Is Gambling Legal in South Africa

South Coast Herald
Is Gambling Legal in South Africa
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There are many reasons to visit South Africa. The country boasts modern cities, scenic attractions, amazing wildlife parks, delicious foods, and world-famous bungee jumping sites. For this reason, you might want to add the country to your must-visit African destinations.

Unfortunately, the country’s gambling market is not developed as most gamers would expect. South Africa also has strict gaming policies. So it comes as no surprise local authorities strictly regulate the country’s gambling sector.

Despite restrictions, gambling is popular in South Africa as indicated by a recent survey, which claims over 80% of the country’s population spend money on National Lottery tickets every week. Lotteries aside, gamers in SA also enjoy sports betting and casino offerings.

Read on as we explore the legality of gambling in South Africa.

The Legality of Gambling in South Africa- What is and what Isn’t…

Gambling for real money prizes is one of the most controversial issues in South Africa. Individuals who support gambling claim it creates thousands of jobs in South Africa. These gaming supporters also claim that gambling also helps the government earn tax revenue. On the other hand, some people are against gambling in South Africa. These individuals believe gambling “takes advantage” of low-income earners, resulting in further deterioration of their quality of life. 

Despite many attempts to revamp the country’s gambling scene, gamers in South Africa can only access bingo, sports betting, and lotteries–other betting offers being illegal. You can indulge in these games on online gaming platforms or from over 2000 brick-and-mortar gaming establishments in the country.  It’s worth noting the strict regulation of the country’s betting scene is resulting in the rise of offshore gaming on sites that accept South African Players and the South African Rand.

Remember to play on safe and secure sites if you want to enjoy a tale-worthy gaming experience in South Africa. These platforms have legit and verifiable licenses.

Exploring the Evolution of Gambling Laws in South Africa Over Time

Gaming enthusiasts in South Africa can play a variety of real money games. But this was not always the case. All forms of gambling were made illegal by the 1965 Gambling Act. However, the 1965 Act didn’t prohibit wagering on horse racing.

Many local gaming enthusiasts in South Africa were willing to gamble despite gambling being illegal. Consequently, numerous brick-and-mortar casinos opened their doors to customers in areas like Transkei, Ciskei, Bophuthatswana, and Venda. You can indulge in real money games in these establishments. However, remember that these gaming venues are illegal.

South Africa’s gambling scene was transformed by the democratically elected government, which ascended to power in 1994. The newly elected government invested its efforts into streamlining South Africa’s gambling scene using the procedures designated by the 1996 National Gambling Act. 

You will be pleased to learn that South Africa’s 1996 National Gambling Act made various forms of gambling legal. The Act outlined the necessary steps brick and mortar establishments need to follow when applying for their licenses. 

The Act also facilitated the creation of South Africa’s National Lottery and legal casinos while also granting 40 licenses to gambling operators in the country. As a result, the National Gambling Board controls all gaming activity in South Africa.  

Getting Started With Online Gambling in South Africa

South Africa has one of the most developed brick and mortar casino gaming scenes in Africa. The country’s online gaming scene is at its development stages, and has a lot of potential, especially since online gaming is becoming popular with local gamers.

Rob Davies–The Trade and Finance Minister–is one of the individuals who believe in the potential of South Africa’s online gambling scene. Davies claims that South Africa’s gambling market can be more competitive like other overseas or regional gaming markets if the right regulatory framework is in place. Besides Rob Davies, a 2011 Gambling Commission Review also revealed that more regulations were needed to make South Africa’s online gaming scene attractive to local and foreign players. 

As earlier mentioned, South Africa’s strict gambling policies and regulations are driving most gamers to offshore gaming platforms. Note that the National Gambling Board’s website states that offshore gambling (playing real money games on betting operators with servers outside South Africa) is illegal. 

Besides the National Gambling Board, you will come across a gambling and racing board in each of South Africa’s 9 provinces. Gaming operators require licenses from these gambling regulatory and oversight bodies to operate in the country’s provinces. With a total of 32 licensed online bookmakers, the Western Cape Gambling Board is the most prominent issuer of online casino licenses. 

Gamers in South Africa have access to legit gaming platforms with excellent sports betting and horse racing offers. All legit gaming platforms in the country operate with licenses from the country’s National Gaming Board or the Gambling and Racing Board. So, be on the lookout for licences from these gaming oversight bodies before registering on a platform to play real money games.

All forms of Interactive Gambling are illegal as per the National Gambling Act. Here, the term Interactive Gambling refers to indulging in casino offerings like Bingo, Poker, Baccarat, Blackjack, etcetera. Likewise, the 2004 National Gambling Act states that internet-based gambling is illegal if a resident of South Africa is accessing internet-based gaming operators that aren’t licensed in the country. 

Gambling on the Go in South Africa

Imagine winning the National Lottery while enjoying an intimate moment with South Africa’s wildlife or nature reserves. Of course, yes. Claiming generous cash prizes while gambling on the go is fun. So feel free to spice up your outdoor activities with entertaining and action-packed casino or sportsbook offerings. Who knows? You might just walk away with life changing prizes while enjoying some of the best attractions South Africa has to offer. 

Gone are the days when gaming enthusiasts had to access online gambling offers via bulky desktops and laptop computers. Advancements in technology have made mobile devices affordable, powerful, and portable. Consequently, you can enjoy an immersive gaming experience from your iOS or Android-running device.

Gaming operators that allow gamers to enjoy an on the go gambling experience use optimized web and mobile apps to deliver immersive, fluid, and entertaining gameplay.  So, you don’t have to worry about experiencing gameplay lags when playing your favorite offers via smartwatches, smartphones, tablets, and iPads. The features on the mobile platforms are identical to the features on desktop sites. Therefore, you can sign up, claim offers, enjoy live gaming, and transfer funds when enjoying mobile gaming in South Africa’s igaming sites. 

Safety and Security in South Africa’s Gambling Establishments

You can enjoy real money games in South Africa on legit platforms that are also safe and secure. In addition to operating with verifiable licences, secure gaming platforms in the country also use (RNG) random number generator technology to ensure game outcomes are fair and consistent.

Safe and secure sites in South Africa’s online gaming scene also use the latest encryption technology to prevent hackers and unauthorized third parties from accessing sensitive player information like; real-world addresses, government names, contact details, banking information, and more.

Important Years in South Africa’s Gambling Timeline

Explore the table below to track the changes in South Africa’s gambling scene.

Is Gambling in South Africa Worth It?

The short answer is yes. South Africa has one of the strictest and most controlled gambling scenes in the world. Retail gambling operators in the country can provide their services without a lot of hassles. However, the same can’t be said about iGaming operators since online gambling is illegal in the country. What’s more, South Africa has gambling policies and regulations that restrict online gaming. 

The country’s gambling scene is growing each year. More South Africans are also realizing that gaming is a fun pastime activity. Consequently, the government might soften its gaming policies as this will make the country’s gambling scene more competitive. When this happens, the government can expect to earn more tax revenue as a result of an increase in gambling activity in the country . Likewise, gamers like you will be treated to competitive betting offers, generous real money prizes and more personalized offers.