GAMBLING / OFFICE POOLS

Is it lawful for employees to conduct office pools at work where money is contributed for the chance to win the entire pot? If office pools or gambling are prohibited, what steps should an employer take to prevent office pools from being conducted?

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SOUTH AFRICA – THE HOST COUNTRY
ALGERIA
EGYPT
HONG KONG
INDIA
INDONESIA
ISRAEL
JAPAN
KENYA
KOREA
LIBYA
MAURITANIA
MAURITIUS
MOROCCO
NEW ZEALAND
NIGERIA
OMAN
SAUDI ARABIA
THAILAND
TUNISIA
UGANDA

SOUTH AFRICA – THE HOST COUNTRY

An office pool is lawful if it falls within the ambit of a “private lottery,” as defined in the Lotteries Act, 1997. The office pool must be: (i) based on chance, and (ii) conducted, without remuneration, for and by employees who work on the same premises in South Africa. An employer is required to ensure, amongst other things, that: tickets are advertised only in the office and sold only to employees, the ticket price does not exceed R10, and all proceeds are devoted to the provision of prizes (with proceeds and prizes not exceeding a total value of R10 000). An employer must take all necessary steps to ensure that an office pool is conducted in accordance with the Act (i.e., by publishing the statutory requirements for a private lottery in the office or by requesting that the employees obtain the employer’s consent before conducting an office pool). If an unlawful office pool is conducted by a company’s employees, the employer must halt the sale of tickets in the office pool immediately (or be liable for a statutory penalty in terms of the Act). An employer can enforce the prohibition of unlawful office pools by implementing disciplinary action against employees for non-compliance.

ALGERIA

Gambling in Algeria is prohibited. Employers should ensure that supervisors prevent the set up of any office pools.

EGYPT

Gambling in Egypt is unlawful. Employers must communicate to employees that such behaviour is prohibited in the workplace. Thus, employers should make it clear to employees that office pools are prohibited and they should have supervisors in place to ensure that none are created.

HONG KONG

According to the Gambling Ordinance, gambling (which includes office pools) on social occasions, not promoted by way of trade or business, is not unlawful. There is no statutory definition of 'social occasion'. However, in determining whether gambling has occurred on a social occasion, the court will look at the balance of the dual aims of the gambling, i.e. the hope of winning money and recreation.

INDIA

Conducting office pools amounts to gambling and is therefore illegal in India. Further, a company may be held accountable for encouraging and abetting gambling if the pools are held on office premises. Moreover, certain state legislation sets out that gambling on office premises amounts to misconduct and is a valid ground for termination of employment. The company may, by building into its employment policy and by other means, educate employees about the consequences of organising and participating in such pools.

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INDONESIA

Gambling is strictly prohibited under Indonesian Law. The act of contributing money to a pot constitutes gambling and as such is a criminal offence. Company regulations and CLAs typically characterize the act as a violation that is subject to various sanctions and ultimately termination. An employer may remind all employees by written announcement that any act of gambling (relating to the World Cup or otherwise) is strictly prohibited and is subject to the provisions of the company regulation or CLA and the applicable laws and regulations.

ISRAEL

Gambling is illegal irrespective of whether it is in the workplace or elsewhere. By way of a reminder, the employer may want to periodically send a notice to the employees notifying them that gambling is illegal and that they should not engage in it.

JAPAN

Office pools constitute "gambling" and gambling is prohibited by the Criminal Code. The rules of employment should include a provision to the effect that an employee who conducts gambling in the workplace and/or commits a crime can be subject to disciplinary action. If such a provision is not yet included, an employer should change its rules of employment.

KENYA

Office pools are not prohibited by law unless the employee’s employment contract or company policy provides otherwise. If the company prohibits office pools, it should be clearly stated in the company’s staff policies or contracts that engaging in such activity may lead to disciplinary action.

KOREA

A company usually has Rules of Employment that provide information on working hours, holidays, wages, absences, leave, wages, code of conduct, as well as disciplinary action. Generally, a company’s code of conduct regulates employees’ behaviours such as gambling at the workplace and misconduct during employees’ off-duty time. Therefore, based on the Rules of Employment, the company can take disciplinary action against employees who violate provisions regarding codes of conduct.

