Since before South Africa became a republic, gambling in most forms was banned. While the laws have changed significantly, it is certainly not a free for all, however, gambling in and of itself is no longer illegal. Gambling in land-based establishments in South Africa is legal and regulated. For many years, South Africans traveled outside of the legal borders of South African in order to go to a casino. With the changes in the gambling law, this is no longer necessary. Online gambling in South Africa is still illegal at this time.
- Casinos In South Africa
- Online Casino South Africa
SA'S GAMBLING ACT OF 1965
The South African Gambling Act of 1965 ruled gambling as illegal. Gambling, such as horseracing, was legal. The reason for this is because horseracing is considered a sport. In the 1970s, there were a number of illegal casinos created, with the number rising until there were about 2,000 illegal casinos in the mid 90s. Along with the change from a conservative government to a democratic one, the gambling laws were updated in 1994. At that time, gambling was legalised. In 1996, South Africa introduced a national lottery and regulated and licensed casinos.
- Legal Online Casinos in South Africa The National Gaming Board of South Africa has the responsibility of regulating all gambling activity in the region. South Africa’s Gambling Act was written into law in 1965 and effectively banned land based casinos from operating in the country.
- The History of Gambling Law in South Africa Gambling has had a long history of restrictions in South Africa. The 1965 Gambling Act, officially made all forms of betting illegal, except for horse racing which was considered a sports activity.
- According to the new law, the issuing of online gambling licences is not to be done by provincial governments like all other forms of gambling. In South Africa, the issuing of online gambling licences is to be done by the National Gambling Board. All taxes and levies that are related to the activity will be remitted to the National Gambling Board.
CHANGES TO THE GAMBLING ACT IN 2004
The NGB’s strategic intent is to sustain and grow its regulatory capability to position South Africa as the pre-eminent jurisdiction with an exemplary and effectively regulated gambling industry. Read more: News HOW THE GAMBLING INDUSTRY CAN ASSIST IN THE FIGHT AGAINST MONEY LAUNDERING AND TERRORIST FINANCING.
In 2004, the 1996 Act was repealed, and the National Gambling Act of 2004 came into effect. While land-based gambling was still allowed, online gambling was no longer considered legal. Again, sportsbetting, even if it was done online, was still considered legal. While online gambling is illegal, the emphasis and main responsibility seems to lie with the gambling operators and the financial institutions. To date, no individuals have been prosecuted for playing at online casinos.
GAMBLING LAW TODAY
In 2008, there was an attempt to legalise and regulate the online gambling market in South Africa, however, since there was strong opposition, the Act has not yet been accepted as law. In 2010, the North Gauteng High Court issued a ruling that gambling transactions though both local and offshore operators is illegal. While both players and operators are fully aware of this law, there are still many casino choices open to South African players.
Those who choose to play at online casinos should make sure that the casinos are safe and secure, and have a good reputation. Although the online casinos will not be licensed in South Africa, it is important to choose a casino that is fully licensed in a recognised gaming jurisdiction.
Many of the online casinos that still offer their sites to South African players will offer players the chance of playing in South African Rands (ZAR), and thereby avoiding exchange rate fees. Many casinos also offer a special Welcome Bonus or free money offer to those who are located in South Africa. In addition to this, players should keep an eye open for an online casino with top notch Customer Support team. Customer Support is available 24 hours a day, with many support teams offering a South African toll free telephone number.
Despite the landmark South African supreme court ruling against Piggs Peak Casino in 2012, a number of international casino operators still persist in marketing their services to players wanting to gamble in South African rands. Whilst there is likely argument – a legally unsound one in fact, that these online casinos aim to cater for non-South African residents who fall under an alternative jurisdiction, the fact that the transactions are taking place using South African currency (and most probably through the South African financial system) make them suspect.
One of the biggest challenges in monitoring and controlling illicit online casino activity – both in South Africa and abroad, is law enforcement and national priority. Developing countries usually face a barrage of social issues including violent crime, rape and entrenched corruption and South Africa is no exception to this. In fact, with the recent bombardment of news about crime in South Africa, it is easy to infer why prosecution in the online gambling space has not been actively pursued, bar the Piggs Peak case. While the legal threat clearly exists, there is yet to be an established case against South African gamblers themselves.
The irony of the situation is that many South Africans find themselves attracted to land-based casinos in the country, largely because of the perceived safety and alternative entertainment opportunities they can find in a relatively secure location. Since these casinos are properly regulated and licensed by the state, players are free from risk of litigation and their winnings may be appropriated to their local bank accounts without any issue. Still, the convenience of gambling online for real money proves very enticing for many South African players, despite the risks which are often perceived not to have any credibility.
Unlike markets likes India, which face similar legislative challenges, the South African online casino market is actually a very lucrative one for the online gaming operators themselves. Along with Australians, South Africans represent some of the highest value online gambling players in the world. Even though funding online casino accounts can sometimes be challenging using South African credit cards or bank accounts, there is no shortage of e-wallet type options like MoneyBookers and NETeller that are easily accessible for local players.
So with few entry barriers, high value customers and a comparatively low risk of prosecution, international online gaming operators are unlikely to stop targeting the online casino South Africa market. If the South African government were wise, they would be best off implementing and enforcing online gambling regulation as soon as possible. Not only will it serve to control the online gambling and sports betting space, it is sure to generate significant tax revenue from licensing fees, online casino and personal player taxation on winnings. Until then, South African players will likely continue to flout the gambling law on the host of choices they have available to them.
Casinos In South Africa
With the shutting down of Piggs Peak to South African players, below is a sample of the more well-established international casinos that cater for online gambling in Rands that have happily taken on the local market demand:
Online Casino South Africa
If you have any doubt that this is just a small sample, you check out a more comprehensive directory of South African online casinos to see the full extent of what is available. Clearly the demand is there and is being amply met – the South African government had better get a move on with formal regulation with respect to making online casinos in South Africa legal and taxable… there is tons of money on the table for them.