Gambling in South Africa – 2019 Overview
And here we are in South Africa! In this short and friendly guide we will tell you all you need to know about online gambling in South Africa, the legal situation and the top games for SA fans. Whether you’re native or a foreigner, we have prepared a brief review on legal and illegal types of gambling and some essential tips for all platyers. Eager to find out whether you can gamble legally in South Africa? Stay with us to find out.
- We strive to follow the National Gambling Board’s laws and regulations and to provide information with the latest changes in the gambling law of South Africa to the audience.
- We monitor and share news, useful guides and other articles that are gambling-related to South African players
- We have extensive experience in creating free gambling guides and operator reviews, based on our professional criteria and research.
- Gauteng Gambling Board
Types of Gambling in South Africa
South Africa is a country in Africa where you could legally gamble. All types of gambling were banned for a long time and then accepted around 1994/96. Thanks to the National Gambling Act a lot of land-based casinos came back to life – currently there are a total of 59 legal gambling facilities, open to South African and foreign players. There are also horseracing tracks and sportsbetting parlors open and waiting for you. We must warn you, however, that online gambling might be banned again in the near future. We will keep you updated, meanwhile beaware and avoid getting involved in any gambling activities until the new legislations have been officially implemented.
Online Casino Gaming in South Africa
When it comes to South Africa’s online gambling, it’s a little bit difficult to say how things are looking. Online slots have always been popular in the country, but the legal situation is quite unfriendly. Of course, there are a lot of offshore online operators that are available for South African players, but most of them are restricted. That’s because interactive gambling was banned back in 2004, according to the National Gambling Act. In 2011, there was an update made in the gambling laws of South Africa, which says that online gambling is illegal within the borders of the country. Even though there are certain online casinos that accept native South African players, from a legal point of view, we would not recommend opening an account.
As there are not a lot of online gambling options, sports betting is a preferred interactive entertainment by South African players. Online betting is legal as long as the bookmaker is legit and has the necessary licenses. Keep in mind that the gambling legislation has an eye on you as well. If you try and venture into an illegal betting site, your funds will be taken, and you will be accused in criminal prosecution. So be careful! We will let you know if a door of opportunity for legal online sports betting opens in the near future.
South Africans are big fans of sports. Which is why they often participate not only in sports betting but also in Daily Fantasy Sports. It’s very convenient for those of you who want to play from the comfort of their home. Daily Fantasy Sports are not legal in the country; however, there are still ways and DFS sites you could visit to join in on the fun. Yet, to avoid possible legal complications, we advise you not to do so. Still, we will let you know if anything changes from a legal point of view.
For those of you who are poker enthusiasts, we’ll say a few words about poker in South Africa. Like Daily Fantasy sites, you must choose wisely your go-to poker site and look for the following – license, game selection, availability for South African players. Technically, most online poker sites accept players from South Africa. Still, we must remind you that online gambling in the country is illegal and as new legislations are expected to be implemented soon, we would not advise you to engage in any online poker games.
Another type of gambling that South Africans are really into is lottery. It’s a legal ‘entertainment’ for native and foreign gamblers, and it’s quite a fun activity. The National Lottery was firstly introduced to South Africa in 2000. It was suspended in 2007, while the Gidani consortium was awarded with a license. In 2015, the National Lottery was officially licensed and functioning again, and is now operated by ITHUBA. The Lottery offers tickets and scratch cards, and you could also have fun online – you have the Lottery on the go. If you’re 18 and over, of course!
Online Gambling Guide for South African Players
If you’re a native but you’re relatively new to the gambling community, there are a few things you’d need to know before you venture into the fun. When it comes to online casinos, you should be careful which one you choose, as online gambling is usually considered illegal and a lot of the operators do not allow South African players to gamble. Look for licenses, security and game selection – they should all be legit and worth your time and money. Once you’ve figured out where to play, make sure you choose a payment method that would be the most suitable for you.