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LIBYA

Gambling is unlawful in Libya. Employers must communicate to employees that such behaviour is prohibited in the workplace. Employers should make it clear, for example, in their Internal Regulations, that office pools are prohibited. Employers should have supervisors in place to ensure that none are created.

MAURITANIA

Gambling is unlawful in Mauritania. An employer must communicate to its employees that such behaviour is prohibited in the workplace. Employers should make it clear that office pools are also prohibited and they should have supervisors in place to ensure that none are created.

MAURITIUS

It is unlawful in Mauritius for employees to conduct office pools at the workplace. Employers should include such prohibitions in its office manuals and clearly define the sanctions that will follow should an employee fail to abide by office regulations.

MOROCCO

It is not authorized for a company in Morocco to conduct office pools. However employers should make it clear, with an internal notice for example, that office pools are prohibited and the company should have supervisors in place to ensure that none are created.

NEW ZEALAND

Yes. It is lawful in New Zealand to conduct office pools at work without a license, provided the person running the pool does not deduct any remuneration or commission, the entire pot is given to the winner, and the gambling is primarily a social event. The prize money must also be less than NZ$500, or NZ$25,000 if conducted by an incorporated society.

NIGERIA

Nigerian law prohibits the operation of or participation in any pool betting or undertaking and prescribes a punishment of imprisonment (6 months), a fine (200 Naira or 1.34 USD), or both for the violation of the law. An employer could take any appropriate precautionary steps, such as express prohibition in the contract of employment, supervision and such other precautionary measures as may be necessary to prevent office pools from being carried out at the workplace. Under the Pools Betting & Casino Gaming (Prohibition) Act, where any pool betting activity is carried out in the workplace whether through the neglect, connivance, or consent of any agent, director, manager, secretary, or other employee of anybody corporate, such individuals would be subject to punishment as stated above. In addition, the body corporate would also be liable to a prescribed fine (5000 Naira or 34.00 USD).

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OMAN

Article 232 of the Omani Penal Code defines gambling as games that depend on chance rather than skill or intelligence. Running an office pool would be classified as a form of gambling. Article 233 of the Omani Penal Code states that anyone practising gambling will be sent to prison for a term of not fewer than 6 months and not exceeding 3 years and a fine not exceeding 500 Omani Rials. In practice, however, it is advisable prior to the 2010 Fifa World Cup to inform employees that office pools are prohibited in the workplace.

SAUDI ARABIA

It is unlawful for a company's employees to conduct office pools at the workplace in which money is contributed because this is considered a form of gambling – and gambling in Saudi Arabia is prohibited by Shari’ah law (i.e. Islamic Law). Consequently, Article 4 of the Saudi Labour Law stipulates: "When implementing the provisions of this Law, the employer and the worker shall adhere to the provisions of Shari'ah Law.” The employer can take steps when faced with an employee gambling or engaging in office pools, such as an initial written warning. Thereafter, the employer may terminate the employment of any employee who engages in gambling or office pools on the basis that such behaviour results in misconduct and is contrary to Shari’ah Law. Furthermore, gambling or holding office pools may result in other acts of misconduct i.e. disagreements and disputes in the work force over the outcome, which in turn may provide the basis and impetus for prohibiting such activity, even where money is not involved.

THAILAND

Gambling (including office pools) is illegal in Thailand, whether in or outside the workplace. It is good employer practice for the employer to explicitly state in the work rules or in any other announcement or instruction that gambling in the workplace is expressly prohibited. This way, any violation would constitute a ground for termination of employment without notice or compensation, provided that a written warning had been given and the offence was repeated within 12 months.

TUNISIA

Gambling is unlawful in Tunisia thus, a company cannot conduct office pools at work. The employer should have supervisors in place to ensure that no gambling takes place and that no office pools are created.

UGANDA

It is lawful for employees to conduct office pools at the workplace unless the company’s policies prohibit this type of activity. Employers that prohibit gambling and office pools should make this clear to their employees and have supervisors in place to ensure that none are created.

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