South Africa is indisputably a country with a long and inconsistent past. This can also be said for the history of gambling in South Africa too. It should be noted that South Africa is not the type of country that carefully reconsiders its rules and regulations after implementing them. Whenever South Africa makes laws rules and regulations, it expects its citizens and dwellers to stick with it. Gambling was faced with restriction in South Africa as far back as 1673, and in 1965 all forms of gambling were officially declared illegal and banned under the South African Gambling Act, but with the exception of betting on horse racing. However, this did not wholly eradicate gambling but only drove it underground and led to the creation of thousands of illegal casinos.
Towards 1995 it was thought that about 2000 casinos were operating within SA, some of which were no more than a room with some slot machines. A few casinos were permitted in the Bantustans of Bophuthatswana, Ciskei, Transkei and Venda. However, these were mainly used by native South Africans and were not generally accessible to others, which doesn't make any sense.
In 1994, everything changed with the election of a democratic government and the dismantling of discrimination. One of the many changes introduced was the passing of the National Gambling Act of 1996, which made provision for licensed casinos and a national lottery. This meant that new casinos could open while existing casinos were able to operate above board. More so, the Act caused the establishment of the National Gaming Board, a body that oversees all aspects of gambling to this day.
However, after the passing of the Act which caused changes to gambling in SA, the number of casinos has dropped. This is because of the high cost associated with obtaining a license and observing regulations. With more than 50 registered casinos, casinos have varied widely in size and quality. No matter what your preferences are, it is great to finally have options to participate in legal gambling in South Africa.
- The Legal Status of Gambling in South Africa
- Current Gambling Laws in Force
- What is the Tax Situation on Winnings from Gambling?
- Attitudes to Gambling in South Africa
- Is gambling a popular activity in South Africa?
- How Safe is Gambling in South Africa
- Options and Venues Worth Exploring
- Overall Rating for South Africa as a Gambling County
- Where to Gamble Legally in South Africa?
Presently, there are no less than 57 licensed casinos in South Africa, located principally within major cities like Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. This means offline gambling is legally permitted in South Africa. Over 86 percent of the total internal revenue realised by the National Gambling Board annually comes from casinos. However, it should be noted that online gambling is currently not allowed in South Africa. The National Gambling Act 2004 and the National Gambling Amendment Act of 2008 prohibits online gambling of all forms. Exclusions to this rule include sports betting, online horse race betting, and the business of bookmaking, provided that the player holds the necessary provincial bookmaker's license(s) or is using a website with proper license(s).
The National Gambling Act of 1996 made provisions for the regulation of gambling activities and promotion of standards in relation to gambling throughout the country. It gave definitions to different gambling notions, described how the 40 gambling licenses should be distributed among the provinces and provided information on liability. It also established the National Gambling Board, an organisation responsible for the supervision and regulation of the gambling industry. This change in legislation saw the establishment of legal casinos, a national lottery and other forms of gaming.
In 2008 The National Gambling Amendment Act was introduced legalising offline gambling within the country. The situation today surrounding online gambling is not so clear. This is because the previous Act of 2004 banned all forms of interactive gaming online, which include casinos games, poker and even bingo although betting online on sports including horseracing was allowed. In 2008, an amendment to the Act would have overturned the ban. These proposals, however, are still to be turned into law. And in 2010, even online gambling offered through servers located outside the country was banned in South Africa. With the exceptions of province licensed horse racing and online sports betting. Anyone found guilty are liable to a fine of R 10 million or 10 years of imprisonment, or both.
To be able to participate in gambling in SA legally, you have to be at least 18 years of age. Under 18’s are not permitted to gamble either online or in a land-based gaming venue. All online gambling sites will have age verification procedures in place which ensure no one underage can access and play their games.
Who Regulates South Africa’s Gaming Industry? Offline gambling is legal in South Africa under the federal law, and online gaming only allows online sports betting such as horse racing. The National Gambling Board is the organisation established by the National Gambling Act of 1996 to supervise and regulate gambling industry within South Africa.