Gambling Licence & Safety in South Africa
We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again – safety is a priority! Especially when it comes to online gambling. When choosing the casino you’d like to play at, make sure to do your research and check the licenses and regulatory operators. Most online casinos are offshore and regulated by the respected gambling commission. If you’re not sure which ones are trustworthy, we’ve made a list of the main gambling safety symbols you should seek at the bottom of an offshore casino’s home page:
|eCOGRA||eCogra is a British internationally approved testing agency, specialised in the certification of online gaming software. The presence of its logo in a gambling site guarantees that you will receive fair gaming, protection and responsible operator conduct.|
|The National Gambling Board||The National Gambling Board is responsible for the oversight of the regulation in the gambling industry throughout the country and to preserve the integrity of South Africa as a responsible global citizen.|
|MGA||The Malta Gaming Authority is the gaming control department of Malta. It licenses and regulates all gambling sites registered on the territory of the country.|
|UKGC||The United Kingdom Gambling Commission is responsible for regulating and supervising the gambling law in the United Kingdom. It also licenses and regulates all gambling sites, registered on British territory.|
|IBAS||IBAS or The Independent Betting Adjudication Service is a third-party agency specialized in settling disputes between online gambling ventures and their customers.|
How to Spot a Great Product: Games and Bets
It’s all about the product itself – the games, the bets, the raffles, the rooms, and the experience they bring you. There are many online gambling sites in South Africa, so you should learn how to spot the best ones. Always look for an online casino that offers games that you would like to play. Even if you have the best bonus offer, it’s worth nothing if you don’t want to play. There are some general criteria you should have in mind when you’re checking out the game selection of a specific online operator. We’ve prepared a list of each gambling type of entertainment you would like to try – we’ve included product requirements and a few reasons why you should give each type a go.
|Gambling Type||Min Product Requirements||Best Gambling Operator||Why It’s the Best?|
|Sports Betting||Competitive Odds Software and Mobile Platform Fast Payouts||Betway||Generous Bonus Excellent Software Lots Payment Methods|
|Online Casino||Rich Game Selection Available on Mobile Superb Software Developers||Casino.com||Lucrative Bonus Impeccable Platform Different Payment Methods|
|Daily Fantasy||Variety Tournaments Different Game Formats Customer-Friendly Interface||DraftKings||Mobile-Friendly Various Leagues Easy Navigation|
|Online Poker||Wide Variety of Games Exclusive Poker Rooms Available Tournaments||Intertops||Excellent Tournaments Rich Game Selection Fantastic Promotions|
|Online Lotto||Many Games Available Affordable Prices Easy to Use||The Lotter||International Lotteries Multiple Entries|
Best Gambling Bonuses in South Africa
We’ve mentioned that it’s important to search for online operators with cool game selection, but let’s get back to the bonus part. South African online gambling has many hidden nook and alleys that need to be explored. Of course, having fun is great, however, it’ even better if you get some extra money in your pocket. The South African currency is South African Rand (ZAR), but most of the online casinos offer their welcome bonuses and other promotions either in Euro or USD. Keep in mind that not all operators have welcome bonuses and that not all promotions are worth it. Be very careful and read the Terms and Conditions properly when claiming your bonus!
Gambling Sites with the Best Payouts
A payout is the amount of money the online casino pays back to its’ players, and you could usually find such information either in the T&C section of the online operator or at the bottom of the home page. In most cases, you should be able to lower the house edge strategically. To so, you must think logically and calculate your chance at being successful at a certain game. Thus, to begin with, apart from considering your skills, you must check your chosen game’s RTP. It might occasionally vary according to the site you are playing at.
Thus, for your own beneift, we recommend you to check each operator’s payout record. Certain gambling sites would such information listed under terms and condtions. Others, would have their RTP listed under the About us section. Alternatively, you may contact Support Cener and request the latest payout record. Hopefully, most gambling sites, will be helpful and transparent regarding such details.
Accepted Payment Methods
Gambling online in South Africa isn’t hard in terms of payment options. But don’t forget that you should also think about your money! A big part of the online casinos аvailable to you offer some of the best payment methods that are secure and a trustworthy ‘assistant’ for when you’re playing. As we’ve said earlier, the official currency of the country is South African Rand; however, you could deposit and withdrawal in pounds, euros or dollars, depending on the operator. Before we move on, however, we must remind you that onlne gambling n the country is currently illegal and we would not advise you to join any gambling sites. Yet, which is the payment method that suits you the best? Here are the ones that are available for South African gamblers to use:
- Instant Banking
Mobile Gambling Apps
There’s not always time for you to sit on your couch or desk and head to your favorite casino site. But modern technology does it’s best to ease our lives and provides us with entertainment on the go. That’s right! There are some fantastic mobile gambling apps that you could try! South African players can enjoy a game or two and claim exclusive bonuses via their mobile phones or tablets. Yet, their legality is rather questionable, which is why we would advise you to restrain from any online gambling activities at least for now.
