South African Casinos, Play Real Money Casino Games
Here we look at the best South African Casinos and those who accept players from South Africa. Via the reviews on the list below you can also take advantage of generous sign up bonus, free spins, no deposit bonuses and more.
It’s a fact: the vast majority of South Africans love to gamble. A National Centre for the Study of Gambling survey found that 91.7% of respondents gamble at least occasionally. Can you think of any other hobbies with such a high participation rate? I sure can’t. It’s clear that gambling in South Africa is a big deal among punters.
It’s also a big deal among government officials, who all want a piece of the pie. According to a National Gambling Board report, gambling revenues at land-based casinos were an astronomical 17 billion rand last Year. That’s R17 billion from which the government skims taxes and additional revenues – no small source of income, indeed.
Best South African Online Casinos 2019
South African online casinos aren’t regulated by the state, so they pay no portion of revenues to the SA government. As you can imagine, this makes the government angry. When the government gets angry, it passes laws. Unfortunately, it has passed a few relating to online gambling. The results haven’t been pretty for online casinos operating in South Africa: online gambling is effectively illegal country-wide.
In this article, we’ll examine the legal environment in which South African online casinos operate. Is running an online casino illegal? Is gambling in one’s own home against the law? And what’s in store for the future with respect to online gambling in South Africa? The answer to these questions stems from a key piece of legislation passed almost a decade ago.
South African Gambling and the National Gambling Act
Before South African online casinos became popular, the SA government held a monopoly on gambling operations in the country. Gambling providers were either state-run, like the National Lottery, or licensed by the state in the case of land-based casinos. The government saw no reason to make gambling illegal, because all gambling revenues were directed at least in part to state coffers. Money talks when it comes to the law.
As South Africans took to gambling online, the government took notice. Rands spent at an online casino represented Rands lost for state gambling operators. To remedy this “injustice”, the government decided to make online gambling illegal for both players and operators. It did so by passing the National Gambling Act, 2004.
The NGA expressly outlaws the following:
- Engaging in an “interactive game”, which is any form of gambling except for sports betting.
Engaging in sports betting online except at state-run books.
Offering interactive games to South African punters.
Under the NGA, South African online casinos would face fines of up to R10 million for offering games to SA players. Individual operators would face prison terms of up to 10 years. Individuals gambling in their own homes would also be subject to the same penalties, if caught. Gambling became a serious offence almost overnight, thanks to one piece of hastily-made legislation.
NGA Amendment 2008: Reform… Almost
The NGA 2004 spawned a legislative task force charged with shaping the South African gambling climate: the National Gambling Board. Four years after the NGA’s passing, this board evidently realized that draconian policy was not the way forward. It recommended the passing of the NGA Amendment 2008, which would pave the way for a regulated South African online casino market.
The NGAA laid out provisions to help online casinos obtain state licenses to operate. In exchange for the right to serve South African punters, internet-based casinos would pay fees to the government. In order to protect the children, of course, the act also laid out a plan for ensuring that no operator accepted bets from persons under the age of 18.
As of today, the NGAA remains in limbo. It has not been signed into law, and thus has no bearing on the legality of gambling in South Africa. The reasons for its being delayed are unknown, but many speculate that powerful forces are behind the holdup. Namely, land-based casinos – who stand to lose if punters turn to online providers – do not welcome the thought of a competitive marketplace. It may be some time before South African online casinos receive a fair hearing in the matter.
In Plain Language: The NGB Speaks
In 2010, a North Gauteng High Court judgement strengthened SA’s anti-gambling stance very publicly. A press release issued by the NGB following the ruling states it clearly: “This ruling affirms the South African laws that interactive gambling taking place in South Africa currently remains illegal.”
Illegal, but only for operators on the wrong side of the law. That is, for those not in bed with the government. The same press release adds that the judgment has no impact on “licensed online betting activities regulated in South Africa”. So South Africans can certainly gamble – but only if their money goes straight into government accounts.
Can You Gamble at South African Casinos Online?
We’ve seen that online gambling has been declared, for the most part, illegal in South Africa. But does it matter? Don’t plenty of South Africans gamble online anyway?
The answer is yes, plenty of South Africans gamble online despite the NGA. To date, no private citizen has been charged with a gambling offence.
Simply put, the government doesn’t have the time, resources, or technology to enforce the NGA. If you gamble online, you’re certainly taking your chances with the law. But it might be a good bet, since the government has shown no interest in prosecuting South Africans for gambling online.