The National Gambling Board is now concerned that interactive or online gaming has become the subject of debate in some circles. This is because there has been increased interest in playing online casino games among most South Africans, and most believe it is a legal activity. However, the National Gambling Board in South Africa has made things clear regarding safe online gambling. It has stated that online or interactive gambling in South Africa is illegal; hence South Africans have been advised to keep away from such activities except for sports betting.

Why Are Online Casinos Illegal in South Africa?

As per section 11 of the NGA (National Gambling Act), “Unauthorized Interactive Gaming Unlawful”, no one should engage in or make available an interactive game except as authorized per the Act or other national laws. This Act, which was passed by the National Assembly, and later on assented to by the presidency, has never entered into force. This is because it was never published in the Government Gazette. The new legislation can only become effective on the day of its publication in the gazette. Unfortunately, this is yet to happen for the amended gambling act, meaning that the National Gambling Amendment Act can’t be used as a reference for determining the issue of online gambling legality in South Africa.

What Is Interactive Gambling, and Why Is It Banned in South Africa?

Section 11 of the National Gambling Act in South Africa prohibits interactive gambling. Therefore, the South Africans need to understand what interactive gambling entails to ensure that they gamble responsibly and according to the law. Interactive gambling refers to any form of casino-style gaming that can be accessed via electronic devices and inside any physical establishment styled as an internet lounge. Interactive gambling has the potential to make a lot of people become problem gamblers. This is because most of these sites are unregulated, and they do not have any measures to ensure that they deal with problem gambling. Besides, most of them encourage people to continue gambling by offering VIP statuses to those people who gamble more than the rest.

What Are Some of the Authorized Gambling Establishments in South Africa?

The law only allows South Africans to enjoy their casino games at licensed land-based casinos. Therefore, the citizens are advised to avoid any establishments that cannot display valid gaming licenses issued by provisional licensing authorities. If you intend to offer such gambling services in the country, you should understand that this is equivalent to committing an offense. If detected, you will be subject to criminal investigations. Also, punters are warned to stay away from carrying out any activities that are considered illegal because such will also lead to criminal investigations and prosecution if found guilty. Convictions for committing any offenses in terms of the National Gambling Act will lead to ten years imprisonment and a fine of R10 Million. Any winnings that might have been derived from such activities will be confiscated and submitted to the state.

What Does This Mean to the Future of Gambling in South Africa?

The National Gambling Board has encouraged South Africans to be vigilant against any illegal gambling activities. The board has gone further to provide its contact details where the cases should be reported.

However, the South African government should also find ways of ensuring that its citizens do not have access to such sites. This is because there are currently a lot of offshore casinos, sportsbooks, and even poker sites that continue to serve in the country. Most of them continue enjoying business due to the inaction from the government. The government mainly focuses on ensuring that its citizens do not place bets, which is not enough to keep these activities at bay. There should also be tighter measures to help take down any unlawful casinos, bookmakers, and poker rooms.

Other Gambling Alternatives in South Africa

Just because ZAR online casinos have been made illegal in South Africa does not mean that South Africans cannot gamble. South African residents have the option of playing casino games at land-based establishments, or they can also take advantage of the local gambling portals. If you love playing online casino games, some reputable online casinos accept South African gamblers and other casino portals designed to serve South African gamblers specifically. Most of these portals have options for depositing and withdrawing funds in ZAR. During this lockdown period, it is also beneficial for South African casino lovers to opt for licensed online casinos. This will help reduce the impact of the COVID-19 virus and also avoid the spread of the disease. By licensing some of the online casinos, the government will also get an avenue of collecting revenue from these casinos.