Safe & Fair Gambling Software
You should never underestimate the saying ‘quality over quantity’. Even when you find an online casino with a lot of games and superb bonuses, if the games are weird or not functioning well, it’s a waste of your time. We highly recommend you go through the website of choice and see which is (or are, some operate with more) the gambling software/s the operator is run by. Since a big part of the online casinos are not native, however, they have a spot for South African players, we’ve made a list of some of the best software providers worldwide, that power online casinos, available in South Africa:
|Gambling Type||Best Gambling Software||Other Popular Software|
|Online Poker||Playtech||PYR Software|
|Online Lotto||The Lotter Limited||Smart Luck|
South Africa Gambling Laws & Regulations
There have been a lot of changes in the gambling law of South Africa. Lots of new regulations have been added and applied for the past few years. This includes the National Gambling Amendment Bill, which has been active since 2016, and which also applies a big part of the gambling law alterations. We’ve already talked how this affects the different types of online gambling in South Africa, so we will focus on the general framework here and share all that you need to know about gambling laws and regulations in South Africa, according to the categories.
Is Online Gambling Legal in South Africa?
We’ve run a thorough check of online gambling in South Africa for legal purposes. The results have not been encouraging for the fans out there. South Africa and online gambling have always had controversial “relations”, but now they are getting more and more strained. We’ve been tracking the status of online gambling in the South Africa Law Journal, and it seems that official changes are not too far. Online gambling has been restricted, even banned by the government. Like in other countries, at the moment, online gambling is sort of in the ‘grey area’ in South Africa and it is strictly regulated. However, it’s not entirely illegal since there are a lot of offshore gambling operators that are open to South African gamblers and they are able to play from the territory of the country.. Moreover, we must warn you that according to our information, all types of gambling will be banned completely in the near future.
Land-Based Gambling in South Africa
As we all learned, land-based gambling is quite popular in South Africa. There are more than 20 casinos, most of which are in Cape Town – it’s considered the capital of gambling in the country! You could also take part in horse races and place bets in some of the more popular sports betting parlours. From what we’ve read, there has also been dog racing at the time, however, it has been banned since there were changes in the gambling law applied by the Amendment Bill. We’ve listed some of the best South African gambling brands below for your convenience:
- Africasino Casino
- Sun Casino Resort
- GrandWest Casino and Entertainment World
Regional Gambling Laws & Differences Between Regions
South Africa is not specifically split into regions and there are no major differences in how the gambling law is applied in different parts of the country. In Africa, South Africa is the country with the maximum number of casinos and, as mentioned earlier, this helps the country economy a lot.
Official Regulatory Bodies
There are a bunch of regulatory bodies that keep track of and control online gambling and gambling in general in South Africa. As most of the online operators are not native, in the Home page of any of them you’ll probably see the UKGC, MGA, eCogra and other regulatory bodies that are accepted worldwide. The National Gambling Board (NGB) of South Africa is the native regulatory body that takes care of what’s going on in the country gambling-wise. There is also the Gauteng Gambling Board, which is regulating online and land-based gambling in Gauteng. We’ve added the most important information about the NGB in the table below for your convenience:
|Address||Private Bag x27 Hatfield 0028|
|Key Persons||Mr Bryan Arumugam (Senior Manager: Corporate Governance)|
Gambling Taxation: Do I Have to Declare My Winnings & Pay Taxes?
We will try to explain gambling taxation with a simple example. If you are a player who visits the casino or plays at the lottery just for fun, you don’t have to pay taxes. The South African Revenue Service (SARS) won’t come to get your money because, similarly to the taxation in Canada, your winnings are not accepted as ‘profit making’ and you don’t ow anything. However, if you’re a gambler and this is your full-time job – prepare for a visit from SARS. You should declare that you’re making a profit from gambling and you will be taxed based on your ‘job’. The more you profit from gambling, the more you have to pay. You can find more information on the official SARS website.
Legal Gambling Age
|Gambling Type||Legal Gambling Age|
Not everyone can just enter an online casino just like that. As we’ve said earlier, safety is a number one priority for South African players, especially when it comes to protecting the youngsters. To legally gamble in South Africa, whether live or online, you must be at least 18 years of age! If you’re younger and try to fool everyone, you might get in trouble. A big part of the online casinos available in the country have an age verification and other strict procedures to ensure the security of both players and the online operator itself. Yet, we must point out that online gambling remains an unregulated activity in South Africa. Furthermore, most offshore online casinos would also ask you your ID card and proof of addressm which would make joining them even more difficult.