Unlike in the United States, South Africa does not generally tax winnings from gambling. Though players may be required to report large winnings to the South African Internal Revenue Service, profits are not subjected to capital gains taxes. This is merely a rule of thumb that applies to recreational gambling. Hence, if you are a successful gambler or make your living from gambling, these rules may not apply to you. It is advisable for professional gamblers to consult with their accountant to discuss any additional obligations
How is gambling perceived in South Africa?
- Attitudes of authorities
Gambling (offline) is a fully legalised activity in South Africa, the authorities of South Africa allow it and also created a body – the National Gambling Board – to oversee it. The powers of South Africa are in full support of gambling in the country. The South African gambling industry – including casinos, sports betting, the National Lottery, limited payout machines and bingo – achieved gross gambling revenue of R26.3bn in 2016. Over 86 percent of the total internal income realised by the National Gambling Board annually comes from casinos.
- View of the society in general
Reports showed that majority of South Africans gamble in the form of National Lottery. More so, other types of gambling are prevalent in South Africa too. About 28 percent of South Africans use slot machines, almost 23 percent buy scratch cards and about 11.5 percent bet on horse racing. Less than 10 percent stated that they never gambled.
Yes, gambling is a very popular activity in South Africa. There are currently more than 57 licensed casinos in South Africa. It also acts as a significant source of internal revenue for the government. Less than 10 percent South Africans do not gamble.
Offline gambling is very safe in SA, fully legalised by the authorities of the country. The legal backing that offline gaming got from the governing bodies makes it a very safe activity for interested players.
The South Africa National Gambling Act 2004 banned interactive gambling services and interactive online games. This rule applies to all Internet operators, licensed in any jurisdiction. It is, however, important to note that interactive gambling applies to casino games such as slots, poker, and bingo. Online sports betting, online horse race betting and the business of bookmaking is however legal provided that the person conducting such business holds the necessary provincial bookmaker's license(s) or is using a website with the proper license.
However, the National Gambling Amendment Act of 2008 may come into force in the foreseeable future when an appeal to a high court ruling against "interactive gambling" is heard.
Sun City Resort, North West Province
It offers more than 40 casino table and card games and well over 800 slots situated along 125 thousand square feet; there's a whole lot of casino action that awaits you. Slots are always available 24/7 while other games may be bet starting from 1 p.m. and extending into the morning hours.
Gold Reef City, Johannesburg
The Gold Reef City casino has over 1,700 slots with blackjack, baccarat, craps, roulette available to play at their 50 gaming tables.
Monte Casino, Johannesburg
MonteCasino is big, beautiful, and extremely popular. It has baccarat, blackjack, craps, or roulette tables and also a slot machine for a player alone, over 1800 of them. It is known as "Johannesburg's Favourite Casino.” There are more than 70 gaming tables, a wide range of stakes available, and an exclusive Salon Privé for high stakes players.
GrandWest, Cape Town
The GrandWest in Cape Town is the largest land-based casino in South African. Slot fans will find that the casino's more than 2,500 smart card machines, which don't require you use cash, a very convenient way to play. It includes 80 gaming tables w all the classic table games and many popular card games available. High rollers will love the tables where limits are incredibly elevated. Also, the Salon Privé serves premium members with the very best of everything.
South Africa can be said to be among the top African countries to engage in gambling. South Africa can be rated 2 out of five globally since gaming has been taken as a legal business in South Africa with the full support of the government.
Gambling is legalised in the whole country, as long as it is offline or sports betting. Hence, people can gamble legally in any part of the city. Legal gambling can be carried out on these websites Apollo Slots, White Lotus Casino, Silver Sands Casino, etc. and some land-based Casinos include Emerald Resort & Casino, Rio Casino Resort, Meropa Casino and Entertainment World, Graceland Hotel Casino Country Club, GrandWest Casino & Entertainment World etc.