Approximately 80 percent of the adult population in South Africa enjoys gambling, probably because gambling has been denied to South Africans for a long time. The only form of betting that has ever been legal in the country is betting on horses. Although South Africa was not devoid of casinos, citizens were not permitted to freely visit these casinos. The government of South Africa legalized gambling only in the year 1994, after which land casinos were licensed in many places.
The National Gambling Amendment Act 2008, which provides for online casino licenses, has not yet been enforced. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in South Africa states that any form of interactive or online gambling is illegal in the country until this law is enforced.
Explaining the National Gambling Amendment Act 2008 better, gaming advocate Lance Michalson says that this law does not criminalize online gambling; it only makes it difficult for online casino operators to get a gambling license.
The lawyer also said that this act has already become law, but hasn’t been enforced yet, maybe because the South African government is waiting for a high court ruling on an interactive gambling case. The official website of Piggs Peak, one of the parties in this case, states that they have been allowed to appeal to the High Court to definitely state if online gambling is legal or illegal in South Africa.
Meanwhile, the National Gambling Board (NGB) of South Africa states that it is illegal for South African citizens to participate in games of chance, including lotteries, operated from outside South Africa. The NGB has not only warned online casinos unlicensed in South Africa against providing gambling services to the people of South Africa, but has also warned South Africans caught gambling that their winnings will be seized and that they will fined R10 million and/or sentenced to 10 years in prison. However, the NGB’s intention is good—the regulatory body just wants to protect its citizens from unscrupulous unlicensed online gaming operators.
The vagueness of the online gambling laws in South Africa hasn’t stopped its citizens from having all the fun. It has not stopped offshore online casino services from inviting South Africans from joining in the fun.
When South Africa introduced a bill to regulate its online gambling industry in 1998, a number of online casinos began accepting South African players and allowed them to play for real money. Now that the NGB has declared online gambling illegal, South African players still continue to play for real money at offshore online casinos.
There are a number of safe and reputed online casinos that accept South African players, give them access to a wide range of online casino games, offer large bonuses, and run lucrative promotions.
Owing to the current unfriendly online gambling laws in South Africa, affiliates that promote online casinos are required by law to place a disclaimer on their sites to stay on the right side of the law.