Online Gambling In South Africa

Published: August 19, 2019
Author: Joe Kizlauskas
Last Updated: August 19, 2019
south african flag

Gambling in South Africa has always been a contentious topic, with reformers wishing to open up the market to produce more income, and traditionalists eager to keep the current heavy constraints. As a consequence, South Africa is one of several nations that has banned most forms of online gambling, leaving indigenous players to find more creative methods to access the wealth of online casinos that still enable them to register.

Is It Legal To Gamble Online In South Africa?

Despite a traditionally adverse approach towards gambling, in 1994, the government took the courageous move of abolishing a blanket ban on all gambling operations and launched an extensive licensing scheme in the National Gambling Act of 1996. The Act permitted the National Gambling Board (NGB) to begin regulating the sector and also gave authority to begin licensing both physical casinos and online sportsbooks to the nine local provinces of South Africa.

With the 2004 National Gambling Act, further liberalization took place, although internet casinos remained illegal.

While the new laws opened up a range of sports betting and other physical casino opportunities, the same can not be said for online providers. Sports betting is the only legal form of online gambling activity in South Africa, and any online sportsbooks must be licensed by one of the provinces. An amendment to fully legalise online gambling announced in 2008 was passed but never implemented, leaving casino enthusiasts in a difficult situation.

The scenario became even less apparent in 2010 after the judiciary ruled that offering services to the people of the country were illegal for online casinos based outside the boundaries of South Africa. As it stands, gambling online is presently illegal for anyone with an IP address in South Africa, except for licensed operators who are regulated, controlled and taxed by the NGB and local provinces.

Any casino, person or bank that promotes online gambling faces a heavy penalty of up to 10 million Rand, 10 years in prison or both, but these penalties are highly uncommon with the vast majority of suppliers sitting outside the boundaries of the nation. Anyone caught making a profit is compelled to transfer the money to a trust account of the treasury that presently holds more than 3.5 million Rand.

Online Gambling Companies In South Africa

While online gambling is definitely illegal, a number of online casinos have not stopped opening their virtual doors to South African clients, with 888 and Mr Green all welcoming with open arms players from South Africa. The amount of gamblers in the nation is also increasing, and there are dozens of popular markets available to punters.

The domestic lottery is by far the most common game with residents of South Africa in terms of legal gambling. A recent study available showed that over 80% of the population buys a ticket every week.

Sports betting is also extremely common, with horse racing, rugby and soccer all attracting hundreds of thousands of gamblers every year. Golf is also building up a significant follow-up across the nation, with Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Ernie Els all flying the South African flag and increasing the number of supporters.

Other famous local betting markets include Jukskei’s, although it’s not that common amongst the larger sites.

As the countries of the world are looking for more ways to create cash, the powerful anti-online gambling laws of South Africa are likely to alter.

Recently, the government raised taxes on land-based casinos, and ministers are beginning to consider the potential for extra income when online gambling has been legalised and regulated in the same manner.

The 2008 amendment is still very much alive, and while attracting unanimous approval will be hard, some are hoping to revive attempts to see it implemented over the next few years.

Until then, 888 and MrGreen are still welcoming South Africans seeking to participate in gambling activity other than sports betting, meaning that there are still plenty of possibilities to experience the finest online casinos.

About Joe Kizlauskas

Joe is a seasoned iGaming copywriter and speaker who has been in the business since 2015. He's written more words on all elements of Casinos, Slots, Bingo & Sports Betting than he likes to remember, and he's contributed material to a number of well-known brands. Joe may be seen playing 5 a side, at the gym or playing games on his Playstation when he is not writing.