Online Casino Gambling in South Africa
Although land-based casinos are legal in South Africa, the only form of online betting permitted in the rainbow nation is online sports betting. However, this has done little to dampen the enthusiasm of South African players as an increasing number of players from the country are welcomed into the virtual betting rooms of international gambling houses. There was a brief period in 2012 when the casino industry seemed to face trouble because of the Supreme Court’s ruling against Piggs Peak Casino, but that has done little to dampen the enthusiasm among South African players.
Land-based casinos lawful, but online casinos banned
Gambling has always been subjected to stringent bans since 1673 in South Africa while the nation’s Gambling Act of 1965 officially banned all forms of gambling except that on horse racing, which existed as sporting activity. However, after South Africa’s return to the democratic fold, all forms of gambling were made lawful and in 1996 when the National Gambling Act was instituted. A system of licensed casinos and a single national lottery came into existence and even horse racing was proclaimed as a gambling activity. However, this act prohibits interactive gambling services and playing interactive games online.
South Africa’s law identifies only casino, poker and bingo as interactive gambling while online sports betting, betting on horse races online and book making remain lawful activities provided that the person indulging in such business has a bookmaker’s license from the respective province or is using a licensed website.
In 2008, the National Amendment Act was passed to make online/interactive gambling lawful and to regulate this market but the act was actively opposed by vested interests groups (land-based casinos and anti-money laundering authorities), thus delaying its implementation.
Ban extended to even foreign servers
On August 20, 2010, online betting services offered through servers located outside the country were also banned. As a consequence, offering gambling services online and betting online are illegal in the country.
Provinces as regulators for bookmakers
Each of South Africa’s nine provinces has a gambling and racing board. To offer online betting services bookies must have a license from at least one of these nine boards. Currently, the Western Cape Gambling and Racing Board (WCGRB) is largest provider of online bookmaker licenses. For bets involving horse racing, 6 per cent of the winnings are subjected to VAT. Otherwise winnings are free from all other forms of taxation.
Language not a barrier for players
Online casinos in South Africa offer gameplay in English and Afrikaans. Although these casinos accept bets in both US dollars and South African rands, it is advisable to play in rands and avoid the consequences of currency conversion. In addition, playing in rands makes it less complex to figure out the worth of bonuses while winnings can easily be tracked
Some important online casinos in South Africa
- Springbok Casino is a RealTime Gaming (RTG) software casino launched recently that has become popular in South Africa. Since the casino is relatively new, it is pulling out all stops to attract new players with attractive promotional offers.
- Golden Palace Casino is one of the most well established online casinos that recently started accepting Rands for deposits and withdrawals. The casino is fully TST certified and runs off Playtech’s platform.
Sites for South African Players
These are some of the sites that are recommended to South African players who are interested in playing at online casinos.
South African Gambling - Modern website for South African players interested in playing at online casinos on mobile, tablet and desktop devices. Provides detailed reviews of reputable online casinos in which to play using Rand (ZAR) currency.
Responsible Gambling - Gambling help for South Africans is only one click or phone call away with the National Responsible Gambling Programme which you can find information by visiting their website.
Wikipedia SA Online Gambling Law - If you're interested in digging into the online gambling laws of South Africa this Wikipedia page is a good place to start.