How South Africa Implements Gambling Regulations

In South Africa, gambling has long been a heated subject, with society swinging from one extreme to the other on whether sports betting and casino games should be allowed or the nation should tighten its hold on them. While many individuals feel that the current limits should be maintained, others argue that legal reforms should be implemented because of the industry’s enormous potential.

Right now, there are more and more betting apps in South Africa that are serving gamers one way or another. Though this is legal, it is always better to understand how gambling regulation works in SA. Here are the things you should know.

Gambling Laws in South Africa: How It is Now

Since 1673, gambling operations have been strictly regulated, and before 1996, all types of gambling were banned, except horse race betting. It’s worth noting that horse racing betting was omitted from the definition of gambling since it was deemed a sports activity.

When a new democratic administration won power in 1994, the country’s gambling sector took a dramatic turn when the blanket prohibition on gambling operations was abolished. Two years later, the National Gambling Act was approved, establishing the country’s full licensing structure.

The provinces were given authority under the Act to begin awarding licenses to brick-and-mortar and interactive casinos. Furthermore, the National Gambling Board has been given the authority to oversee the conduct of gambling operations. The gaming business continued to grow once these legal reforms were approved, and land-based casinos began to emerge. Other types of gambling, such as the national lottery, began to gain popularity.

When the National Gambling Act of 1996 was abolished and a new one was enacted in 2004, the industry was further liberalized. However, there was little change in the internet gambling business, since interactive casinos remained prohibited. Residents of the nation were needed to bet on sports utilizing the services of operators with a seal of approval in at least one of the nine provinces to place bets over the Internet.

Leading to The Rise of SA Online Gambling

The internet gambling sector in South Africa has been at a halt for more than a decade since the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) has failed to create the industry’s regulatory and policy framework. Needless to say, the DTIC’s failure to act results in significant income and tax losses, which is precisely why experts recommend that action be done as soon as possible.

Experts believe that such legal changes are long overdue and that the online gaming business will grow by roughly 12% in the next few years. It’s worth noting that the South African online gambling business, which includes interactive casinos and sports betting platforms, produced around R8 billion in 2020. The sector is predicted to prosper in the future, and, as in other regions of the world, growth will be fueled mostly by the extensive use of mobile devices.

Many experts have previously expressed their concerns about the negative economic impact of South Africa’s anti-online gambling regulations. Even though players are not permitted to utilize offshore casinos, the number of such platforms catering to the South African market without the necessary permission is rapidly increasing.

Apart from the lost jobs and economic prospects, it is worth noting that the establishment of market regulation in South Africa, particularly the regulation of the online gambling business, would eliminate many of the hazards that players suffer when utilizing unlicensed operators.

Even though the Gambling Review Commission, which was created to study the gambling business, recommended that online casinos be made available in South Africa, no such measures have been taken to date, leaving players with little choice except to utilize illicit betting sites.


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