Somehow, there appears to be no specific reason for banning online gambling in South Africa. But according to the National Gambling Board, online or interactive gambling in South Africa is prohibited. However, the only exception is gambling at sports betting websites.
At some point, gambling at the land-based casinos was also banned. Since land-based casino gambling was legalized in 1994, the government and the private sector have invested a lot in the industry. Not to mention, the land-based casinos contribute up to 60.5 to the Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR).
Maybe the SA government doesn’t want any competition with the land-based casinos considering the revenue generated.
Despite the NGB’s position, there are several secure online gambling platforms in SA.
Regulating the Land-based Casinos
The government had officially legalized gambling at SA land-based casinos in 1996. Before then, horse betting was the only legalized form of gambling. Then in 1996, the National Gambling Act was passed into law, and it established the National Gambling Association, which is now known as the National Gambling Board (NGB). The National Gambling Act allowed each province to establish legislation on gambling within their locality.
Before 1996, some legal casinos were operating in SA. These casinos operated under the former independent homeland called the TBVC states. The TBVC states joined SA in 1994 as soon as apartheid was abolished. The South African government still allowed the casinos that operated under the former homelands to continue to run.
Based on the number of illegal gambling houses, the SA government later legalized land casinos because of the loss of revenue and taxes. Today, SA has one of the lucrative gambling industries in South Africa. Check out how many casinos are in South Africa to see the real comparison between the land-based and online casinos and make conclusions.
The Online Gambling Industry Regulations in SA
It’s just recently that the SA government realized the importance of online gambling. Although online betting at casinos remains illegal, SA players can play at online sports betting websites. Notably, the sports betting websites must obtain their licenses to operate like land-based casinos.
Although online gambling at casinos remains illegal, this has not stopped online casino operators from marketing their services in SA. Since the online casinos are located outside SA, they don’t need a license to operate.
It appears that the SA government tends to target the operators of online casinos more than the players. And there are so many legitimate online casinos that accept SA players. However, make the online casino website you choose is trusted. Although some international payment methods accept gamblers to make deposits and withdrawals in SA, Rand should not be taken to mean that online gambling is legal.
Reasons South African Players Prefer Online Gambling
No doubt, the number of SA gamblers betting on online gambling platforms has increased. However, SA players prefer online casinos because it’s convenient and stress-free.
Besides that, gambling at online casinos is ideal for punters whose locations are far from land-based casinos. Besides, not everyone wants a smoke-filled gambling house where people drink alcohol. Consequently, with online casinos, you can sit anywhere and place bets. Other reasons SA players prefer online casinos are:
- Privacy: Even if you win millions or a jackpot at an online casino, your identity would not be disclosed. Unlike the traditional casino venues, as soon as a player wins a jackpot, it’s most likely to be announced instantly.
- Security: Online casinos seem more secure and safe. You don’t have to leave your home late at night to visit the traditional gambling venues. Punters can simply connect to the internet and visit their favorite online casino website.
- Flexibility: Recently, most online casino websites have incorporated other forms of gambling into their operations. For instance, at some top online casino platforms, you can play sports bets too.
- Games: Traditional gambling doesn’t often offer as many games as online casinos. At the online casinos, you can find various slot machines, casino games, scratch cards, lotto, and even sports betting.
Will Online Casinos Become Legalized Soon?
With the impact of the COVID-19 on the land-based casino venues in SA, most players are hoping that the online casino industry will be legalized. Also, since the government has legalized online sports betting, online casinos would likely be next.
The National Gambling Amendment Act of 2008 is believed to have lifted the ban on online casino operations. However, the legislation can only get the force of law when it has been published in the Government Gazette. Therefore, online gambling may be legalized in SA sooner than later.