All You Need to Know about Gambling in South Africa

Gambling has always stirred up a lot of controversy within South Africa with the subject being debated time and time again. Consequently, the country has banned the activity in almost all its forms, except for a select few. So here’s the real lowdown about what kind of gambling is allowed within South Africa and where to find it.

Is it Gambling Legal in South Africa?

Following the National Gambling Act implemented in 1996, the government effectively repealed the blanket ban on all forms of gambling activity, allowing the National Gambling Board to take over regulation of the industry. It also gave the green light for all 9 provinces of the country to begin licensing both land-based and online casinos and sportsbooks. This move was further enhanced with the next National Gambling Act of 2004.

The new laws allowed sports betting and other types of gambling for land-based operators but this was not the case for their online counterparts. In fact, the only form of online betting that is legal in South Africa is sports betting, whereby online sportsbooks must be in possession of licensing from one of the provinces. In 2008, however, another amendment was passed intended to legalise online gambling but it was never passed, making the situation even more ambiguous.

In 2010, the courts made it illegal for South African citizens to use the services of online casinos based outside the country’s borders, with the exception of regulated operators which are controlled by the NGB.  Additionally, there are hefty fines in store for operators, payment providers and individuals who ignore these laws.

The Most Popular Forms of Gambling in South Africa

While casino gambling makes up a large proportion of the the industry according to casino guides for South Africa at Playcasino, other activities are quickly catching up. The national lottery, for example, is one of the most popular forms of legal gambling with the locals, with over 80% of the population purchasing tickets on a weekly basis.

Sports betting also follows closely, with major sports like horse racing, football and rugby bringing in thousands of punters every year. The African sport of Jukskei along with golf are also gaining popularity in local markets.

Limited payout machines (LPM) and bingo also contribute to a smaller segment of the market.

The Future of Gambling in South Africa

The latest Gambling Amendment Bill proposed just earlier this year sought to further crack down on the industry, however it has come under fire from several experts who are in the process of analysing it.


However, the regulations haven’t stopped several popular international online casinos from making their services available to South African citizens, and the number of online gamblers in the country has been steadily increasing.

As it stands, South Africa’s gambling industry is already worth some R26 billion and shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. Hence, the anti-gambling laws are likely to change very soon as the government has realised that it can further increase the country’s revenue  by regulating online gambling in the same way it raised taxes on land-based operators.

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