What are the Gambling Rules in South Africa?

Gambling

In South Africa, gambling in any form (except betting on horse racing) was officially banned back in 1965 under the South Africa Gambling Act. In the 1970s, casinos began appearing in certain parts of the country to which only native South Africans had access, but by the mid 90s there were around 2,000 illegal casinos in the country.

Recognising that gambling was here to stay, the government in power at the time decided to legalise all forms of gambling in a complete U-turn. What resulted was a licensing system under the 1996 National Gambling Act, which was designed to regulate and control such activities via the National Gambling Board as casino gaming, sports betting and playing the lottery. Since then, the National Gambling Act has been amended and updated to become the 2008 National Gambling Amendment Act.

National Lottery

The South African National Lottery was established in 2000 and is the single most popular form of gambling in the country with a massive 96.9% of respondents in a 2006 study saying they played regularly. Averaging around five million transactions a week and bringing in over R2 billion per year, the country’s National Lottery is a major source of revenue for the South African economy and is controlled by the National Gambling Board.

Casinos

Another major source of income for South Africa is the regulated land-based casino industry, which is also overseen by the National Gambling Board. All of the large cities in South Africa feature a casino, with prime examples being the Rio Casino Resort in Klerksdorp, which is the largest casino in Africa and one of the largest in the southern hemisphere, and the Southern Sun Montecasino in Johannesburg. Different story for the famous online casinos, like Casino Midas South Africa, operating with a foreign license in the country, but with a very good reputation among Australian players.

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Horse Racing

Betting on horse racing track-side was the only form of gambling allowed in South African for a very long time. When other forms of gambling were legalised in the mid 90s, betting on the horses became less popular as it struggled to appeal to people the way the National Lottery and casinos did. As a result, only about 11% of the population take part in this type of sports betting in South Africa.

Online Sports Betting

When it comes to betting on sports online, the National Gambling Board’s regulatory control is effected via a gambling and racing board in each of South Africa’s nine provinces, with prospective bookmakers required to obtain a licence before operation is permitted. It is legal for South Africa residents to use these licensed bookmakers, and although horse racing bets incur a 6% charge, winnings are not classed as income for tax purposes.

Online Casinos

It may be a surprise to learn that other forms of online gambling are prohibited in South Africa. Any kind of online casino, poker and bingo gaming is not permitted, whether that’s offering the games as a business or participating in them as a player. The 2008 National Gambling Amendment Act was designed to regulate such online gambling, but faced resistance from land-based casinos and anti-money laundering authorities and so hasn’t yet been effected, though it may still yet be passed.

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