South Africa is one of the leading gambling countries in Africa, alongside Nigeria and Kenya. Some of the most popular forms of gambling in this country include casino betting, sports betting, racinos, and bingo.
The country has imposed heavy restrictions on gambling since 1673. In 1965, the Gambling Act banned various types of sports betting except horse racing. Horse racing was viewed more like a sporting activity than a betting activity. The country has undergone several steps in regulating gambling in the country.
The Gambling Industry in South Africa: Where It Is and How Far It Has Come
The democratic government came to power in 1994 and legalized multiple forms of gambling. The National Gambling Act introduced standard procedures for regulating betting activities in 1996. It also gave guidelines on disseminating 40 licenses in various provinces. In addition, the Act introduced the National Gambling Board to regulate and supervise gambling in the country.
The National Gambling Act of 2004 replaced the 1996 Act and restricted interactive gambling activities relating to poker, casino, and bingo. However, online horse racing and sports betting are legal in South Africa on condition the website or bookmaker holds a license to run such activities.
In July 2008, an amendment Act was introduced to legalize interactive betting. The Act is yet to take effect because it received strong resistance from anti-money laundering authorities and land-based casinos.
In August 2010, the North Gauteng High Court issued a ruling that banned online gambling activities in the country. The ruling pardoned only horse racing entities licensed by their respective provinces. The penalty for individuals, casino sites, and internet service providers that support online gambling is ten years imprisonment or R10 million. Mass media entities that advertise these services are also subject to this penalty. South Africa has over 30 online sports betting sites that have been licensed and cleared by their respective provinces.
Gambling Revenue in South Africa
Currently, one in ten South Africans engages in gambling activities. Recent studies reveal that sports bettors spend about $9.5 (R150) every month on betting. The industry is growing steadily, with South Africa’s gross gambling revenue clocking at $2.5 billion in 2021. Analysts estimate that the growth will rise by 6% every year.
The popularity of horse racing has been declining in recent years in favor of sports betting. Out of all gambling revenue in 2020, sports betting was at 51.4%, while bingo was at 36.6%. Certain bookmakers allow visitors to place bets on their websites, while the number of online casinos is steadily rising. However, all of these entities still need to have a license to operate in South Africa and stick to rigid regulations.
Casinos in South Africa
There are multiple land-based casinos in Durban, Johannesburg, and Cape Town, offering a wide variety of games for players to enjoy. These casinos include Grand West Casino, Gold Reef City, Sun City Casino, Montecasino, Emperor’s Palace, Times Square Casino, Silverstar Casino, Greyville Racecourse, and the Emerald Resort and Casino.
The licensed online casinos in South Africa include Yebo Casino, Punt Casino, Springbok Casino, Zar Casino, Europa Casino, Thunderbolt Casino, and Silver Sands Casino. Players can deposit and withdraw funds in South African rands using Skrill, bank transfers, Ecopayz, Neteller, and EasyEFT. Each site has its unique payment terms. For example, Europa pays players within four days, while Springbok processes payments in two days.
It is essential for players to go for safe and licensed sites for secure online transactions. Certified online casinos in South Africa use SSL encryption to safeguard their customers’ data.
The gambling industry is constantly evolving. Fortunately for players, the government has enacted laws and regulations to ensure only compliant casinos and betting sites can offer their services in South Africa. More gambling establishments are continuing to come up, meaning the industry will keep expanding.