quite a few people playing. There was the organizer’s number. I contacted her and she explained to me how to proceed to play. I don’t bet a lot. It’s just for fun.” Jack (name changed): “It’s like playing cards with loved ones” “A friend told me about these online games. He explained to me that you could bet money. It’s a bit like the lottery. I liked the idea. I play from time to time. I know it’s illegal. Still, it’s like playing cards with relatives by betting money. It is also illegal. But we do it”. Source: mauritiushindinews.com About Post Author Szarlot I am a fan of casino games especially roulette and blackjack. After that I analyze current events in the gambling industry. See author's posts SzarlotI am a fan of casino games especially roulette and blackjack. After that I analyze current events in the gambling industry. 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