According to our information, online gambling in South Africa will most likely be officially illegalised, so we strongly advise you to steer clear from any offshore gambling and casino sites. Usually when players from certain countries are restricted from accessing a casino site, there are procedures to ensure that they get their deposits back – however, this isn’t always the case, so you should still be careful.
Let’s share a few words about gambling advertisement in South Africa. Those who are gambling licenses holders can advertise their gambling-related promotions, however, they must comply with the requirements, regulated by the 2004Act. The advertisement must not contain false information and directed at audience under the age of 18. Advertisements must contain a responsible gambling slogan (National Responsible Gambling Programme) and the 18+ symbol. Before the operators can put their advertisement live, they must comply with the provincial legislation and must wait for approval. The National Lottery has an advantage with regards to advertising – it doesn’t have any restraint as to form and content that it could advertise and there are no specific regulations in the separate provinces of South Africa.
Penalties for Illegal Gambling
First, you need to be 18 and over to enter any kind of a casino. Don’t try to fool the system! Second, if you do something wrong, you’ll have to pay for it. According to the Practical Law of South Africa, if you are convicted of a breach, you are liable to a fine of ZAR10 million, 10 years in prison or both. You could get in trouble for either illegal gambling experience or for advertising such.
- Fine of ZAR10 million
- 10 years in prison
- Both fine and prison
Upcoming Regulation Changes
There are constantly new changes added to the gambling law in South Africa. We’ve mentioned which procedures are active when it comes to responsible gambling and other regulations. The South African Government wants to focus mainly on the safety of the native gamblers as there are a lot of online operators that are not trustworthy nor regulated by the respected authorities. The NGB is responsible for the safety and regulation of offshore and land-based casinos, and it’s going to be re-named National Gambling Regulator (NGR). We must also note that according to our information, South African online gambling will most likely be banned completely in the near future. This means that the best online gambling sites in South Africa will soon stop accepting new customers, and close the existing account of local players.
Responsible Gambling & Addiction Prevention
It’s very important to be responsible, especially while playing at the casino. There are a lot of South African citizens that struggle with gambling addiction or are just starting to play and have early symptoms. On a positive note, the National Gambling Board in South Africa takes good measures for fighting with gambling abuse and addiction. The Government is also very active and has spearheaded a few gambling organizations, the biggest of which is the South African Responsible Gambling Foundation (SARGF). There are also very helpful self-exclusion programs that are open to South African gamblers. The self-exclusion period is usually 6 months, but it can be longer or shorter, depending on what suits you better.
Online Gambling in South Africa Trivia – Curious Facts
We’ve covered all the basics but let’s make it a little bit more fun. What do you know about South Africa and gambling and how these two combines? We’ve made a list of curious facts that you’d definitely want to share with your friends.
- There are more than 20 land-based casinos in South Africa you could enter.
- With gambling becoming so popular in the country, there is also a rise in problem gambling, however, South Africa does a lot better in this aspect than other countries.
- The largest casino in South Africa is GrandWest Casino & Entertainment World in Cape Town.
- Cape Town is the biggest gambling city in South Africa.
- The Gambling industry in South Africa is playing a huge role in the country’s economic future – 2.7 billion rand in taxes have been contributed in 2017, that gave a big boost to the economy.
History of Gambling in South Africa
Let’s get back to the basics! Heading back to 1673, when gambling faced some restrictions from the law. A little bit later, in 1965, gambling of all kinds was banned under the Gambling Act with the exception of horseracing. In 1994, everything changed because of the democratic government election and in 1996 the National Gambling Act licensed casinos and the national lottery in South Africa. In 2004, however, gambling online in South Africa was banned, and despite da amendment to the Act, it is still not entirely legal in the country. For more interesting facts, check out the table below:
|1673||First gambling restrictions in the law, gambling in South Africa was banned by the Dutch settlers. The return of gambling did not occur until 1866-1867.|
|1965||Gambling act – gambling is banned. All forms of gamblnig are banned in South Africa, except for horse racing.|
|1994-96||With the advent of the new government in 1994, a new National Gambling Act was implemented. All casinos and the Lotteries were officially legalised.|
|2004||The 1996 act is repealed, and a new gambling act makes the operation of online casino gaming within the country illegal.|
|Present||South African players can enter some online casinos and are restricted from others. Yet, potential changes in the gambling law suggest that offshore online casinos might become fully unaccessible to South African players.|
Famous Land-Based Casino and Gambling Resorts
A few paragraphs ago, we mentioned that there are a lot of amazing land-based casinos in South Africa. There are also some fantastic casino resorts that are worth the visit! We’ve prepared two lists below, where you could read a little bit more about the biggest casinos and the famous resorts that the country has to offer to you. They’re situated across a big part of the country and offer endless entertainment for native and foreign gamblers. Without further ado, here are our lists:
- Flamingo Casino – The casino is located near the Kimberley city center, and it’s a fantastic vision in pink! Flamingo Casino offers a safe and fun place for you to relax and play some of your favorite games like slots and table games. You will be welcomed by a friendly staff, luxurious guestrooms and, for those of you who are not into gambling, the Kimberley Golf Club.
