South Africa, a country of beautiful, diverse nature, lively people, extravagant food, and consistent (land-based) gambling laws! If you have any interests in gambling whatsoever, find out, in the next few lines, everything about laws and gambling regulations in the “Rainbow Nation”.
The History of Gambling in South Africa
Almost all of us are familiar with the dark ages the whole continent of Africa was going through, back in the 1600s. People of this mesmerizing, colorful continent passed through many stages of discrimination and mistreatment. Africans needed to find something to keep them going, and, like many other nations, they found entertainment in gambling. However, in the 1600s, any form of gambling was absolutely restricted. Decades passed, and nothing was changing. The first sight of hope for players sparked in 1965 when gambling on horses was allowed.
Thankfully, new, better ages were coming. In the 1970s, just a couple of years after the first step was made, rights for all African people, including gamblers, started to become visible; apartheid finally brought the breath of freedom, and casinos opened in the Bantustans.
The final breakthrough was happening between the years 1994-1996. The first phase of legalizing gambling was established in 1994 when democracy entered the country; at that point, every form of gambling was allowed. It took two more years for the government to set up a concrete plan; in 1996 The National Gambling Act was launched that legally approved land-based casinos, horse racing, and one national lottery.
Changes in the 2000s
In the following years, after the first National Gambling Act was confirmed, gambling becomes one of the most popular activities in South Africa. People fully enjoyed the rights they they’d been given, while casinos struggled to provide all the necessary licenses for operating. In legal terms in the 2000s, things slightly changed.
• The South African National Lottery was established in 2000.
• Further liberalization was presented in National Gambling Act from 2004, which repealed the Act of 1996.
• In 2008 The National Gambling Amendment was introduced.
• Newly recognized Acts did not bring any important changes for gamblers, in conditions of rules for participating in the land-based game.
Online Gaming Laws and Regulations
Can you gamble online in South Africa? The most convenient answer to this question would be – it’s complicated. Newly established gambling laws in South Africa. Online gambling in South Africa remains unclear to this date; on paper, it’s legal to bet only on sports in online and remote venues, but solely if the online sportsbook is authorized by one of the SA provinces. No casino games such as blackjack, roulette, or slots are permitted.
The opportunity to clear things up in the online sector appeared in 2008 when an amendment was announced. Unfortunately, this idea hasn't come into power, yet, so, at this point, it’s illegal for anyone with a South African IP address to gamble online, with an exception of the certified operators regulated and taxed by the NGB and other local provinces. The number of sports betting websites that fulfill these requirements is around 30.
Since the presentation of the First Gambling Act in 1996, the South African laws and regulations for inland gambling remained more or less consistent. From the moment that significant milestone was reached, gamblers all over the country got the freedom to enjoy land-based casinos, to participate in the massively popular national lottery, to play bingo, and to bet on sports.
However, players interested in online gambling still need to wait, since there are no significant changes regarding legalizing slots, table, and card games.