- Frontier Inn & Casino – The resort offers casino gambling in all kinds of forms, mainly slots and table games, superb meals at the family steak ranch and modern accommodation in the best rooms!
- Hemingways Casino Hotel – This has to be your top destination on your list when you’re in East London! There are over 500 gaming machines and lots of table games, including Roulette and Blackjack. The hotel offers accommodation that is suitable for all your needs, a shopping mall and other entertainment. You wouldn’t want to leave!
- GrandWest Casino & Entertainment World – As we mentioned, this is the biggest casino resort in South Africa and probably the most expensive. You can explore a fine selection of table and slot games, as well as other entertainment including 13 restaurants and bars, and an ice-skating rink. Talk about luxury! The main casino is open for gamblers 24 hours a day. Make sure you have some rest as well – we don’t want you to pull an all-nighter at the casino!
- Sun City Casino Resort – Located in Sun City, this casino resort is definitely worth the visit! There are 33 tables where you could play Blackjack and Baccarat, 52 slot machines and a Slots Prive for the high-rollers amongst you. There are over 1500 luxury suites, spread over 4 hotels and an amazing vacation club. For those of you who just want to have fun and relax outside the casino, there is no lack of entertainment – from golf courses to waterpark adventures, you’ll never get bored!
- Rio Casino Resort – Located in Klerksdorp, the casino resort will give you the feeling that you’re in Rio de Janeiro. The casino is big, right and open 24/7 for gamblers. There are special hours for table games and a vast variety of slot machines. There is also a luxurious hotel with great accommodation, hotel amenities with the newest video arcade games and a play zone for the youngsters. There’s a little something for everyone!
Famous Gamblers and Poker Players from South Africa
There’s not much to mention here – it looks like most of the famous players are hiding somewhere. However, we’d like to talk about one very interesting man, who is one of the best poker players in the country. Even in the world! Introducing Mark Vos – a 35-year-old South African from Cape Town, who quickly earned his reputation as a superb ‘pokerbok’ (poker player). He has had a lot of victories during his experience, one of which is his big win of the 2006 World Series of Poker, Event 6. Nowadays, he spends time between South Africa and Australia and is not playing regularly.
South African Gambling Books and Movies
South Africans may be good gamblers and may love to have fun at the casino, but there are not a lot of movies or books, related to gambling. There are a lot of actors from the country, and even some movies were made in South Africa, however, as we said – no gambling related content. Or at least not as much. The ones we’ve marked below are by Rayda Jacobs – a woman from Cape Town that has been writing since the age of 12. Her biggest achievement is her novel, Confessions of a Gambler, which was published in 2003 and has received two prestigious awards. In 2007, Confessions of a Gambler the movie was created with Rayda Jacobs as a scriptwriter, co-director and lead role.
- Confessions of a Gambler (2007) by Rayda Jacobs
- Confessions of a Gambler by Rayda Jacobs (2003)
Land-Based vs Online Gambling in South Africa
Both online and land-based casinos are unique for themselves and each has its pros and cons. It’s just a matter of taste – some players prefer to go to the casino, all dressed up, meet up with people and feel like James Bond. Others just want to stay at home, lay on the couch and play without any other people running around them. The range of games is quite different – nowadays, for instance, it is much easier to find a game of video poker online rather than in a land-based venue. Whichever you prefer, it’s important that you like it and that you will play responsibly!
More Useful Guides and Interesting Articles
We hope you found our article useful! South Africa is definitely a cool destination to visit if you want to gamble. Just remember – play responsibly and do your research or use our guide! We have also prepared a lot of other guides, latest news and more articles that you could check out below: